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The Strategies and Metrics of Display Advertising in B2B Marketing

November 13, 2015
The Strategies and Metrics of Display Advertising in B2B Marketing

There is no single approach in B2B marketing that can solve all the challenges faced by marketers during any period in time. In a certain market some may want to gain more awareness for their brand while at other times, nurturing and lead generation may be the focus in order to drive sales.

The advantage of display advertising is that it can meet the range of challenges in B2B marketing. Email marketing and search marketing have become staples in B2B marketing, but only a limited number of people are reached by these tactics. Display advertising enables businesses to reach those in their target audiences who may not even have realized that they need your company’s product or service. In addition, a different set of ad creatives can be used to nurture those that are already engaged and in the buying cycle. Finally, display advertising can be used to complete the conversion with a free trial signup, a whitepaper or a demo request, for example.

A B2B prospect goes through various stages in the purchasing process and each stage has its own display advertising tactics and metrics.

The focus of the first stage is to increase awareness of your company’s products and services and to drive targeted traffic to your web site or corporate blog. Advertising campaigns at this stage convey what your company does, what makes your products unique, and why customers should care about your company. The most effective strategies involve targeting at several levels, such as at specific companies or using a broad business demographic. Wider audiences can be reached using video.

Metrics that show the impact of display advertising tactics at this stage typically include an increase in the number of people searching for your products; an increase in the volume of targeted traffic to your web site; and an increase in the number of the right people who are engaging with your web site by means of free trial sign-ups, white paper downloads and the like.

The next stage is about nurturing your prospects to educate and influence them before they are ready to speak with a sales representative and to increase the speed by which they move onto the next phase. At this stage, social advertising can tap the value of your initial branding display campaigns as B2B prospects tend to be active on social networks.

Metrics that can gauge engagement with your content from those exposed to your display advertising would show not only an increase in the traffic to your web site but also an increase in the amount of time they are engaged on your web site. As your target audience gets more involved in the content on your web site, they will now be more willing to fill out forms and share their personal information.

Having built awareness and nurtured your target audience, you should now have a pool of prospects that will want to check out a free trial, share information and even speak with your sales team. Display advertising strategies at this point involve retargeting and keyword targeting, which can turn prospects from consideration to conversion.

Metrics for this last phase would show an increase in sharing their personal information by filling out web forms, the ability to tie these forms into sales that make it into your pipeline and having the ability to track these sales to closed business.

The primary feature of display advertising is in its ability to impact all stages of the purchasing process and help marketers and advertisers to understand the key objectives of each stage, pinning down the right metrics to measure progress against those objectives, and then deploying the right programs to achieve them.