Today’s B2B buyers are mapping out their own journeys and choosing to educate themselves on enterprise solutions. Decision makers must move fast, and as a result, sales consultations are being left out of early research. More than half of the B2B buyer’s research and evaluation happens exclusively on the Web. In this world, if neither buyers nor their information-gathering interns touch your content while they are researching, chances are your brand won’t make the first cut.
Put simply, programmatic ad buying is the practice of buying display ads that appear in front of an Internet user that we know something about. They may have searched for a specific product or visited a page on your site (Google Remarketing can help you reach theses audiences), or they may have been downloading relevant studies published by a popular trade journal (Madison Logic helps here). All these behaviors reveal user intent to purchase, and for the right bid, ad-tech companies will help you get your ads in front of leads anywhere on the Web.
You know who makes up your audience and what they’re interested in, so you’ve decided to track them down with ads. But once you’ve found these wayward buyers alone on the road, what should you say to them? Whatever you say to display audiences should be relevant and help them along their journey. And similar to email nurture campaigns, your first offer in display advertising should not be your last.
Personally, this is where I have pulled in marketing automation experts. Their focus on email nurture campaigns translates well to helping a display strategy succeed. Their ability to score leads helps to create targeting rules for display campaigns. Their experience with writing emails for leads at different stages in the “funnel” helps to focus and sharpen display creative and offers. They know how to slice marketing assets into multiple offers. Lastly, they understand the importance of testing everything in the interest of creating a better experience for the readers of ads and marketing content.
The need for more engaging content that also nurtures relationships is an inconvenient truth for most organizations. Rather than embrace the change and prepare for a marketing first world, the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks show that 65 percent of B2B marketers still lack a documented content strategy.
But after noting the collision between programmatic and engaging content, and their combined ability to speed up the buyer’s journey, a smart ad-tech CEO posited that marketers should take a look at display advertising metrics and try to uncover exactly what those metrics said about engagement. Only then can we judge the success of these campaigns and just how relevant they were to the people seeing the ads.
Unfortunately, the metrics mentioned in his writing, such as “in-view impressions,” “hover rate,” and “amplification,” are still aimed at telling us how the media performed by itself—there is no context. And until ad-tech is willing to report back on which publisher sites and which specific articles boost our ad performance, then we cannot honestly build more relevant creative for our campaigns.