B2B Marketers Still Aren’t Sold on Programmatic
A wide range of uncertainties prevents B2B marketers from adopting the format at the rate of their B2C counterparts.
Despite the nearly four-in-five B2B marketers who report allocating at least some portion of their ad spending programatically this year, widespread uncertainty about the effectiveness of the format remains an obstacle, according to a new survey.
On behalf of Dun & Bradstreet, Adweek Brandshare surveyed 221 B2B marketers in the U.S., finding that 48 percent of respondents plan to allocate one-quarter or less of their media budgets to programmatic advertising in 2017, and 81 percent plan to allocate less than half. For a true tale of two industries, consider that once you factor in the B2C side, two-thirds of all digital display spending in 2016 has been earmarked for programmatic channels.
While 69 percent of B2B marketers report that they will indeed increase their programmatic budget next year — and just 3 percent say they'll decrease it — the survey's findings suggest that doubts remain.
For starters, 59 percent of respondents admit that they do not have a clear understanding of what programmatic ad buying actually is. More than one-third (35 percent) of B2B marketers say they are not clear on how to use programmatic to identify and reach new business prospects, compared to 44 percent who say they are, and another 34 percent say programmatic's scale is simply too large for highly targeted B2B campaigns.
Indeed, targeting the right audiences was cited as the most common challenge associated with programmatic (42 percent), followed by a lack of consensus on measurement and metrics (34 percent). Nearly half (47 percent) said they measure conversions, 44 percent said they measure web traffic, and 43 percent reported measuring leads. None of the 10 KPI's listed are tracked by a majority of marketers.
The forward-looking section of the survey yielded some more optimistic results. Forty-two percent of respondents agree that B2B represents the largest growth opportunity for programmatic advertising, compared to 9 percent who disagree (49 percent aren't sure). Still, 46 percent say that most programmatic and ad tech companies "just don't get" B2B marketing and advertising.
Fortunately for all of us, only 10 percent of B2B marketers agree with the curiously included statement, "The concept of business-to-business marketing is just passé."