Total revenue for B2B media companies increased 7.2% from $24.7 billion in 2010 to $26.5 billion in 2011, reports American Business Media (ABM) in a March 2012 release. Digital advertising saw the largest year-over-year gains, growing 22% from $5.2 billion to $6.35 billion, followed by data services, a category including rich media and business information services on a subscription and transactional basis, which rose 6.5% from $1.82 billion to $1.94 billion.
Trade shows experienced the slowest year-over-year growth of the media categories, at 2.2%, but remained the heavyweight with $10.5 billion in 2011 revenue, compared with slightly less than $10.3 billion in 2010. Print advertising followed with $7.7 billion in revenue, up 3.8% from more than $7.4 billion a year earlier.
Trade Shows Still Top Revenue Stream
Trade shows remained the top category by share of B2B media revenue in 2011, accounting for roughly 40% of total revenue. And although print advertising held its second ranking, at 29% share, digital advertising’s comparatively faster growth took it to 24% share. Data services revenue made up the smallest share of total revenues, at 7%.
The prevalence of trade shows and exhibitions in marketing budgets is supported by recent survey results from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). According to the marketing executives polled, each of whom were required to have participated in at least one exhibition in the past 2 years, B2B exhibitions received on average of 39.2% of respondents’ marketing dollars in 2011, with those spending more than half of their marketing dollars allocating on average 64% of their budgets to this channel.
Print Sales Rise Faster Than Pages
Diving deeper into the print advertising figures reported by ABM, it appears that sales growth outpaced page growth in 2011. Indeed, for the year, print advertising pages grew by just 0.36%, with the biggest growth found in the transportation, logistics sector (13.08%), and the largest decrease seen in the computing, software, and telecommunications vertical (-8.1%). Despite this modest increase in pages, advertising sales rose a relatively healthier 3.82%. The business, advertising, and marketing sector saw the biggest increase, at 28.2%, while government experienced the biggest decrease (-7.8%).
Data from the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) released in January 2012 indicated that while the consumer magazine industry saw print advertising revenues of roughly $20 billion in 2011, flat from 2010, pages dipped 3.1% year-over-year.
Digital Channels Increase in Importance
Meanwhile, the increase in B2B digital advertising revenue reported by ABM is reflective of the growing importance B2B marketers are placing on online channels. According to a B2B Magazine survey released in March, B2B marketers are overwhelming choosing email and social media as their leading online channels. In fact, 88% of marketers surveyed are using email marketing, while 4 in 5 say they are using social media, with those channels also receiving the highest ratings in terms of conversion rates.
About the Data: BtoB’s data is based on an online poll conducted in January and February that generated 326 responses. While the sample of companies was diverse, advertising agencies and technology companies predominated, comprising 26% and 25% of all respondents, respectively. Manufacturing (11%), financial services (8%) and consultancies (7%) also were well-represented.