Almost two-thirds (65%) of B2B marketers in the US now buy and sell advertising programmatically, up from 54% last year, according to a recent survey [download page] from Dun & Bradstreet. The study is supported by recent research from Kantar SRDS similarly showing that roughly 2 in 3 B2B media buyers are now at least sometimes buying digital display advertising programmatically for their campaigns.
Respondents to the Dun & Bradstreet survey don’t have any plans to scale back their spending: instead, almost 7 in 10 say they’ll spend more on programmatic advertising next year compared to what they spent this year. That includes more than one-fifth who expect their spending increase to top 25%. In fact, a slight majority (52%) anticipate that more than one-quarter of their media spend will be earmarked for programmatic next year. (For comparison, close to two-thirds of media buyers and planners responding to the Kantar SRDS survey said that at least 15% of their 2015 B2B digital display advertising budget was bought programmatically.)
But while there seems to be growing interest in programmatic among B2B marketers, there’s plenty of confusion around this emerging process: only 27% agreed that they really have a clear idea of what programmatic ad buying actually is.
And while only a minority (35%) agreed that they are unclear how to use programmatic to identify and reach new business prospects and customers, respondents separately identified targeting the right audiences as their top challenge surrounding programmatic advertising. This is an area where Facebook has an advantage over other social channels: 63% of respondents reported buying Facebook targeting, compared to fewer than 4 in 10 using paid targeting on LinkedIn (39%) and Twitter (36%). This may be one reason why other research suggests that while LinkedIn is the top social platform for B2B marketers, Facebook rivals it in paid social effectiveness.
Other highlights from Dun & Bradstreet’s report indicate that:
- Cross-channel (60%), cross-device (60%) and lookalike targeting (52%) are the data-driven advertising and marketing tactics most commonly used by B2B marketers today;
- Roughly half (49%) agree that it’s too hard to stay on top of all the fast changes taking place in programmatic and data-driven marketing and advertising; but
- More than 4 in 10 believe that B2B is the biggest growth opportunity in programmatic advertising.
About the Data: The data is based on the results of a survey of B2B marketers and their agencies conducted by Adweek BrandShare on behalf of Dun & Bradstreet in September 2016. All 221 respondents were involved in B2B marketing and had a job title of manager or above. All respondents were located in the U.S.