The Role of Programmatic Advertising in the B2B Customer Journey

The Role of Programmatic Advertising in the B2B Customer Journey

As businesses start take the full funnel into consideration during the sales process, marketers are leaping at the opportunity to showcase what they’ve known for a while — display advertising has actual value, despite return on investment (ROI) being difficult to prove. Because of this, annual spending on programmatic advertising is expected to reach over $19 billion by 2027. Programmatic advertising is the practice of automating display placements to reduce the manual workload and enable marketers to place more advertisements in more places in less time. This method of buying ad placements is more data-driven than traditional methods because all of the data is evaluated in real-time, rather than relying on outdated information.

With programmatic advertising, every time a visitor accesses a webpage, the software runs through a process in which it identifies the category of the content, accounts for company’s bids, and decides which ads to display all within milliseconds. With the additional data that comes from programmatic advertising, marketers can identify the role display advertising plays in the B2B funnel, making it a key part of the customer journey.

When to Consider Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic and display advertising aren’t right for every situation, but they can be exceedingly helpful for marketers that need to increase brand awareness and knowledge of their solutions.

Niche B2B markets

There are more than 3 billion B2B businesses in the US alone, in hundreds of different categories. With such a high volume, business decisions makers can’t possibly be aware of all of the B2B solutions that exist on the market. They may be actively researching a problem to find some kind of workaround, not knowing a vendor has already solved it. Programmatic advertising can allow that vendor to advertise on pages related to the aforementioned problem, so the reader can learn more about the solution.

Launching new products or services

Just because a brand is well-known for a certain product or solution, doesn’t mean they can be lackadaisical when it comes to launching new products or services. Mergers and acquisitions happen constantly, and it’s unreasonable to expect business decision makers to be aware of all of them. Any time a well-known company launches a new product or service, especially if it’s in a different space than their original line, they should run programmatic advertising campaigns to let potential customers know.

Expanding into new geographical markets

Likewise, companies that do well in one geographical market can’t expect to automatically succeed when they expand to others. There may be market leaders in those areas to contend with, and it may take time for consumers in those regions to recognize the newcomer as an established brand. Programmatic advertising can increase brand recognition and improve trust among consumers to make transitioning into new markets easier.

Programmatic Advertising as a First Touch

Programmatic advertising isn’t the end-all be-all for B2B marketers, but it should be a part of their toolbox. Instead, it offers brand awareness and product knowledge that warms potential customers up for future touches. Leads are much more likely to agree to be contacted by a company they’ve heard of, and contextual advertising (available through programmatic channels) increases brand recall by up to 40%.

Typically, programmatic advertising should be the first step on a customer journey, with advertisers using the data they receive from publishers to retarget viewers of their ads with other channels. For example, publishers like TechnologyAdvice have the ability to create intent lists that show advertisers the companies that are actively researching on our site that saw their ad. This gives marketers the ability to create a target account list for future campaigns with the idea that these companies have at least heard of the vendor, increasing the likelihood that further outreach will be successful.

Things to Avoid with Programmatic Advertising

It’s easy for marketers to get laser-focused on their goals, but here are some things that can actually hinder your progress with programmatic marketing.


If you get too specific in your targeting, it’s going to be really hard to deliver the number of impressions you’re expecting. Remember that ads are not lead gen. It’s better for more people to see your ad and become familiar with your brand, even if they’re not a fit for your ideal customer profile. They may know someone who is and be able to recommend your company to them. Focus on contextual targeting first to make sure your ads will resonate with the right audience. Then, if you need to narrow down further, you can do so.

Using an ABM List for Targeting

Similar to over-targeting, this will severely limit the number of impressions available to you. Not only that, but an ABM list is made up of companies that you want to work with, rather than companies that actively want to work with you. The latter are going to be much easier to convert and likely to keep in the long run. For advertising, more open targeting is much better than targeting to a specific list.

Making Budget Your Only Metric

While budget is definitely important in marketing campaigns, it can’t be your sole driver for programmatic advertising. While it’s totally possible to get millions of impressions for little actual money, the value of those impressions is also going to be lower, and may even cost you with potential clients. Typically, these impressions are so cheap because they come from low-quality sites, which means the user experience may be poor or your ads will appear next to unsavory content. It will be better for your brand reputation to spend more on better quality placements, even if you get less impressions.

Choosing the Right Programmatic Advertising Partner

Programmatic advertising is a great way for B2B marketers to build brand awareness with potential customers, if they choose the right partner. Marketers need to look for programmatic display providers that can target ad serves both contextually and through first-party data to improve conversion rates and protect consumer trust. The partner should also be able to verify that traffic is not coming from bots and provide real-time reporting on ad performance.

TechnologyAdvice offers targeted programmatic advertising with self-service options and impression guarantees, so B2B marketers can get in front of the right buyers on relevant content. We have over 20 owned and operated websites in our portfolio, along with a network of high-quality partner sites to extend an advertiser’s reach even further. Our first-party data makes it easy to target ads to the right audience, and our portfolio covers a wide range of technology-related topics to improve contextual advertising.

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