B2B display advertising can considerably boost your marketing campaigns – but it needs to be done right.
When done well, B2B display ads can increase awareness of your brand amongst the decision-makers you're targeting and support your wider marketing strategy.
B2B display advertising is great for marketing to niche audiences, and can also make your target prospects more likely to convert to sales, by building awareness over time.
Furthermore, you can combine your B2B display advertising strategies with B2B lead generation for what we like to call ‘surround-sound messaging’.
But before we get into that, how can you ensure the right people see your display ads? And how do you combat 'banner blindness' to ensure audiences actively see your ads and take note?!
The key is to identify the niche places your display ads will work and use them as part of a larger campaign. For example, you can combine your B2B display ads with ABM lead generation techniques or editorial support for maximum impact.
What Is B2B Display Advertising?
Display advertising, distinct from sponsored content or listings, is creative advertising that showcases a brand. B2B display ad campaigns are commonly found in the form of a banner on an external website. B2B display ads can also take the form of 'native' advertising, which is designed to fit the aesthetic of the website it's displayed on.
Display advertising for B2B is aimed at business decision-makers, so clever audience targeting and compelling messaging are needed.
B2B Programmatic Advertising
You may also have heard the term B2B programmatic advertising, which is a way of doing B2B display advertising.
B2B programmatic advertising describes the way in which display ads are bought. For example websites, publishers, advertisers, and other networks can sell and buy ad impressions via an automated system.
The good news is if you’re working with a B2B display advertising agency, you don’t need to worry about all the details of programmatic advertising. A B2B display ads specialist will take the lead when it comes to setting up your programmatic display ads. For example, your supplier will recommend the most appropriate ad placement and buy the advertising space on your behalf.
It's important to ensure the B2B display ads agency you’re working with is serving your B2B programmatic ad campaigns to a suitable and appropriate network of websites.
It can be tricky to get right: a lot of digital advertising is bought and sold programmatically – involving automation – and can end up in front of the wrong audiences. At the same time, many people who are used to browsing the internet have developed 'banner blindness' and are less likely to notice advertising.
But put in the right places, as part of your B2B lead generation strategy, display advertising can see a fantastic – and fully measurable – return on investment.
What Are the Benefits of Display Advertising for B2B?
The major benefit of B2B display advertising is brand awareness.
Business decision-makers don't tend to make impulse purchases, so they're unlikely to be swayed by an ad in a context-free environment, even if it's for a product they need.
However coupled with a clever B2B lead generation strategy or an account-based marketing strategy, B2B display advertising can be highly effective. For example, when a decision maker is specifically targeted around the web, a display advert can be hugely influential in familiarizing the prospect with your brand.
Essentially, you can use display advertising to create 'surround-sound messaging' within your marketing campaign. Taking a 360 approach will help you ensure your prospects are exposed to your brand at various touchpoints. B2B lead generation companies can help you do this.
Let’s Take a Look at an Example.
Let’s say Jared, a Cybersecurity Manager is looking to implement a company-wide anti-spam email software.
His search first involves doing independent research online, before narrowing his choices down to just two or three companies to contact for a meeting.
As the new software is company-wide the budget is substantial. Plus, there are a lot of different people who need to be involved in the purchase decision.
Most of Jared’s research has come from:
- Brands he’s already heard of.
- Reading educational content online.
- Reading review sites.
- Recommendations from his professional network.
When doing online research he also came across a new company, WeHatePhising.com.
A week later he happened to be on a review site and he saw a banner ad for WeHatePhising.com. He didn’t click on the ad but it had a small impact on his awareness of the brand.
The following day he had a meeting with Taylor, an Email Marketing Manager who also mentioned WeHatePhising.com.
Taylor also saw the same display ad as Jared. Even though Taylor isn't leading the project, she is still influential in the decision-making process for a new spam email software. Therefore WeHatePhising.com included her job title for targeting within their display campaign.
Okay so the example above might be a little basic, but it does show the power of a great display advertising strategy.
B2B display advertising can target multiple decision-makers and influencers within your company’s niche to build a wider awareness of your brand. And when you combine b2b display ads with your wider marketing strategy, great things can happen!
So with that, let’s look at some of the top B2B display advertising strategies for 2023.
3 B2B Display Advertising Strategies for 2023
The best B2B display advertising strategies focus on brand awareness and cutting through the noise to offer your audience a tangible solution.
Display advertising doesn't just mean a still banner ad: more creative options, including video advertising, can help attract attention.
The key is to offer something valuable with a compelling message and a solid call to action.
These are our favorite B2B display advertising strategies for 2023.
B2B Display Advertising Strategy #1: Solid Foundations
When setting up your B2B display ads or B2B programmatic advertising campaigns you need to get the foundations right first.
Firstly, you need to create your B2B display advertising campaign objectives. Why do you want to run B2B programmatic ads?
For example, you might choose to run a B2B display advertising campaign to a completely new audience if you’ve recently launched a new product or to build awareness of your brand in a new territory.
Secondly, you’ll want to work with a B2B display advertising agency that can place your ads in the right place, at the right time, and to the right people.
For example, for you that might mean only running your display ads Monday-Friday. Or you might choose to only use GIFs or videos and to only serve your ads on relevant and appropriate websites.
Other B2B display advertising factors include:
- Days of the week – you may choose to include or exclude certain days of the week, such as weekends.
- Time – you may choose to only serve ads during working hours per time zone.
- Website placement – most B2B display advertising is run through a programmatic network. It’s important to ensure the B2B display agency you're working with is transparent about where your ads will (and won't!) be placed.
- Creative – with display ads you don’t have long to catch someone’s attention. Therefore your creative should go further than being on-brand and eye-catching. Try and stick to one key message or theme. Plus, limit your copy and use videos or gifs where possible – movement makes people look!
- Focusing on impressions – unlike everything you’ve been told about digital marketing in recent years, B2B display ads should be focused on impressions. Yes, you’ll still have a desired CTR in mind but your aim is to build brand awareness through as many relevant people seeing your brand as possible.
- Set a limit – with display advertising you have the option to set a limit on the number of times one person sees your ads online. We recommend including a limit in your campaign, for example, no more than 10 times per day. Setting a limit will avoid your ads (and your brand) from appearing spammy.
B2B Display Advertising Strategy #2: Surround-Sound Messaging
Once you’ve set the foundations for your B2B programmatic advertising you’re ready to start building B2B display ads into your marketing strategy.
One of the most effective B2B advertising strategies out there is to combine your lead generation with display advertising.
Running your display ads alongside your lead generation campaign creates surround-sound messaging, leading to increased brand awareness amongst your target audience.
We'll give our business model as an example: Headley Media is a B2B lead generation agency that owns over 250 content libraries in different technology sectors. We publish content from tech suppliers on our websites for content syndication lead generation campaigns.
The technology suppliers we work with can enhance their lead generation campaign with display advertising, which targets key decision-makers and influencers throughout their buyer’s journey.
Our programmatic advertising also appears on 3rd party sites, chosen to be as relevant as possible to our readers' needs, forming a full B2B display advertising network.
Because the target audiences are already in those spaces, they're more receptive to the brand's advertising, reinforcing the messages it delivers in its content.
It helps brands stand out against their competitors and ensure their products stay front of mind. In addition, targets are familiarized with the brand through the awareness and consideration stages of the marketing funnel.
Headley Media’s B2B display advertising campaigns are monitored, analyzed, and optimized by our in-house team, giving a personalized managed service. We ensure that none of your budgets is wasted: for example, we'll only run ads during business hours in each country where the ad is operational.
Running your display advertising alongside your B2B lead generation campaigns is a great way to ensure your campaigns are finely targeted towards your target audience, with complete digital monitoring and metrics to back it up.
B2B Display Advertising Strategy #3: A/B Testing
Our final B2B display advertising strategy is A/B testing. Like many other digital marketing strategies, B2B programmatic advertising requires testing.
If your company is brand new to B2B display advertising you’ll need to run a few campaigns before you start to understand what works best for your target audience.
As with any A/B testing, you should only look to make changes to one element of your campaign at a time and split everything equally between your two campaigns.
With B2B programmatic advertising you should consider A/B testing the following:
1. Your creative assets:
- Test the format of your creative, such as static imagery vs. GIFs or videos.
- Tweaking the copy or messaging on your ads.
- Changing the colors.
2. When & where your ads are hosted:
- What websites your display ads are shown on.
- What day/time your display ads are served to your audience.
3. Your audience:
- Who your ads are being served to e.g. their demographics, company information, job titles etc.
- What countries/regions/territories your ads are being served to (if relevant).
- Any exclusions or inclusions you want to test within your audience.
Getting Started With B2B Display Advertising in 2023
The critical thing to remember about B2B display advertising is that B2B businesses aren't impulse buyers.
Building brand awareness to generate demand for your technology solutions takes time.
However, if your display ads are cleverly targeted, A/B tested, and combined with a lead generation strategy or account-based marketing, they can be highly effective.
Typically, B2B display advertising is done with a display advertising agency or supplier.
To get the most out of your marketing budget and to benefit from a display advertising agency’s expertise we highly recommend working with a specialist in 2023.
For an example of B2B display ad services, explore Headley Media’s B2B display advertising service, Headley Display.