For B2B Marketers, Video Represents A Golden Opportunity

bob-rayOn TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in programmatic TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Bob Ray, president, Americas, at DWA Media.

Business-to-business (B2B) marketers have keenly observed the programmatic performance of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers. Now is the moment to take advantage of more than a decade of progress, particularly in the emerging area of video.

Although many B2B marketers viewed programmatic advertising as the Wild West because of several issues, including fraud and viewability, the pool of video viewers is growing significantly, as is programmatic video ad spending and improvements in buyer protection.

By focusing on account-based marketing, strategic partnerships, cross-device and mobile video, B2B marketers can make headway with programmatic video and avoid many of the same pitfalls that plagued early B2C marketers when they first experimented with programmatic.

A Confluence Of Favorable Market Conditions

Seventy percent of B2B buyers and researchers watch videos throughout their path to purchase, a 52% jump in two years, according to a Google and Millward Brown Digital study. Nearly half are millennials.

Meanwhile, US programmatic video ad spending will grow by more than 200% in 2015, and account for 40% of US digital video ad sales in 2016, eMarketer predicts. This can be partially attributed to the expansion of programmatic direct deals, the premium inventory of private marketplaces and the demand for rich media from an increasingly mobile audience.

Finally, B2B marketers can now enjoy better buyer security. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Quality Assurance Guidelines 2.0 largely govern today’s standards of controls, transparency, source identification and fraud protection within the open and private exchange. For the B2B advertiser, the private marketplace will gain stature with its greater optionality, premium inventory and guaranteed pricing with members-only exclusivity.

Gaining A Foothold In Programmatic Video

Programmatic video inventory is still very scarce. This means B2B marketers who are just entering programmatic video must accurately identify accounts in the development of video campaigns. IP-based targeting allows marketers to understand which accounts are the most interested in a particular solution, and guides them in crafting messages that resonate with the audience during various stages of the buyer journey. Once the target accounts are understood, the next step is finding a programmatic partner who can help reach the intended audience.

As the need to maintain integrity and security in programmatic increases, marketers should focus on selecting providers with business models that align with their own. Marketers and their providers should have a shared audience, so that video content is served in a venue where it is most likely to gain traction with target accounts. Moreover, these providers should be able to make certain controls available to the buyer, such as inventory selection, bid platforms or even access to transaction logs and performance insights.

Up for debate in some circles is whether the open exchange or private marketplace can provide the best return on advertising spending. While open exchanges are a viable and widely used ad-buying platform, private marketplaces are coming to the fore as an alternative that help buyers determine inventory value.

Investment in a programmatic partnership should explore the opportunities and risks of operating in both environments, and whether or not reliance on a single platform is in the best interest of B2B marketing initiatives.

B2B marketers should also pair video with display ads to influence customers’ overall purchase decisions, which can greatly reduce consideration time along the purchase path.

Looking Ahead

As marketers plan for programmatic video, they need to consider all devices where customers will consume content, including TV and mobile. Programmatic TV is on the rise through addressable and connected TV ads, and can be used in conjunction with programmatic video display ads as consumers switch between screens while watching TV.

TV isn’t the only environment where digital video will ignite. Mobile video ads will grow almost five times faster than desktop during the next few years, according to Business Insider. This will account for mobile video’s ad revenue growth from $1 billion in 2015 to more than $4.4 billion in 2018.

As B2B engages with customers through programmatic video, it can avoid the heartache of the early B2C experience and gain a more secure, reliable, controlled and effective outcome. With video viewer count and ad spending skyrocketing, B2B marketers can follow suit with programmatic techniques that are more in tune with the customers’ unique buyer journey across companies, devices and considerations.

Follow DWA (@dwaTechMedia) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. Great points here Ray. What we see a lot of are videos sent to middle-of-the-funnel prospects. The purpose is personalized education and training.

    Also ensuring that the programmatic videos are personalized helps a lot with eventual click through and overall engagement time.