“The Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.
Today's column is written by Rob Rasko, founder and CEO at The 614 Group.
Online publishers, now more than ever, must juggle the demands of creating great content while driving revenue. At the heart of this balancing act are consumers, who turn to online publishing for specific reasons based on what they’re doing at that moment.
I recently had the opportunity to shift my focus from the B2C to the B2B side of publishing, which shed light on what I believe is an important topic that isn’t given enough consideration: the importance of having a unique environment for B2B publishers to monetize their inventory.
As marketers put increasing pressure on publishers to deliver targeted audiences, I think the value of B2B audiences will increase. And as that value increases, it must do so in a world where brand safety is paramount.
But why would a B2B publisher have different requirements in programmatic than B2C publishers? Isn't automation, well, automation?
The unique needs of B2B publishers create an importance for a tailored advertising environment that reflects the needs of their business. While there are several digital advertising exchanges, only a few cater to the unique needs of B2B marketers.
And just because brand safety has been a focal point in B2C doesn’t mean there has been the same focus for B2B publishers. B2B ad exchanges make it easier for buyers and sellers to align around brand safety.
Some examples of B2B publishers include NASA Tech Briefs, Dentaltown or Chemical & Engineering News. Because B2B content is so focused, audiences are niche. B2B publishers have a unique advantage offering such a targeted audience to marketers ever-eager to demonstrate the return on their advertising investment.
B2B ad sales rely on established relationships built on trust and availability of information. From the endemic industry advertisers to nonendemic national brands, there is a kinship between the buyer, content and the audience. Even as we move further into automation, the environment in a B2B exchange must cater to that personal touch.
B2B content fills a need by providing market-focused resources for associated professionals. The result is that B2B content subscribers are typically further down the sales funnel with more qualified leads than B2C content consumers.
B2B advertising is functional because it’s part of the conversation between the advertiser and their target audience. Advertising is less of an obstruction to consumers and more as a suggested solution to their current business challenges. This shift in encoding can have lasting impact on buyers who are more likely to view ads as a resource and not an impediment.
Because B2B subscriptions are qualified by the publisher, the validity of the audience data is typically high. In addition to website activity, most B2B media companies deliver content through subscriber-based trade magazines, e-newsletters and registration-gated virtual and live events. These portfolios have created communities with rich user insights.
Business consumers prioritize saving the organization money, often leveraging the purchasing power of their company to obtain discounts when possible. Purchase decisions are often more involved because there may be many layers of review and approval needed before the purchase can be completed. Business consumers make decisions with consideration for their company’s budget, rather than their own personal purchasing power.
B2B Requires Different Level Of Service
These unique points of differentiation demonstrate the growing need for more B2B exchanges in the digital advertising marketplace. The intimate knowledge of the inventory that traditional B2B sellers have is not clearly available in today’s ad exchange universe. The closer we can get to delivering that relationship-focused experience, the more successful the marketplace can be for these types of companies.
B2B marketers will increasingly prioritize automated ways of buying advertising. Data overlays will create deeper insights for marketers looking to maximize their digital investments and extend their audience through other channels within the exchange, connecting this rich audience with the ability to target. That’s a win-win. B2B media exchanges will also create access to new inventory for marketers as they seek to reach more qualified leads.
B2B publishers and marketers should want the same brand safety considerations as B2C publishers. Vertically focused media exchanges comprised of B2B sites with brand safety baked in would grow increasingly valuable and allow publishers that can’t reach audience scale on their own to create a significant impact in the marketplace and attract potential advertisers that they might not attract on their own.