B2B paid media spending surged in the second half of 2021, and 2022 is expected to be another great year for advertising budgets. In fact, LinkedIn’s advertising business surpassed $1 billion in revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter for the first time, up 97% year over year. If you’re a B2B company looking to keep the momentum going and capitalize on continued budget increases, what are the best ways to spend your paid media budget in the new year?
Here are 10 ideas you can explore, test, or implement depending on your organization’s level of paid media emphasis and sophistication:
- Make first-party data your first priority. Browser and operating system restrictions, consumer actions, privacy regulations, and walled gardens are limiting advertisers’ ability to collect and process data. You’re going to need robust first-party data to build, match, and expand B2B audiences for advertising purposes.
- Play the long game with always-on advertising. It’s important to rotate your advertising flights so they’re always reaching in-market buyers. But according to the Forrester Analytics Business Technographics® Priorities And Journey Survey, 2021, 27% of B2B purchase influencers say they often know what they intend to purchase before they begin exploring solutions from providers. Make sure you reserve a portion of your paid media budget for ads that are always on and working to seed future demand.
- Double down on incrementality. Stuck measuring click-through rates? B2B marketers aren’t as familiar with incrementality as B2C marketers are. It’s a methodology for measuring the lift in an advertising audiences’ attitudes or behaviors, and it’s critical for ensuring your paid media impressions are getting credit for changing the way people act and think when they see your ads.
- Invest in creative excellence. B2B advertising can be a bit boring, but advertising’s superpower is its ability to make lasting impressions with creative concepts. Spice up your advertising creative with concepts that engage your audience, reinforce your brand promise, and highlight your differentiating value, instead of just promoting the latest white paper or event registration.
- Expand your reach with B2B ad solutions. While omnichannel advertising remains out of reach with a single vendor, many solutions have evolved into more holistic advertising platforms by building or acquiring capabilities. Make 2022 your year to evaluate your ad tech capabilities and expand your reach into new channels.
- Work well with walled gardens. Many B2B publishers are turning the business internet into “walled gardens” by requiring subscriptions from their visitors to read content and limiting advertiser access to their subscribers’ data. Plan for more direct media buys, and use platforms with direct publisher relationships to keep your advertising running within the walls.
- Support niche and local publishers. Small publishers that attract B2B buyers are a great place to focus some of your paid media spending because you can extend your audience reach and give your brand a dose of goodwill when readers realize your company is supporting their favorite niche content.
- Explore new routes to ad inventory. Don’t limit your paid media budget to display, social, and search ads. B2B audiences are reachable through connected television, digital out-of-home, email newsletter advertising, podcasts, and many other progressive channels.
- Invest in your paid media talent. B2B companies are choosing to perform more paid media functions in-house, which is shining a light on talent. While B2C has historically attracted the best and brightest advertising talent, B2B advertising is highly technical, interesting, and rewarding work. Go out and hire some great new people who want to make a difference in B2B!
- Up-level your paid media governance. Paid media is a big-budget item in most B2B companies, and it can also be siloed and fragmented across the organization. Make 2022 your year to manage your in-house and agency resources with more focus and efficiency.
2022 could be a difficult year for advertising because of data deprecation. As with any advertising strategy, make sure you have a repeatable system in place for testing and optimizing your advertising tactics before you start running media flights.
Want to know what the best ideas were last year? Check out the 2021 list of the 10 best ways to spend your B2B paid media budget.