B2B Marketers to Scrutinize Display Advertising Budgets

Earlier this week, I wrote about a new Forrester report, which appeared in a B2BOnline column, and the expected rise in B2B marketing this year. Not all online formats will see big increases from B2B advertisers though.  Specifically, only a small number of B2B marketers, 13%, will up their spending on display. Forrester analyst, Michael Greene thinks he knows why.

About 71% of B2B marketers use online display while 86% of B2C marketers do so. One reason for the lower use rate by B2B marketers is the perceived effectiveness of the channel. When studying large B2B marketers, Forrester data shows that only about 1 in 4 firms allocates over $1 million in annual online display spending.

Currently, B2B marketers use display for the following main reasons:

  • Increasing brand awareness: 49%
  • Lead generation: 46%
  • Reaching key audiences: 46%
  • Driving direct sales: 41%

And this strategy is part of the problem, according to Greene. He believes that B2B marketers should change their approach to display advertising to make it more effective. John Obrecht, BtoBOnline,  writes, if these marketers were to,  “promote lead nurturing by driving prospects toward white papers, webinars and virtual events,” their use of online display would be more cost effective.  Another way for B2B marketers to improve their online display efforts would be to target prospects in the early stages of the buying process and who might be engaged by an interactive ad.

If B2B marketers employ some of the suggestions made by Michael Greene, media space providers may find that they will be selling more inventory to these clients.

[Sources: Obrecht, John. Realizing the promise of online display ads. Btobonline​.com. 4 Apr. 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2011; B2B Brands Undervalue Online Display Marketing. Marketingprofs​.com 21 Mar. 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.