B2B Marketers Will Ramp Up Digital Ad Spending

BY Kathy Crosett
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B2B marketers will ramp up digital ad spending in 2021. Specifically, they expect to shell out $9.03 billion on digital ad spending this year. That figure amounts to 35% of their planned total ad spending. The total also marks nearly a 9% increase over last year.

Like most marketers, B2B companies have been hit hard by the pandemic. While they used to rely on conferences and other in-​person events to generate leads, things have changed. They’ve responded by adjusting their business models and their advertising strategy. According to the latest research published in a joint study from WARC and Spotify, Changing Channels in B2B, the following percentages of B2B operators will increase investment in these formats for 2021:

  • Online video/​display 73%
  • Digital audio 66%
  • TV 59%
  • Podcasts 56%
  • Out-​of-​home 49%
  • Terrestrial radio 44%
  • Print 37%

Screen Fatigue

Despite the interest in all things visual, analysts are asking if there is an element of “screen fatigue?” Some marketers think so. In his analysis of the tech marketer study published by FINITE and 93X, Ayaz Nanji pointed to this problem as being a key challenge for marketers that need to win the attention of buyers.

To counter that problem, they are using short-​term original content. This fatigue may also explain why marketers are investing more in audio formats. Marketers have also reported that virtual events have limited success because attendees lack the personal connection that was so important in the past. As a result, virtual events will likely be shorter in the future.

Demographics of Decision-Makers

The WARC study focused primarily on tech and telco B2B marketers. However, some of the findings can be applied to other B2B sectors. One of these findings centers on demographics.

Your clients may have already noticed a shift in buyer demographics. Our research shows that digital natives are more likely to be in charge of making purchase decisions. These decision-​makers are also younger. They’re more comfortable with digital messaging, but they still want to see the value in the solutions they’re considering.

First-​Party Data

Like their B2C counterparts, B2B advertisers will also be impacted by the disappearance of cookies in the digital marketing realm. Your B2B clients will be stepping up their first-​party data collection and use. Once they have information about their prospects and customers, they’ll be able to personalize messages. If you have expertise in managing first-​party data, consider selling this service to prospects and clients.

B2B Marketers Will Ramp Up Digital Ad Spending

B2B buyers will likely bring their less emotional selves to the buying process because their careers are linked to how well they perform their jobs. However, at the end of the day, these buyers are still people. It is possible for your clients to appeal to the buyers’ wants. To do that, 83% of brands say it is important or very important to find new ways to tell their story. Part of the new approach will be to use customer stories in marketing campaigns. About half of B2B marketers will increase their investments in partner marketing or sponsorships. This trend shows they realize that younger consumers and buyers want to do business with socially responsible organizations.

You can help your B2B clients get a sense of their online profile and what their competitors are doing by running a Digital Audit. The tool is available at AdMall by SalesFuel and will provide you with intelligence to start a conversation on how you can help them meet their goals this year.