B2B Media Companies Selling More Digital Ad Space

B2B marketers are on track to spend over 4% more on advertising and marketing services this year, compared to 2012, and the outlook for 2014 is good. This increase is also on track with spending boosts businessmeetingmade by B2B marketers in 2012, a trend that indicates expansion mode for the sector. New research by American Business Media (ABM) shows that digital formats are enjoying a significant interest from B2B marketers but data management and business information services are also in demand.

ABM’s latest analysis of information compiled by several industry sources shows that B2B marketers will spend $26 billion on advertising this year. Broadly speaking, the spending is divided into the following sectors:

  • Trade shows 45%
  • Print 27%
  • Digital 18%
  • Data services 10%

In 2013, spending on trade shows has increased 2.7% to an annualized rate of $11.74 billion.  While print advertising spending is declining and may drop over 4% in 2013, the sector continues to do well in several industries. Healthcare, professional services, retail services and manufacturing continue to be big sources of revenue for print business media providers. B2B marketers may spend about $7.6 billion on this format before the year ends.

Analysts note that the chief driver of increased revenue in B2B ad spending is digital. They attribute this change to a rise in mobile ad campaigns. In the second quarter alone this year, mobile ad spending in the sector rose over 145%. For the entire year, B2B marketers will likely spend $4.69 billion on digital advertising.

B2B marketers are also showing interest in purchasing space in online directories which are included ABM’s data and business category. Spending in this group has been increasing at the rate of 7% in 2013 and may end the year at $2.6 billion. Note that part of the revenue in this category reflects media company expansion into other data services for marketers. This includes new offerings from McGraw Hill Financial and Hearst Business Media.

Top B2B marketers include AT&T, Microsoft and Apple. While a significant portion of their ad spending may take place at the national level and target large businesses, they also buy spot TV and out-​of-​home to target businesses in local markets.

What's your prediction for the B2B ad market in 2014? Do you expect to see another 4% increase or something larger?

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.