Business-to-business (B2B) companies aren’t traditionally big spenders on digital ads. According to our estimates, B2B digital ad spend makes up only 4.6% of the total digital ad market.

To get a better understanding of why the market still lacks maturity, as well as the various challenges B2B companies face, we spoke to several industry experts for our recent “US B2B Digital Advertising Trends” report. Here’s what we found:

B2Bs Still Heavily Rely on Traditional Channels

For many B2Bs, traditional marketing methods like content marketing, email and personalized calls work.

In an August 2018 survey from Informa Engage, 78% of US B2B professionals said email marketing was one of the leading marketing tactics they used in 2018, followed by industry events (70%).

A similar survey conducted by Bop Design also found that personalized calls or emails were used by 79.7% of B2B marketers for lead nurturing, with email campaigns following closely behind at 64.4%. In contrast, just a quarter said they used pay-per-click ads to get leads.

Tactics Used by US B2B Marketers for Lead Nurturing, April 2018 (% of respondents)

There Is a Need for Transformation

Some B2Bs may not be comfortable using certain digital tactics because their company hasn’t undergone a digital transformation. “B2Bs are comfortable buying direct from a digital publisher because that is the way their business is set up to purchase digital media,” said eMarketer analyst Jillian Ryan. […]

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