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How programmatic advertising works in B2B as well

One of the largest motors of the online advertising market is programmatic advertising. According to the media agency Zenith it can be expected that there will be an increase in net advertising sales from 39 billion US dollars in 2016 to 64 billion dollars in 2018. So far programmatic marketing has only worked very well in the B2C domain. The right data is essential to enable B2B companies to address their target groups with any precision as well.

May 2018

Why programmatic advertising works

Programmatic Advertising

The potential success of programmatic advertising lies in targeting: Addressing precisely the user you want to reach. Regardless of the platform and without time lags. This works all the more effectively, the better the data basis is. When addressing consumers this approach works well, which is evident time and again from the success ratings of Facebook and Google. When it comes to B2B themes this is much more difficult. The reason for this is that the affinities registered for consumer themes, information derived from socio-demographics and other interests provide a good basis for themes of the wider market. For instance, the target group for higher-priced cosmetics or premium cars can be easily identified and addressed in this way. For B2B targeting there are indeed socio-demographic criteria such as education occupation or sector, but these work inadequately in interest-based marketing.

B2B needs better data

The more specific the target groups the more difficult it is to deduce them in a general way. What data items describe the management of certain industry segments and its specific interests? In specialist groups it’s even more difficult. How can I reliably identify decision-makers from building automation, the events industry or the music industry? The solution is Audience Marketing, specifically for specialist themes and special-interest target groups. This means deploying precise target group data which verifiably represents a relevant public for the respective theme instead of socio-demographic features or imprecise environmental data. When management or people with a business interest are involved, environments such as the online services of business media will supply more precise data than a socio-demographic study. But this data is also not precise. The reader of business news can just as well be a student, a scientist or a person with a general interest in the subject.

Audience Marketing opens up potential

With Audience Marketing advertisers specifically address the target group they’re aiming at. The basis is the relevant B2B target group data. If the user data comes from specialist sites or sector-related events the corresponding target groups can be reached in a precise fashion. The users are identified by their cookies - without being personalised of course - and can therefore also be recognised and addressed outside the target sites. Trade fair organisers can thus provide valuable audiences through the thematic focus of their events in conjunction with the customer and visitor data from registration and ticket sales and with search behaviour in exhibitor or product directories, for example. These audiences are compliant with the EU General Data Protection regulation since permission must be given for use of personal data under the conditions of use. What makes Audience Marketing so successful then is the deployment of precise data, so-called first-party data, instead of less precise profile data.

The use of this data in programmatic advertising then follows the model of how large companies also handle their own customer data: the use of high-quality, precise target group data to address the target groups through suitable channels. Advertising is delivered according to the user and not according to the environment or site. The advantage for advertisers is that they reach their relevant public in a data-controlled way, regardless of the environment, they reduce scatter losses and ultimately they obtain both a result-optimised and a cost-optimised campaign.

Read here how Messe Frankfurt can support companies in addressing target groups in the B2B sector.


  • Digital Marketing
  • Digital Trends