According to a report published last month by Manhattan-based marketing agency Magna Global, marketers will spend more on digital ads than they will on TV ads in 2016 for the first time ever. The agency predicts the digital advertising industry will likely rake in nearly $66 billion in revenue in 2016, surpassing earlier predictions for the year.
B2B marketers know their digital ad spend is a crucial part of their budget for 2016, but planning creates unique challenges. In Part 1 of this series, we explored some methods B2B marketers can use for budget planning. We also looked at digital advertising strategy, but in Part 2, we’ll look at how things like martech and metrics can be factors when trying to make the most of your digital ad spend.
From Guesswork to Data-Driven Decisions
The data-driven marketer has invested in analytics tools to take the guesswork out of decision-making. As digital advertising spend increases, the need for these tools will also increase along with related services and new technologies. The task of analyzing valuable customer data and online traffic has brought about significant changes in martech. These these changes have impacted marketing organizations. For example, the creation of C-level positions such as Chief Data Officer have come about as a result of the importance of data analytics.
Chiefmartech.com, a marketing technology blog, projects that CMO’s and their teams will spend more than $32 million on marketing software by 2018. It all comes down to budget. Marketers only have a finite amount of money to invest. A new study by Walker Sands Communications, a Chicago-based marketing firm, revealed that 51 percent of marketers say their companies are among the last to adopt martech and 42 percent of marketers say that their organization’s current technology is not up-to-date, which hinders their ability to do their job.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of martech available for B2B marketers. The number of companies providing martech has doubled in the last two years. With so much martech available, smart B2B marketers will consider how technology will impact their digital ad spend. Advertising automation, for example, may provide a substantial ROI for your organization, but without the appropriate ad budget, your campaign could be derailed. Creating a line item for new technology, tools and services in your 2016 ad budget is something to seriously consider.
The Measure of Success
If digital advertising didn’t exist, how would you measure the success of your business? For years, B2B marketers have cited website traffic levels as a success metric. Although some marketers may be content to simply know how many people are window-shopping at their website, most B2B marketers know this metric doesn’t really drive SQL. It doesn’t provide the data that can accurately construct movement from the top of the funnel to the bottom so there’s no way to know if the web site visits actually converted, which is a clear success metric digitally or otherwise.
Whatever metrics you choose to determine success for your business should be evaluated against your digital efforts. For example, if you are measuring the length of time customers spend in each phase of your sales funnel, you can evaluate your digital ad spending by how well these investments improve the efficiency of your sales funnel.
Don’t get caught up in evaluating metrics that are exclusive to the realm of the digital domain that cannot immediately be translated into real world aspects of your business. A casual website visitor is no different than someone walking by the front of your business and casually glancing at your logo.
Embrace the Future
The future of B2B digital marketing looks promising for B2B marketers who are able to leverage the newest technologies against their digital advertising budgets and tie it all to real-world business results. As advertising automation continues to gain traction, B2B marketers will have personalization opportunities that can turn a simple metric like tracking the movement from the top of the funnel to the bottom into a smart use of digital advertising dollars.