B2B Programmatic Advertising: Complete Guide for Marketers

B2B Programmatic Advertising: Complete Guide for Marketers

8 Min Read

The advertising world can be complicated—and for a B2B marketer even more so. One of the ways that B2B brands can effectively reach their audiences is through programmatic advertising. But what is B2B programmatic advertising and how does it work?

What Is B2B Programmatic Advertising?

B2B programmatic advertising is a technology-driven method of buying and selling digital ad spaces automatically, targeting specific business audiences based on defined criteria such as industry, job function, or company size, to drive more precise and effective business-to-business marketing campaigns.

How Does B2B Programmatic Advertising Work?

Every advertising process involves a buyer and a seller. And in the case of B2B digital advertising, those two respective parties are the advertiser seeking to serve their ads to specific audiences, and a publisher with the digital ad space to display those ads.

Here are the critical components of that automated process:

Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

A Demand-Side Platform (DSP) helps advertisers purchase digital ad inventory. In other words, it’s an automated buying platform that buys ad space through an ad exchange for a predetermined price. B2B advertisers who use a DSP can target audiences based on several factors (including geographic location, age, online behavior, and more), and serve those ads on channels such as mobile, digital, and Connected TV. 

Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

This is the other side of programmatic transactions from DSPs. A Supply-Side Platform (SSP) allows publishers to add their ad inventory to an ad exchange and set their floor price (the minimum the publisher is willing to sell their ad space for) before programmatic bidding takes place. 

Ad Exchange

An ad exchange is the trading floor where programmatic bidding takes place. Once a publisher makes its inventory available for purchase, the ad space will be sold to the highest bidder, just like in a real auction. The difference is that this all takes place through an algorithm, and B2B advertisers can purchase ad space in channels like display, mobile, Connected TV, and more.

Real-Time bidding (RTB)

Real-Time Bidding (RTB) is the automated auction place where ads are bought and sold between DSPs and SSPs. With real-time bidding, both sides set up their own parameters—DSPs determine what audiences they are interested in and how much they are willing to spend to reach them, and SSPs set the floor price for their inventory. This process all takes place in the time it takes for a web page to load. 

Private Marketplace (PMP)

As opposed to RTB, which is an open exchange, a private marketplace (also known as a private exchange) gives publishers more power over which advertisers can purchase their ad space. Instead, publishers will offer their inventory to a select few advertisers that have been determined ahead of time.

Programmatic Direct

With Programmatic Direct, publishers will make deals one-on-one with advertisers ahead of time to offer impressions at a guaranteed price. However, like other forms of B2B programmatic media buying, the actual process of serving ads to audiences is still conducted through an automated system.

Learn More: DSP, SSP, and Ad Exchange: What’s the Difference?

Benefits of B2B Programmatic Marketing

So now that you know a little more about this world, you may be wondering “Why is B2B programmatic advertising important, and is it effective?”

  • Precision Targeting: B2B programmatic media buying allows advertisers to reach specific business audiences, improving the chances of getting their message to the right decision-makers at the right companies.
  • Cost Efficiency: With programmatic buying, companies can buy only the ad impressions that meet their target criteria, reducing waste and optimizing spend.
  • Real-Time Metrics: Programmatic platforms offer immediate feedback on campaigns, enabling marketers to adjust strategies on the fly to maximize results.
  • Scale and Reach: Programmatic buying opens up a vast pool of ad inventory across many platforms and publishers, increasing the potential reach of a campaign.
  • Automation and Efficiency: Programmatic buying automates the ad buying process, making it more efficient, faster, and less prone to human error, freeing up more time for strategy and creative development.

Ultimately the reason why programmatic has made such an impact on the world of advertising, for B2B and B2C brands alike, is that it is extremely efficient. The old ways of advertising, which involved deals between humans that kept the speed of buying and selling inventory at a slow pace, are a thing of the past.

However, there is a caveat here—the lack of transparency involved in programmatic for B2B performance marketing has made some premium publishers wary of low-quality advertising ending up on their sites. That’s why some publishers choose to work with private marketplaces or programmatic direct. 

B2B Programmatic Advertising Strategies for Success

Now that you know a little more about B2B programmatic advertising, it’s time to put that knowledge to use. So we’ve put together some strategies and best practices that you need to know before diving headfirst into your B2B campaigns.

Understand Your Target Audience

B2B marketers must have a deep understanding of their audience’s needs, challenges, and behaviors, as this information will guide the creation of relevant and compelling programmatic campaigns and spearhead B2B retargeting efforts. Such understanding not only maximizes the effectiveness of ad spend but also fosters stronger customer relationships.

Set Clear Goals and KPIs

For a successful B2B programmatic advertising campaign, it’s essential to establish concrete goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) up front, such as lead generation or increased brand awareness. These will provide benchmarks for assessing the campaign’s success and make real-time adjustments more strategic and effective.

Choose the Right Tech Partners

Choosing the right technology partners, including DSPs, SSPs, and data management platforms, is crucial as these platforms’ capabilities directly influence the campaign’s reach, efficiency, and effectiveness. Choosing partners with robust targeting options and transparency features can ensure your campaigns are seen by the right audience and yield the desired outcomes.

Leverage Data

With programmatic advertising, the use of data goes beyond simple demographics; it’s about leveraging behavioral, contextual, and intent data to create highly personalized campaigns. This strategy can enhance targeting precision, boost engagement, and ultimately drive better conversion rates.

Dedicate a Budget for Testing

B2B marketers should allocate a portion of their budget to test different strategies, creatives, and platforms. This practice enables continuous learning and improvement, helps identify the most effective approaches, and optimizes the return on ad spend (ROAS).

Monitor for Ad Fraud

Vigilance against ad fraud is critical, as it can drain ad spend and distort campaign metrics. Marketers should use technology partners with strong fraud detection capabilities and monitor campaigns closely to ensure impressions are being served to real, relevant audiences.

Cross-Channel Integration

A well-rounded programmatic strategy integrates campaigns across multiple channels, such as display, social, mobile, and video. This approach ensures consistent messaging, expands reach, and creates multiple touchpoints with the target audience, improving the overall campaign effectiveness.

What Platforms Sell B2B Programmatic Display Ads?

There are a number of platforms that sell programmatic display ads. Here are a few of the top contenders:

  • SmartyAds
  • TubeMogul
  • MediaMath
  • Pubmatic

How Much Does B2B Programmatic Advertising Cost?

How much a B2B advertiser spends on programmatic advertising is ultimately up to them. Some ad inventory will be more expensive than others, and the more specific advertisers get about their audiences, the higher the cost.

Programmatic advertising for B2B, like B2C, is traded on a CPM (cost per 1,000) basis, so advertisers will have to make decisions ahead of time to determine what amount will lead to the greatest return on their spend.

B2B Programmatic Ads With Performance TV

So now you know all about the world of B2B programmatic advertising. But you may be wondering how to get started with MNTN Performance TV. Our platform works with SSPs (just like a DSP) to help your brand streamline the process of serving ads to B2B audiences. 

There are a number of benefits to working with MNTN Performance TV. Let’s explore a few of the top reasons that B2B brands might want to utilize our CTV platform.

  • Living Room Quality: Your audience can be extremely technical, and video advertising is the best way to both capture their attention and inform them about your product or service. And what video channel is better than the visually engaging environment of the TV screen? With MNTN Performance TV, we guarantee Living Room Quality, meaning your CTV ads will be shown on non-skippable inventory within premium, brand-safe networks, and only on the TV screen. 
  • Transparent Reporting: by working with MNTN Performance TV, you will have access to detailed reporting that breaks down your performance into the metrics you care about most. Unlike standard programmatic advertising, which can involve multiple ad exchanges and performance reports, with our TV Network Report you’ll know exactly where your impressions came from and how well your campaigns performed through each publisher. 
  • The Performance is Unmatched: One of the most effective ways to achieve your marketing KPIs is through campaigns run on Connected TV. Compared to advertiser campaigns that only included display, Performance TV campaigns drove ​​35% more conversions and had a 54% lower cost per acquisition. And thanks to Performance TV, those same advertisers were able to convert faster with 30% fewer impressions needed to drive a viewer to purchase.

B2B Programmatic Advertising: Final Thoughts

Ultimately, programmatic advertising for B2B has changed the game for advertisers looking to serve their ads to other businesses and professionals quickly for both demand generation and lead generation initiatives alike. And by working with a company like MNTN, your B2B brand can effectively reach those audiences within the premium environment of the television screen, all while ensuring transparency into the effectiveness of your campaigns.