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Naomi SherryDecember 13, 20235 min read

Getting results: Best practices for B2B programmatic marketing

Programmatic display advertising provides a powerful opportunity for B2B marketers to reach targeted audiences and drive results. By following some key best practices around targeting, optimization, creative, and more, you can get the most out of your programmatic campaigns. In this guide, we’ll lay out some proven tactics to boost your programmatic performance.

Leverage intent data for laser-focused targeting

One of the biggest advantages of programmatic advertising is the ability to zero in on very specific audiences using intent data. Instead of just targeting by demographics, intent data allows you to find users demonstrating active interest in topics related to your offering. This could include things like relevant keyword searches, site visits, content downloads, engagement on social media, and more.

Intent data taps into the self-identified context behind user actions. So rather than guessing what types of users might be in-market for your products, you can reach ones actually signaling purchase intent. This allows your ads to reach prospects when they’re most receptive to your message and actively researching related solutions.

You can work with specialized intent data providers to understand and capture various tiers of user intent. On the lower end, early-stage research behavior indicates a user is entering a new consideration phase. Mid-funnel intent reflects engagement with content and options in your product domain. And late-stage, bottom-funnel signals like pricing searches show users are nearly sales-ready. Layering in intent data throughout the purchase journey allows your ads to connect with prospects at the right times and stages.

Get hyperlocal with location-based targeting

In addition to drilling down on intent, programmatic advertising empowers marketers to target very specific geographic radiuses. This capability provides major upside for companies marketing services to local areas. Instead of broadly targeting a region or city, you can pinpoint users within extremely precise location coordinates – even down to the street or neighborhood level in some cases.

This hyper-local targeting works exceptionally well for businesses focused on driving in-person actions. Examples include:

  • Regional professional service providers
  • Retail stores marketing to surrounding areas
  • Companies promoting upcoming events to locals

And many more vertically-focused companies can benefit. Location data produces qualified traffic more inclined to visit brick-and-mortar locations or schedule appointments for local services. Geo-targeted programmatic campaigns allow you to catch the eye of prospects when they’re already nearby where you do business.

Apply frequency caps to avoid ad fatigue

On the flip side, showing the same users your ads over and over can lead to fatigue. This causes prospects to tune out your message. Optimize your programmatic advertising with frequency caps that limit how often a user sees a specific ad within a defined time frame.

Typically measured increments include:

  • Hourly caps – Limits views per hour
  • Daily caps – Limits views per day
  • Weekly caps – Limits views per week
  • Monthly caps – Limits views per month

Setting intelligent frequency caps gives you more control over the user experience. It ensures users see enough impressions for your campaign to resonate, without going overboard. This makes the most efficient use of your media budget and avoids oversaturating users to the point they ignore your ads altogether.

Balancing reach and frequency

Setting frequency caps may require some testing and optimization. You want prospects to see your ads enough times to recognize your brand and absorb key messaging. But overdoing frequency eventually has diminishing returns and risks driving users away.

There’s a lot of factors that go into determining the ideal frequency cap levels. Some things to think about include:

  • Product complexity – Education-heavy offerings require more exposures
  • Campaign length – More impressions needed for shorter flights
  • Audience sophistication – Tech-savvy users may recognize repeat ads faster

A general rule of thumb is to start with a frequency cap allowing roughly 3-5 impressions per user over 7 days. Monitor performance at those levels, and adjust caps accordingly if you see engagement dropping due to fatigue.

Monitor performance signals to continuously optimize

Unlike conventional “set it and forget it” advertising, the beauty of programmatic is the ability to access real-time performance data and adjust on the fly. Analyze metrics like:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Engagement rate
  • Conversions
  • Frequency distribution
  • Audience demographic breakdowns
  • Creative performance

And more. Dig into this data to unlock powerful insights about what’s working best within your campaigns. Based on that performance, you can identify high-performing combinations of:

  • Audience segments
  • Placements/websites
  • Geos
  • Dayparts
  • Creative styles
  • Ad sizes
  • And other variables

Once you detect what factors are driving your best results, shift additional budget toward those areas to capitalize. Similarly, dial back or pause elements producing lackluster performance.

This agile, data-driven optimization approach allows you to maximize the return from your programmatic investment. You squeeze more juice from what’s working well, while cutting what’s not. Using machine learning, today’s programmatic platforms can even automate testing and optimization toward better outcomes. The key is closely monitoring signals and iterating based on what the data says works.

Stand out with engaging visuals and copy

In the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it world of display advertising, creative assets must make an immediate visual impact and communicate a compelling value proposition. Simply put, creative can make or break the performance of a programmatic campaign.

To stand out, employ engaging graphics, high-quality photography, video, bold colors, and other elements that grab user attention. Conduct A/B testing of different visual styles to determine what your audience best responds to.

Pair visuals with succinct, benefit-driven copy tailored to your audience’s needs and pain points. Call out the specific utility a prospect would gain from your offering to pique their interest. Address how you can solve struggles related to their role.

Testing a variety of copy tones, cadences, and value propositions will indicate what motivates user actions. The best programmatic advertisers constantly evaluate creative performance and refine approaches over time.

Looking forward

Follow these tips outlined above, and you’ll be well on your way to extracting maximum value from programmatic display advertising. By narrowing in on interested prospects with intent data, geo-targeting local audiences, optimizing based on real-time performance signals, capping frequency, and refining compelling creative, you can drive quality conversions.

Monitor your programmatic campaigns vigilantly, dig into the data, iterate quickly, and scale what’s most effective. Before long, you’ll have high-precision machine humming along to deliver exceptional outcomes and substantial ROI.


Naomi Sherry

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