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Naomi SherrySeptember 20, 20235 min read

The marketer's guide to maximizing B2B display advertising campaigns in 2023

Display advertising provides a powerful avenue to engage business buyers throughout their purchase journey. With the ability to precisely target prospects and track engagement, display ads enable B2B marketers to generate brand awareness, highly qualified leads, and new business opportunities. 

With an optimized, results-driven approach, B2B display advertising can play an important role in integrated campaigns that deliver impressive ROI and pipeline impact. 

Step 1: Set measurable goals and KPIs

Like any successful marketing program, the first step is to establish clear campaign goals and performance benchmarks. 

B2B display advertising can support objectives such as: 

  • Generating high-intent leads 
  • Increasing website traffic 
  • Raising brand awareness 
  • Retargeting site visitors 
  • Promoting gated content offers 
  • Supporting launches and events 

Once you define the primary goal, determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) you will track, such as: 

  • Click-through-rate (CTR) 
  • Cost per click (CPC) 
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) 
  • Conversions and conversion rate 
  • Pipeline influenced by display 
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS) 
  • Reach 
  • Impressions 

Setting specific goals and quantifiable KPIs provides focus for your program and allows proper measurement of display impact. As you optimize, concentrate on the metrics that matter most based on your targets. 

Step 2: Leverage intent and account data to build your audience

One of the biggest advantages of digital advertising is the ability to reach a highly targeted audience. To maximize the impact of your B2B display campaigns, you need to identify and understand your best prospects. 

Leverage first and third-party data to build detailed audience profiles. Useful sources include: 

  • First-party CRM data - Look at attributes of current customers like title, industry, company size to guide your targeting. 
  • Intent data - Intent monitoring helps you track online activity to pinpoint accounts and individuals researching topics related to your offerings. 
  • Firmographic data - Enrich your audience data with business details like employee count, revenue, and location data. Work with a reputable data partner to append data and fill in any gaps. 

Drilling into these rich data signals ensures your ads reach those most likely to convert, while excluding irrelevant traffic. Ongoing audience segmentation and expansion will improve the precision of your efforts. 

Step 3: Identify the best B2B display advertising placements

In programmatic advertising, your ads can run across a vast network of sites, apps, and platforms. But even with perfect audience targeting, if your ads appear in the wrong environments, you won’t hit your performance goals. 

Conduct careful analysis to determine which placements truly engage your audience. Consider: 

  • On-site analytics - See which sites and referrers drive qualified traffic to your site. Prioritize those as placements. 
  • Contextual relevance - Target sites and pages relevant to your keywords and topics. 
  • Industry and vertical - Identify publications, communities, and platforms your audience uses for staying informed. 
  • Competitive analysis - See where competitors are advertising to uncover viable placements. 

Continually assess performance by placement and reallocate budget to those driving the highest value. Delivery across multiple geotargeted placements also allows you to reach buyers locally and nationwide.

Step 4: Develop compelling display ad creatives

Your visuals and copy make or break display performance. Some best practices for optimizing creatives: 

  • Focus on benefits - Clearly explain what the customer will gain. 
  • Incorporate emotional triggers - Appeal to pain points and aspirations. 
  • Use striking, relevant images - Represent your message visually. 
  • Keep text brief - Usually 125 characters or less. 
  • Leverage dynamic elements - Insert the viewer’s name or company for personalization. 
  • Highlight offers and CTAs - Give viewers a specific action. 
  • Test different formats - Try variations beyond standard IAB units (typically sized at 728×90, 300×250 and 160×600). 

Develop 3-4 ad variations as a starting point for testing. Continuously experiment with images, headlines, layouts, calls-to-action, and targeting to improve results.

Step 5: Drive clicks to high-converting landing experiences

Where you send traffic after they click greatly affects display ROI. Visitors should land on pages tailored to your objectives. 

  • Lead gen - Send to specialized landing pages with offers. 
  • Brand awareness - Link to relevant home pages, product pages or thought leadership content. 
  • Content promotion - Drive to gated or interactive asset pages. 

Regardless of goal, optimize landing pages for conversions: 

  • Relevance - Align messaging with the ad. 
  • Prominent CTAs - Make your desired action clear. 
  • Minimal distractions - Remove anything competing with your goal. 
  • Fast load speed - Accelerate with caching and optimization. 

Continuous landing page testing will uncover the designs and offers that convert best.

Step 6: Retarget engaged visitors

Display retargeting serves ads to people who previously interacted with you, including: 

  • Website visitors 
  • Content consumers 
  • Email engagers 
  • Clickers of previous ads 
  • Existing contacts 
  • Content syndication leads 

Retargeting keeps your brand top of mind, nudging prospects through the purchase process. 

Use special offers, personalized messaging, and content tailored to their stage. Coordinate retargeting across other platforms, like LinkedIn, for multi-touch nurturing.

Step 7: Continuously optimize campaigns based on performance

The key to display success is constantly monitoring data and testing improvements. Optimization areas include: 

  • Audience segments 
  • Placements 
  • Creatives 
  • Landing pages 
  • Ad formats – banners, native, video 
  • Devices and platforms 

Regularly conduct A/B tests by running variations against each other. Over time, you will uncover what resonates best with your audience.

Step 8: Integrate display ads with your broader B2B marketing efforts

B2B display advertising provides another powerful channel to incorporate within your marketing efforts. Ways to connect display: 

  • CRM - Build audiences, pass leads, track pipeline influenced. 
  • ABM - Engage target accounts with personalized, account-based messaging. 
  • Website – Retarget site visitors, promote content. 
  • Paid search – Expand reach, uncover new keywords. 
  • Socialmedia – Coordinate ad campaigns for consistency. 
  • Marketing automation - Nurture prospects via tailored content. 

With the right integrations, display advertising lifts results across all of your demand gen and sales enablement programs.

The future of B2B display advertising

Looking ahead, expect B2B display tactics and technology to continue advancing. We can expect greater personalization through machine learning, expanded in-app and connected TV advertising, and new shoppable ad formats. 

As display environments get more sophisticated, focus on nimbleness, testing, and coordination across the martech stack to maximize value. When executed strategically, data-driven display advertising will remain a growth driver for B2B brands.

Key takeaways

To recap, here are the key steps for planning and optimizing successful B2B display advertising campaigns: 

  1. Set specific campaign goals and performance KPIs. 
  2. Leverage intent, firmographic and contact data to build your audience. 
  3. Identify placements that engage your audience. 
  4. Develop compelling, benefit-driven creatives. 
  5. Send traffic to high-converting landing pages. 
  6. Retarget engaged visitors across channels. 
  7. Continuously test and optimize based on data. 
  8. Integrate display with your broader B2B martech stack. 

By following this strategic, metrics-driven approach, your next display campaign is sure to deliver impressive results. With the ability to scale targeted reach, display advertising represents a high-ROI channel for acquiring and nurturing B2B leads.


Naomi Sherry

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