Have We Reached the Tipping Point for B2B Programmatic?

Luke Adkins, Programmatic Media Associate

Now that we’ve had some time for the news about LinkedIn going programmatic to set in, it’s time to think about what this means for the greater B2B landscape. It’s no news that B2B publishers are behind when it comes to adopting programmatic, but they are certainly feeling the pressure now. LinkedIn opening its historically unavailable B2B inventory to demand side platforms and agency trading desks is a huge contributor. They are arguably one of the biggest “B2B” publishers to make this move, and it begs the question: Is this the tipping point for B2B programmatic?


Reaching niche audiences online and at scale has always been B2B marketers’ biggest challenge. In order to benefit from the targeting capabilities programmatic technology offers, B2B advertisers have had to turn to consumer facing sites in order to find enough inventory. A recent Kantar Media & Connectiv programmatic study revealed that 85% of B2B buyers are forced to target audiences through a mix of B2B and B2C sites in order to scale their campaigns.


These marketers are much more willing to pay a premium price for the right audiences, meaning publishers have a huge opportunity to start capitalizing on their premium inventory and growing their ad revenue. 63% of media planners and buyers execute B2B campaigns programmatically, and 32% of those surveyed buy programmatically “always or often.” These numbers are higher on the B2C side, but let's not forget that we are still in the infancy of programmatic and have seen significant growth year over year across all media.


Not only is the number of advertisers going programmatic increasing, but so are their budgets. From the same survey, half of those who had programmatic included in their 2015 digital advertising budgets anticipate to increase their programmatic budgets alone by 11% on average.


“For us here at DWA, we’re excited about the momentum building behind B2B programmatic. Huge B2B pubs, like LinkedIn, pull a lot of weight in our space and will encourage [or force] similar publishers to make the same move,” says Brian Jones, VP of Innovation & Intent Marketing for DWA.

Our clients are consistently interested in leveraging programmatic within their media buys, but we are not immune to the limitations of B2B programmatic. There just isn’t that much inventory available yet, and B2B publishers are not offering the highly valued targeting options that B2C has been able to achieve. More publishers will need to follow LinkedIn’s lead for B2B programmatic to hit its tipping point, but we are certainly seeing it start to happen. We can only hope that it's sooner rather than later.