Programmatic for B2B promises to help marketers reach niche audiences at a scale they could only dream of in the past. While today there are many sources of 3rd party aggregated data and branded data from publishers that can target specific audiences, very rarely do these take into consideration one very important point, which is context.
Context can take many forms. At the most basic, it can include the contextual environment that ads are going to run against. Some may argue that an advert appearing out of context may make it stand out, whilst true this doesn’t necessary mean this is a good thing. An advert appearing in front of a user when they’re in the wrong frame of mind can appear intrusive and unwanted. Context can also take the form of time of day, advertising a B2B product to a user in the early hours of the morning, may be less effective than during lunchtimes when they are in “work mode” but still with time on their hands, or perhaps running a campaign on a Sunday evening when your average professional is beginning to think about the week ahead.
When planning a B2B programmatic campaign, the majority of marketers will start with an “audience” first approach, e.g. who is it we want to target and influence with our messaging? However, although a focus on target audience is clearly important, a campaign has to consider context to be fully effective and deliver increased ROI.
In summary, not all B2B ad impressions are equal, even if they are targeting the same user. Thankfully, context and audience do not have to be mutually exclusive in B2B programmatic. Planning with both audience and context in mind can be more time and resource consuming, it requires extra thought and extra creativity, however, in the long run the rewards are likely to be higher, making campaigns more effective both in terms of branding and direct performance.