Dissecting & Optimising The Best-In-Class TOFU B2B Media Mix (April 2023 stats)

What are B2B marketers doing to drive their Top of Funnel (TOFU) marketing mix in 2023? According to the latest research from Insider intelligence, it's squarely into the world of social media. As you can see on the below graphic, according to B2B marketers in the USA, as of April 2023, 50% felt that social contributes the most to their TOFU goals. The traditional go-to channels of search, SEO and content have fallen down the pecking order, all of which got me thinking. What are the most effective top of funnel tactics in mid-2023?

At FunnelFuel, we're pretty ambivalent to the source of paid media and cary no bias - indeed we measure the performance of the full funnel across a diverse range of B2B clients, giving us a level of insight which is largely unmatched. We help clients measure a LOT of social media marketing, alongside plenty of the other big channels - paid search, programmatic, SEO, television, audio, Digital out of Home (DooH) and many more.

My personal view is that the B2B marketers are missing a trick with their skewed mix. I note that the 22% who answered ABM are going to fall into the below wheelhouse, as indeed can the slightly vague 'video' 30%, but essentially targeted display advertising outside of social doesn't feature in the list. However, a well-executed programmatic advertising approach, leveraging Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and contextual targeting, has emerged as a highly effective and impactful tactic for inserting a brand into the research journey of B2B buyers. Now my honest absolute best guess on the above data, is that the TOFU goals have not been tightly defined enough, and without knowing the direction of the TOFU goals, it is hard to determine how good any tactic is versus another, but when you have the chance to use a tactic which 'jumps the gun' by getting in front of prospects at the very start. of their research journey, in a sector which has very long sales cycles, then it cannot be overlooked.

Lets delve into the evidence supporting the notion that programmatic advertising can be one of the most efficient top-of-funnel tactic for B2B marketers.

  1. B2B Marketers' Allocation of Resources: According to research conducted by Insider Intelligence, B2B marketers are increasingly investing in upper-funnel programmatic marketing tactics to drive brand awareness and engage potential buyers. This includes allocating a significant portion of their budgets to social media advertising, content marketing, influencer marketing, and display advertising.
  2. The Rise of Programmatic Advertising: Programmatic advertising has gained immense popularity in recent years, transforming the way B2B marketers approach paid media campaigns. With programmatic, marketers can leverage data-driven automation to reach highly targeted audiences at scale, optimising ad placements and budgets in real-time.
  3. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Approach: ABM has revolutionised B2B marketing strategies by focusing efforts on specific high-value accounts. By aligning programmatic advertising with ABM tactics, B2B marketers can target decision-makers and key stakeholders within their target accounts. This approach ensures that marketing efforts are directed towards the most relevant and influential audience, enhancing the effectiveness of top-of-funnel campaigns.
  4. Contextual Targeting: Contextual targeting allows advertisers to deliver relevant ads based on the content and context of the websites being visited by potential buyers. By aligning programmatic campaigns with contextual targeting, B2B marketers can insert their brand into the research journey of their target audience, reaching them at the right moment with personalised messages. This strategy enhances brand visibility, establishes credibility, and increases the likelihood of driving engagement and conversions.
  5. Supporting Evidence and Industry Reports: Several industry reports and studies support the effectiveness of programmatic advertising in driving top-of-funnel campaigns:
    1. According to a study by eMarketer (source: [2]), programmatic display advertising spending in the B2B sector is projected to reach significant heights in the coming years, indicating the growing confidence and success of this approach.
    2. A report by Dun & Bradstreet reveals that B2B marketers employing ABM strategies have experienced higher levels of customer engagement, improved lead quality, and increased marketing ROI.
    3. A study by Demandbase highlights that ABM-focused programmatic advertising generates higher click-through rates and greater engagement, leading to increased conversions and revenue.

SO what could a best in class Top of Funnel B2B paid media mix look like?

Besides what we saw in the above graphic, I'd venture that these 5 tactics have a lot to offer B2B marketers:

  1. Harnessing the Power of Targeted Programmatic Advertising: Targeted programmatic advertising, powered by advanced data-driven automation, has revolutionised the way B2B brands reach and engage their audiences. By utilising programmatic technology, brands can leverage comprehensive data insights to deliver personalised messages at scale, optimising ad placements and maximising campaign performance.
  2. Strategic Account-Based Marketing (ABM): ABM has emerged as a game-changing approach for B2B marketers. By aligning programmatic advertising with ABM strategies, leading brands can target high-value accounts and key decision-makers. This targeted approach ensures that ad placements are precisely tailored to reach the most influential stakeholders in the research journey, enhancing brand visibility and generating higher-quality leads.
  3. Contextual Targeting and Content Alignment: Contextual targeting allows B2B brands to deliver relevant ads based on the content and context of websites visited by their target audience. By aligning programmatic campaigns with contextual targeting and content alignment, brands can interject their messaging seamlessly into the research journey. This strategy enables them to position themselves as thought leaders and provide valuable insights to potential buyers at critical decision-making stages.
  4. Leveraging First-Party Data: Leading B2B brands understand the value of first-party data and use it to fuel their programmatic advertising campaigns. By utilising their own customer data and behavior insights, brands can precisely target prospects who align with their ideal customer profiles. This personalized approach helps increase relevancy, engagement, and conversion rates.
  5. Account-Based Retargeting: Account-based retargeting is an advanced tactic that further enhances the effectiveness of programmatic advertising. By tailoring ad content specifically for target accounts, brands can re-engage and nurture prospects who have already shown interest. This personalised retargeting strategy helps keep the brand top-of-mind during the research journey, driving higher conversion rates. Yes this may be associated with lower funnel activity, but it doesn't take much lateral thinking to slot in at the top of funnel either.
  6. Advanced Measurement, segmentation and Analytics: To optimise top-of-funnel paid media strategies, B2B brands rely on advanced measurement and analytics tools. By monitoring key metrics, such as impressions, click-through rates, lands, on-site goals and conversions, brands gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns. This data-driven approach allows for continuous optimisation and ensures that resources are allocated to the most impactful channels and messages

Conclusion: As B2B marketers strive to maximise the impact of their top-of-funnel campaigns, programmatic advertising, coupled with ABM and contextual targeting, emerges as a powerful strategy. By leveraging programmatic technology, B2B marketers can efficiently insert their brand into the research journey of potential buyers, capturing their attention and establishing meaningful connections. The evidence and industry reports discussed in this blog post demonstrate the effectiveness of programmatic advertising as the most efficient top-of-funnel tactic for B2B marketers. By adopting this approach, businesses can drive brand awareness, engage their target audience, and ultimately accelerate their growth in the dynamic B2B marketplace.



How B2B Marketers Can Leverage Content Marketing Strategies for Success

Content marketing has become an essential part of any successful B2B marketing strategy. From blogs to videos to podcasts, content marketing helps you to capture the attention of your target audience, build brand awareness, and drive conversions. But how can B2B marketers make the most of content marketing strategies? In this blog post, we'll explore the top tips and tricks for leveraging content marketing for success.

Understanding B2B Content Marketing Strategies

B2B content marketing is an effective way to build relationships with your target customers and present them with tailored offers related to their needs. It is all about creating relevant, engaging and useful content, such as blogs, videos, white papers and case studies, that offer valuable insight and information about your specific industry or product. Contextual advertising can then be used to target these customers with tailored offers at different stages of the buying journey. By combining content marketing with contextual advertising, businesses can effectively build relationships with their target customers and ensure they are presented with the right offer at the right time.

Contextual advertising is one of the most important strategies for B2B content marketing as it helps you reach an audience that may not be familiar with your product or services, yet is likely interested in what you have to offer and can help you spread your message to new markets Meanwhile, native advertising is a key element of contextual advertising and a great tool for B2B content marketing. It enables you to reach an audience not currently familiar with your products or services in an organic and native way that is tailored to their interests. This gives you the opportunity to capture their attention and introduce them to your company and its message. Thus, native advertising is an invaluable tool for B2B content marketers as it helps them spread their message to new markets.

Benefits of a Comprehensive B2B Content Marketing Plan

A comprehensive content marketing plan is essential for any business-to-business (B2B) company looking to maximise their reach and engagement. It may include actions such as crafting a solid content strategy, creating targeted content, distributing it through multiple channels, and using contextual advertising to ensure it reaches the right people. Additionally, native advertising in the form of sponsored content should be leveraged to further drive engagement and reach, providing native experiences that generate maximum impact with minimal disruption. Integrating native advertising into a B2b content marketing plan is an effective way to gain further exposure and increase click-through rates, enabling businesses to reach their desired target audience in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Content marketing plans can help to nurture leads, turn prospects into customers, and build relationships with existing customers. They also provide businesses with an opportunity to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry by providing valuable content that engages and educates their target audience. B2b content marketing plans can be further enhanced by combining them with contextual advertising to generate more leads and traffic to your website. Contextual advertising is a form of targeted online advertising that is tailored to a user’s web search history, interests, and other behavior. This type of marketing allows you to target potential customers who are looking for information relevant to your business, increasing the chances of conversion into sales. With the right combination of b2b content marketing and contextual advertising, businesses can drive engagement and conversions more effectively than ever before.

By implementing a well-crafted content marketing plan, B2B companies can create memorable experiences for current and potential customers while generating more qualified leads and increasing sales over time. Additionally, they can use contextual advertising to reach the exact target audience they are trying to engage with Next, it is important to understand the advantages of implementing a well-crafted content marketing plan and contextual advertising for B2b companies. Content marketing has the potential to create memorable experiences for current and potential customers while generating more qualified leads that can lead to increased sales. Contextual advertising can be used as an effective tool to reach the exact target audience a B2b company is trying to engage with. By understanding how these methods can work together, B2b companies can leverage them to increase their success in the marketplace.

Crafting Contextual B2B Advertisements

Crafting effective contextual B2B advertisements starts with clearly defining the audience you’re targeting. By focusing on the needs of your target audience, you can tailor your message to meet their unique interests and create an ad that works. When you understand who your intended audience is, you can craft an advertisement that resonates with them and further optimises the success of your content marketing strategy. Additionally, effective contextual B2B advertisements should be optimised for search engines which can be done by using relevant keywords in the ad’s copy. Strategically incorporating seo-friendly keywords into you ad’s copy will help drive traffic to your website, promoting the success of your B2B business.

To successfully reach your target audience, determine the channels and platforms they use most often and design the ad content to accommodate each platform. This will help ensure that your advertisement is presented in the most appropriate way, allowing it to be more impactful and memorable. By making use of b2b content marketing through contextual advertising, you can deliver the right message to the right people and maximise your return on investment. This can be achieved by researching your target audience, understanding their interests and creating content that resonates with them. Doing so will help capture their attention and keep them engaged, thus helping to drive conversions.

Leverage analytics tools to gauge how well your advertisement performs with its intended audience and make adjustments as necessary. By regularly monitoring how effective your advertisement is, you can adapt it to stay relevant and maximise its impact on potential customers Also, it is important to leverage analytics tools to not only measure the success of your b2b content marketing and contextual advertising but to also make necessary adjustments. Regularly monitoring the performance of your advertisement can help you keep it relevant and increase its effectiveness with potential customers. By using analytics tools to track how well campaigns are performing, you can maximise the impact of your b2b content marketing and contextual advertising.

Analysing and Optimising Your B2B Content Marketing Results

Analysing the performance of your content marketing efforts can be an invaluable tool in optimising the success of your strategies. For example, you can use analytics to track how many unique visitors viewed certain pieces of content, or which pieces of content elicited more engagement from readers. Additionally, contextual advertising campaigns can provide deep insights as to how well your content is performing, as you can use analytics to pinpoint where audiences are coming from and what interests them most. Understanding viewership habits can help you customise and tailor your content to ensure it resonates with customers in the most effective manner. Leveraging a combination of analytics and contextual advertising can help you scale your b2b content marketing efforts for maximum impact.

Once you have identified which content is garnering the most attention, you can start to refine and optimise your content marketing efforts to focus on topics and subject matter that your consumers are particularly engaged with. Additionally, you can use contextual advertising to target those same users with relevant content or offers in order to further drive engagement and conversions In conclusion, b2b content marketing is a great way to drive engagement and conversions. By understanding the topics and subject matter that your customers are interested in through SEO and analytics, you can refine your content marketing strategies to increase the reach and engagement of your content. Additionally, contextual advertising can be used to target those same customers with relevant offers and content. This will help you further increase engagement and conversions from your b2b content marketing efforts. 

To Conclude

In conclusion, content marketing is an essential part of any successful B2B marketing strategy. To make the most of it, B2B marketers should focus on creating high-quality content that meets the needs of their target audience and establishing an ongoing process for creating and curating content that resonates with their readers. By leveraging the power of content marketing, B2B marketers can build brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales.