Three Reasons I’m Excited about Account-Based Advertising

Several years ago, if you asked me about display advertising, I would have told you it was low on the list of my favorite lead generation strategies. Why? It was a spray-and-pray approach to marketing. Not at all well-targeted. Inefficient. Unpredictable in terms of lead quality.

That’s all changed. Today, with some new display advertising platforms, you can target ads at a specific person, a job title, a company, or a group of titles within a target industry. It’s gone from a highly inefficient activity to a laser-focused strategy that is being used by marketers who have embraced Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategies. I’ve recently heard the term called “Account-Based Advertising” or ABA being applied to this type of display advertising, so I’ll use that term in this article.

There are many reasons to be excited about Account-Based Advertising, but here are three key ones.

  1. Supporting Sales in New Opportunities
  2. More Targeted Retargeting
  3. Create Ads for Target Segments

1. Supporting Sales in New Opportunities

Consider this situation: One of your salespersons has just had a great meeting with the CIO at Acme Widget Company. He hasn’t met with anyone else in the company yet, but based on experience, he knows that he will eventually need to meet with the VP of Manufacturing, the COO, the head of purchasing, the CFO and possibly the CEO to close the deal. How can targeted display advertising be used to help the salesperson?

Marketing could launch a display ad campaign aimed at these specific titles in these companies. In fact, every time a salesperson creates a new opportunity in CRM, marketing could automatically create a campaign targeting the job titles at that company who are routinely involved in the purchase decision for the product or service. An easy way to handle this would be to extract the open opportunities in CRM each month and use this list to create a custom audience to target with display ads.

The goal would be to generate awareness of your brand among the decisions makers at the companies where you have open opportunities. Since each of the decision makers would start to see your ads across multiple websites, they might conclude that your company is much larger than it actually is. They would have no idea that you’ve been targeting your ads only at them.

In our experience, sales teams absolutely love this approach. Who says sales and marketing can’t get along?

2. More Targeted Retargeting

Retargeting, or remarketing, has been around for a while now and it’s great. You create a target audience for display advertising based on people who have visited your website. But what if you could be more targeted with these ads?

Your website gets visited by all sorts of people who are not your ideal target buyer profile. Examples of people you might not want to target are: employees, partners, competitors, job seekers, and people outside your geographic service areas. Why waste money serving up ads to these people?

Some display ad platforms allow you to zero in on just the website visitors who fit your target buyer profile. You can target specific industries, company sizes, job titles, and more. Using this approach, you know that you are only paying to serve ads to your ideal target buyers. You could create a unique ad that is only served to people with finance titles who have visited your website. How cool is that?

3. Specific Ads for Specific Segments

With this new found control, we can apply best practices from email marketing to display advertising. In email marketing, we know that tailoring emails to specific target segments, such as specific job titles or industries, result in better open and click-through rates. Now you can serve display ads designed for a particular job title or industry. True, you always could design ads aimed at a particular title or industry, but in the past you had to show the ad to everybody (and pay for a much larger audience size). Now you can serve the ad to just that industry or job title. It’s so much more cost effective!

Taking this idea one step further, target segments might be top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel leads. You could serve a progression of ads to each segment of your funnel. Each ad could offer content aimed at early, middle and late stages of the buyer’s journey. You can run lead nurturing campaigns using ABA.

Account-Based Marketing

With targeted display advertising, you can target a short list of job titles at a short list of target companies. Sounds like ABM, right? This technology is perfect for ABM. Most companies offering this technology are going to market using Account-Based Marketing or Account-Based Advertising messaging.

While ABM is hot in 2017, targeted display advertising technologies can be used even if you haven’t embraced ABM. These technologies enable targeted campaigns, just like email. Your display ads can offer educational content, so display advertising can simply be another channel for reaching your target buyers. The great thing is, however, that you don’t have to know their names or email addresses. You can target unknown visitors to your website (retargeting). You can target people with specific job titles at a list of target companies.

Some of the Players in the ABA Market

Who are some of the technology providers in this space? Most of the traditional display advertising companies do not offer the capabilities that I’ve described in this article. Here are some companies that can do what I’ve described.

  • AdDaptive Intelligence
  • Choozle
  • Demandbase
  • Kwanzoo
  • ListenLoop
  • Terminus

These companies employ different pricing models. Some charge two fees: one to use their platform and a separate fee for the ad spend. Others combine these two into a single fee. Some of them require a minimum monthly ad spend. Make sure to ask about their pricing early in your evaluation process.

Contact Espresso if you need help selecting the best ABA platform for your needs. We’d be happy to create ads and manage the entire ad execution process for you.