The Do’s and Don’ts of Supplementing your Account Based Marketing Strategy with a Display Campaign

June 15, 2016

The Do’s and Don’ts of Supplementing your Account Based Marketing Strategy with a Display Campaign

We’re all familiar with the display ad. They’re nigh impossible to ignore for web users, whether they come in the form of a handy suggestion on Google’s sidebar after making a relevant query or an image of that pair of shoes you were looking at yesterday following you from Facebook to eBay. Their omnipresence means that they’re technically a form of “push” advertising, but any marketer using an account based marketing strategy knows that the “push” can reinforce the “pull.” These are our do’s and don’ts for running a display campaign that will benefit your ABM strategy, not hinder it.  If your curious about how your current ABM strategy stacks up.

Don’t: Target using Only Cookies

A lot of marketers base their display campaigns on cookies alone, but we’ve come a long way in data collection. This is no longer the best way to craft your campaign. In fact, cookies have quite a few limitations:

  • Using cookies rules out an entire population of prospects who might have not yet visited your website
  • It also doesn’t allow you to target the entirety of an account that you want to target since cookies are limited to the individual. This limits you from targeting entire buying groups and influencers
  • Cookies decay – people delete their data, sometimes on a regular basis
  • Mobile phones don’t use cookies

Do: Target Whole Accounts

Targeting accounts by IP is the more sophisticated, ABM version of display targeting. Each company has its own IP address, which provides you the ability to target entire accounts with your message instead of just the one person that visited your website. This way, you can use your display platform to target your ads to people who are decidedly in the market for your product or service, who have a high propensity to buy, or who “look like” your current best accounts. As a result, you can market to a smaller, but more highly-curated, list of prospects for a better conversion rate. This saves you money and improves your conversion rates.

Don’t: Consider CPC as the Be-All, End-All of Display Buying

It’s a common misconception that cost per mille (CPM) or cost per click (CPC) are directly correlated with how successful a keyword (or site) is going to be. You might assume that keywords with an expensive CPC are going to perform better because they get more traffic and your competitors are likely going after them, driving up the price. In truth, that’s a very B2C mindset to have. B2B buyers don’t typically just click on an ad and make a purchase. As you know, their buying journey is a lot more long-winded – they have to hold meetings and evaluate their budgets before making any decisions. In a B2B display campaign that’s designed to supplement an ABM campaign, it’s important to be precise with the keywords you choose – not necessarily just competitive. You wouldn’t want to waste valuable budget on expensive keywords that don’t necessarily go after the right accounts.

Do: Use Impressions to Influence Success

Experts on predictive data and B2B marketing know that you can learn a lot more from how many impressions an account is getting than from how many different people are clicking your ad. The more frequently an account is seeing and interacting with your content, the more likely they’re moving down the funnel – they’re looking for more information, which means they’re either in the consideration or decision-making phase. Therefore, this — your “account lift” metric, the metric that tells you how much interaction you’ve gained with an account since the start of your campaign — is going to be a lot more crucial than CPM, CPC, or CTR.

Don’t: Repeatedly Send the Same Content to the Same People

Adapting your display ads to your ABM campaign means getting a little more complex than you’re used to – you want to start nurturing your relationships with your prospects, not just bombarding them with information about your product. You want to make sure that they’re getting display ads that are relevant to their position in the buying journey – they don’t need to see 20 ads to generate awareness when they’re already well-aware. Tailoring ads to the content prospects are researching gives you the opportunity to serve the most relevant message based on the content being consumed.

Do: Use your Metrics to Know Which Display Ads to Push

In an ABM campaign, you always want to map your content to the buyer journey, and display is no different. If they’re visiting your site more often, start dropping in information that will help push them along in their consideration phase – this will help pull them down the funnel. If a top prospect’s activity on your site has suddenly dwindled, it could be time to change your display strategy or put more of the budget toward it to prevent losing a potential sale.

Don’t: Turn Off your Ads

The most important thing to know about using display ads when nurturing a lead is that it’s important that your ad is always on for the duration of their buying cycle. This helps you do a few things:

  • Collect more data about the prospect so that you can learn their engagement patterns and content preferences
  • Gain more general data and intelligence about buying signals by noticing trends across multiple accounts
  • Constantly keep your messaging in front of key stakeholders
  • Consistently influence the buyer’s experience

Some marketers are tempted to cycle their B2B display campaigns the way they might for other types of advertising, for example, changing campaigns up on a quarterly cycle. In an age where most buyers do their research online before buying, an always-on campaign is crucial…a campaign mapped to the buyer journey, not to your fiscal calendar.

Precision is the cornerstone of an effective ABM campaign. In spite of the nature of display ads – that they can reach lots of people and garner lots of website traffic – it’s important to resist the temptation to get your display ads in front of as many people as possible. Keep your head in the ABM game when crafting your display campaign and your conversion rate will reflect your efforts.

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