How to create winning B2B programmatic ad campaigns

By Constantine von Hoffman

Programmatic ad campaigns live and die on getting customer segmentation. We asked Annamarie Andrews, VP for global marketing at Cielo, an international talent acquisition partner, to walk us through two programmatic B2B ad campaigns — how they did it and what they learned along the way.

"Brand is the long game. If people don’t know who we are or what we do, they aren’t going to reply to our e-mail, send us an RFP or answer our phone call."

-Annamarie Andrews, VP at Cielo,

Moving to account-based marketing

For the global brand effort, Andrews and her team used 6Sense Targeting, which found “more than 160 accounts that we wanted to get our message and information through,’” says Andrews. “We never layered on buying intent or where they are in the buying process because frankly we didn’t care, we just wanted to get awareness and visibility.”

Constructing personas

“We always start with, ‘How can we connect the personal value that someone will gain from our new brand or our services and tailor our messaging there?’” Andrews says. This is part of a messaging matrix or framework for creating headlines, supporting copy, proof points for the initial creatives. “Consider everything from important keywords that are speaking to pain points that we know that these personas have down to color theory and color and shape of button to people versus iconography.”

Customer experience post ad

Then comes something equally important for both brand and demand campaigns: Determining what the experience should be when the person goes from an ad to a landing page, to an offer or to a piece of content. For the demand campaign, this requires further segmenting the audience into where their organization is in the buying process.

The ads were distributed on the Google display ad network, LinkedIn and a B2B network via 6Sense. “It takes and distributes our ads across a multitude of sites and depending on our personas or where we’re trying to target,” says Andrews.  After segmentation, the biggest draw of programmatic advertising is automation. Buying ad space, running the ad and more are done automatically. Andrews says this may make marketers think it’s a set it and forget it operation. Do that and you miss out on key data.

Don’t set it and forget it

“[For the brand campaign] our ultimate measure of success was, did we get this new brand in a new category in front of more than 160 organizations?” Andrews says. “We were able to deliver impressions for 98%.” About the demand campaign, Andrews says, “We’re now able to understand how these campaigns are influencing one opportunity. And not just winning an opportunity, we have seen really positive indicators with this hyper focused targeting on buying stage to deal velocity and increase in win rates.”

How well did they do?

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