Advertisers have long understood the potency of television (TV) as a brand-building medium for consumer products. However, business-to-business advertisers typically kept their distance, and for good reason. If you are like most B2B advertisers, you don’t have the luxury of the large media budgets and soft accountabilities afforded consumer brands. With no way to target niche audiences, traditional TV has simply been too expensive and too wasteful to be considered viable in the B2B marketing mix.

The cheese has moved, however. And this is good news for B2B marketers.

Massive shifts in TV delivery, coupled with the technological innovation of streaming internet TV — known as Connected TV (CTV) — presents B2B marketers with a powerful new weapon in the integrated toolbox.  

If you are a B2B advertiser, here’s why connected TV advertising could make sense for you:

The Growth of CTV
There can be no better illustration of how the cheese has moved than what is going on in today’s TV landscape. More than 60% of US households today have cut the cord. Cord-cutting is when people stop getting TV from a traditional cable or satellite provider like Comcast or Dish Network. Connected TV accesses programs using well-known apps like Hulu, Sling TV and Netflix or gaming consoles like X-Box. CTV programming may be streamed to a traditional TV, phone, computer, tablet game set and more — hence the concept of “TV everywhere.”

Precision Targeting
TV advertisers buying traditional media through a cable network or satellite offering (aka linear TV) have to decide if they wish to buy the entire audience of a media outlet, or a specific program. Not so with connected TV advertising. With CTV, B2B marketers can use their own data (demographic, firmographic and psychographic) to create highly customized audiences. Delivering messages to your target customers — and them only — eliminates the huge numbers of non-relevant audience members you would have to pay for with a traditional linear TV buy. Creating lookalike audiences from current data broadens reach to prospective customers. Even better, as analytics and more data points are fed into the platform, the target audience is optimized toward conversions.

Differentiation

Media is a message. How would you feel about your biggest competitor if their ad popped up on TV after dinner tonight? What impression would this competitor make on your customer? Being seen in an unexpected, high-profile media captures attention and can create a positive perception for your brand and its services. While people are used to seeing ads on TV, they are not used to seeing niche B2B players from the industries they work in show up on television. The novelty factor has value far beyond the advertisement itself.

An Ideal Environment for Advertising

Studies show that viewers who watch programming through apps like Hulu and other free programming services are willing to watch advertisements even more so than those who watch traditional TV. Half of the respondents in the study said they felt that watching ads was a fair value exchange. Respondents also rated the ads they are exposed to on CTV as “less annoying” than those on normal television. All of which adds up to a better advertising environment for the B2B advertiser.

Gen Z and Millennials Love CTV

If a younger demographic is important to your business, then CTV is the place to be. Studies show those under 50 love the content on YouTubeTV, Hulu and Apple TV. 67% are more likely to be in a CTV-only house and 25% report that they don’t even have pay for their streaming service, therefore their viewing is through advertising-supported options only. These numbers continue to rise as CTV program providers continue creating more and more content.

Chase the Audience, Not the Media

Instead of buying each media outlet (e.g., channel 3, 5 or 9) separately, connected TV advertising delivers based on the audience. If you’re targeting CEOs of industrial companies with revenue of $100 million+, ads will be served to that target audience and none other. The traditional waste associated with Linear TV virtually disappears since you are programmatically buying a target audience rather than the entire audience available through any single media outlet.

Total Attribution

Because other programmatic channels are also connected (audio, display, apps, etc.), every screen can be targeted, and re-targeted. Tracking performance across screen can give you a better understanding of your target’s typical path to purchase, allowing you to more effectively attribute results to the budgets placed, and help optimize your programs over time (e.g., frequency, day-part, format, etc.). Imagine having the ability to retarget a recent visitor to your website with a TV spot on her favorite show. Cross-channel and cross-device targeting make CTV even more attractive to the business advertiser. 

Selective to the Individual

It might seem hard to believe that next door neighbors watching the same channel at the exact same time can be served a different ad based on their “professional” profile, but this is the promise of connected TV advertising. If you know your audience, CTV is a wise choice because you can be targeted and yet, still at scale. Neighbor one might be the CEO of an auto manufacturer who is a target for your tires or ignition system. The other neighbor might be a building contractor, so an ad about your siding or roofing product would be the perfect match. Connected TV advertising may well be a B2B marketer’s dream come true.

Cost and Measurement

Because marketers – B2C and B2B – can target, reach and measure using connected TV advertising, this medium is seeing a growing share of advertising budgets. For example, the pandemic shuttered trade shows where show-and-tell was commonplace. Marketers had to re-allocate budgets where show-and-tell could still occur. Television, no matter on which device it is consumed, is the ultimate show-and-tell medium. Consider this scenario:

  Linear TV Advertising Connected TV Advertising
Cost $10 CPM $30 CPM
% Targeted Audience Within Media Buy 10% 100%
Adjusted CPM per Targeted Impression $100 CPM $30 CPM
Wasted Impressions $90 (90%)

$0 (0%) 

A $30 CPM might seem expensive, but if you’re a B2B marketer who regularly works in $200, $300 or $600-per-lead territory, hitting a precisely targeted audience several times with a brand or direct response TV spot begins to fit into marketing budgets.

All this adds up to a unique opportunity for B2B marketers.

Marketers savvy to the loss of personal sales calls, vertical trade print and live events as cornerstones of B2B marketing, will be quick to try connected TV advertising. Others may wait until sales dry up before venturing out. And undoubtedly there will be those who choose to stay comfortable with their old routine, hoping the channels they loved will magically reappear. 

See the chart below for an in-depth comparison of Traditional versus Connected TV. If connected TV advertising is on your radar but you need confirmation of its efficacy, contact Innis Maggiore for more information. Our digital media experts can walk you through how to test into this medium. 

  Traditional TV Connected TV
Media Strategy Brand-building  Brand-building plus direct or attributed response 
Cost Cost per thousand (CPM) — ad cost impacted by channel, day-part and show selection; relatively lower CPMs CPM and CPP — ad cost impacted by audience selects; relatively higher CPMs
Targeting  Media Outlet (e.g., Channel 8) and/or show (e.g., American Idol) Audience demographic, geographic and psycho-graphic-specific (e.g., 35-50, HHI $150k+, College-educated, zip code: 44718, sports + CrossFit + hiking enthusiast)
Audience selection As available based on viewership of channel/show Defined by advertiser
Measurement  Gross Ratings Points (GRP) Targeted impressions; attribution based on IP address + connected devices via pixel tracking 
Data Modeling/Selects Not available

First-party data segments matched to subscription files; Lookalike audiences; third-party data selection

Device Targeting  Not available  Device make/model/type; cross-device targeting and retargeting 
Frequency/Recency Capping Not available  Defined by advertiser
Demographic Selects By Outlet/Show by Market/MSA By Home IP Address
Geographic Selects  By Outlet/Show by Market/MSA By Home IP Address
Psychographic Selects By Outlet/Show by Market/MSA

By Home IP Address