Lessons From the Past: Invest in Digital Display Advertising in a Challenging Economy

Adam Davis

Sr. Director, Brand Solutions

digital display advertising

When the economy is strong, display ad spend flows like a river after a rainstorm. Fully approved budgets fund targeted impressions that drive engagement and consideration. However, as all marketers know, the staying power of an advertising budget is truly tested in times of adversity.

That economic adversity is here, and advertising budgets are now under the microscope. The survival of advertising budgets during these macro headwinds will be determined by the resolve of the marketers behind those budgets. It is more important than ever to continue digital display advertising efforts to boost brand consideration and fill the top of your funnel. Leverage this economic downturn to sharpen your strategy and separate from competitors.

Penny wise, pound foolish: Cutting ad spend now may hinder future brand success

Historically, advertising dollars are the first on the chopping block. You’ll likely win points with your boss by following the crowd and cutting costs. But history also shows that that decision will cost you market share, short list inclusion and closed deals.

Consistent advertising has a compounding effect on your brand perception and consideration. It’s not a market you can reliably or successfully time. Buyers are starting and completing their buying journey every day, which means you need to greet them with your message in the right place, all the time.

Why is consistent exposure to digital display advertising important?

Digital display advertising works. TechTarget regularly surveys active, in-market buyers to understand if digital display advertising impacts their decisions. The short answer is that is does – a lot. Buyers that see a vendor’s banner are 84% more likely to engage with them. They’re also 32% more likely to short list them.

Digital display advertising also increases engagement across all your demand tactics. A recent TechTarget review of almost 100 integrated campaigns for mid-sized companies showed that advertisers running significant banner impressions had a 151% increase in email engagement. Consistent, impactful digital display campaigns aren’t just a brand awareness driver – they are an overall marketing multiplier.

Don’t forget that buying groups are getting larger and conducting research online more frequently. According to TechTarget’s 2022-23 Media and Vendor Engagement Study, 68% of buyers say they research purchases mostly or completely independent of a vendor’s sales representatives. That means buyers are reading content, watching webinars and making decisions BEFORE they even engage a vendor. It is incredibly important that you have an always-on digital advertising strategy to make sure you are top of mind and don’t miss opportunities with self-serve buyers, but that doesn’t mean you buy mass volume impressions and hope you get someone to respond. You need the right data and partners to provide visibility when buyers come into market and help you target them efficiently and effectively in the environments that they are doing pre-purchase research.

Economic uncertainty only magnifies the need for digital display advertising

Tech buyers need tech solutions even as the macro economy heads south. Certainly, some projects will be shelved, but businesses still need tools and infrastructure to operate. Fewer deals in the market requires MORE differentiation from your competitors. With limited volume, you need to make every sales opportunity count.

Competitors will help you out in that regard. By pulling advertising budgets, they’re no longer influencing buyers. They’re losing ground. That increases your opportunity to make an impact. The same brand investment in a less crowded marketplace will deliver a higher ROI because you’re naturally standing out from the noise. Buyers are seeing fewer messages, so make sure one of them is yours.

In a time when there are fewer deals available and dollar-for-dollar revenue is more valuable to your company, eliminating a direct – and growing – channel to communicate with active buyers will negatively impact both short- and long-term sales.

It’s an opportunity, not a roadblock: Tips for spending advertising budget wisely

Cutting advertising in a down economy isn’t the answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s business as usual either. In fact, this is a good time to review your digital display advertising tactics and streamline your strategy.

Consolidating spend with trusted partners that deliver strong performance will allow you to do more with less. You avoid new channels that risk little return while re-emphasizing your message to the buyers that matter.

Make sure to focus your efforts where you know buyers are researching. Contextual alignment confirms you’re engaging the right audience when they are interested in solutions. Brand awareness is vital to current and future sales. In a challenging economy, can you risk serving your B2B ad to potential “prospects” in personal environments when they are pursuing hobbies or doing their last-minute holiday shopping? Keeping your message alongside trusted, destination content ensures you maintain that presence while avoiding wasted spend.

There has never been a time with more data involved in digital display advertising. Some data sources are effective, but most amount to little more than educated guesses as to when your prospects are in-market. Key in on data that comes from prospect-level intent insights. Don’t waste your time or resources on piecemeal targeting or mass volume “spray and pray” campaigns. Aggressively targeting known, in-market audiences in places they are doing research will not only bypass idle competitors, but it will also set you up for the economic rebound.

Stay trusted, targeted and in-market

If you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it. If you DO learn from history, advertising budgets won’t be cut in the face of economic adversity. Instead, maximize your investment by leveraging contextual, targeted digital display advertising tactics to increase market share and drive consideration with in-market buyers while competitors sit on the sidelines.

Eager to learn more? Download the e-book, “Tethering Brand and Buyer: How to Target Your Brand in a Changing B2B Digital Environment.” In this e-book, we look at the rapidly changing digital space and give practical advice to marketers on how to differentiate your brand in this crowded environment. Click here to download.

 

digital advertising, digital marketing, purchase intent data

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