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Niche Industry Targeting for Digital Advertising

B2B Advertising Case Study

New SaaS Platform Addresses Economic Implications of Covid-19

Purpose of This Case Study

This case study is intended to provide B2B marketers with a practical example of how to maximize the impact of a digital advertising campaign for targeted reach and new business development.

Marketplace Context

Immediately following the onset of Covid-19, auction houses in the US and the UK were forced to close temporarily. This seriously impacted organizations that did not have a system in place for facilitating fixed prices sales or conducting auctions online. Just a few months prior, our client launched a user-friendly auction system to make it easier than ever for auction houses and traders to become digital players. Amid a global pandemic, the timing was right to introduce this platform to auction houses and help them get up and running.

Clear Objectives

To get the word out quickly to the right decision-makers and influencers and enable direct communications for following up with them in a personalized way. To achieve this, Programmatic B2B needed to identify the auction houses across the US and UK, append full employee and stakeholder contact information, verify the email addresses, construct prospect databases, and onboard that data for digital display advertising in a non-PII way. For compliance reasons, the activation of these audiences and deployment of email messaging were handled separately for the US and UK. However, all creative content and assets remained consistent to ensure a unified message for all potential new clients, the larger of which had locations in both the US and the UK.

Core Deliverables                                               

  • Develop an audience of preferred prospects and deploy a portfolio of creative assets that are aligned for engagement from those prospects.

  • Expand the prospect reach on LinkedIn and Twitter with targeted ABM.

  • Drive targeted traffic at an acceptable cost to expanding the remarketing audience.

  • Provide comprehensive reporting of all key performance indicators.

  • Construct a prospect database with full contact data for the US and UK markets.

Complete Process

The process began with a video conference to provide guidance from our client’s chief commercial officer, creative and editorial directors, and new business development directors representing Sweden, the UK, and US. This collaboration continued throughout the campaign process as individuals provided creative assets, improvements and details about target accounts and auction houses. The following diagram depicts the process flow:

B2B Marketing Process

Creative Assets

The following creative assets were developed in collaboration with Barnebys for a comprehensive content portfolio for display, video, social and email marketing communications:

Target Audience Challenge

To be certain that our client would be reaching the right prospects, it was necessary to start with PII (personally identifiable information). This information was onboarded for display use and the corresponding contact information was also verified and preserved for prospect database builds and acquisition email marketing (US only).


In addition to mining the top US business databases, Programmatic B2B applied a ‘man plus machine’ research process to append 2,000 incremental contacts, mostly UK-based, not found on the major databases. The result was an audience of over 18,000 targeted decision-makers and influencers from within the following categories for the US (and equivalent for the UK):

  • SIC Code 59999002 for Auction Rooms

  • SIC Code 73890110 for Auctioneers

  • SIC Code 73890120 for Auctions and Appraising

The custom audiences were onboarded for display advertising in a non-PII way, using full contact information and IP addresses for expanded reach.

B2B Display Ads

The half page and wide skyscraper ad formats were animated with 5x image rotations of premium auction merchandise. The commercial video was designed with a solution sales approach to solving the following problems for auctioneers:

  1. Reaching a global market

  2. Inefficiencies of current online auction platforms

  3. Security of customer and transaction data

  4. Brand identity management and preservation

The Results

As expected, video engagement rates were the highest for contacts who had been retargeted after visiting the website. Nearly half of the previous site visitors that started the video ran it to completion. More than a third of the contacts on the onboarded audience file did the same, compared with only 2 percent of the combined LinkedIn and Twitter audiences.

The most successful B2B campaigns are those which are integrated for new business development. Digital advertising is NOT a substitute for sales, but it can provide air cover to ensure that sales professionals are able to contact warm leads with some pre-exposure to their unique offering. This was the goal of the SaaS campaign – to deliver a prospect database of business contacts recently exposed to at least one form of digital advertising.

Insights for Optimization

When bidding for impressions, there is always some trade-off and a point of diminishing returns.

Optimization occurs when a client’s objectives are aligned to the data and marketing investment strategy. For broad market coverage, it is easier to leverage the low cost of compiled B2B data and platforms like Twitter and Facebook for positive results. However, niche markets may require additional research or the use of second-party response lists to achieve results. The challenge with second-party data is the need for first-party data owners’ permissions and corresponding usage restrictions. The intent here is to make decisions that lead to the highest return on ad spend, and testing can help identify where that happens.

CPMI Graph
B2B Advertising Frequency
B2B Video Marketing
B2B Video
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