B2B brands are spending millions of digital marketing dollars a year trying get their target audience to visit their websites and consume content – but how to do you ensure you’re getting the right content to the right people at the right companies at the right time?
Getting your prospects to your site is only half the battle – but most of them will stay invisible and never fill out a form.
Re-targeting is Not Enough
For the last decade or so, both B2C and B2B brands have employed cookie-based retargeting as an effective way to generate leads and sales (and if your B2B brand is not taking advantage of cookie-based retargeting/remarketing, you should be).
You’ve all experienced cookie-based retargeting – you visit a brand’s website, and the site drops a cookie in your browser. If you leave that site without making an inquiry or download, the cookie signals programmatic display ad networks like Google Ads or AdRoll to ‘retarget’ you with ads for that business, everywhere you go. As the theory goes, you’ve already visited that brand’s site and therefore shown some interest in their products or services – “buyer intent,” or “propensity to buy” in advertising parlance. So, they retarget you with ads containing offers designed to entice you to return to their site and convert or close the deal.
Traditional (Cookie-based) retargeting has Drawbacks
More and more people are regularly clearing cookies from their browsers or blocking brands from dropping cookies in their browsers in the first place. This has become even more prevalent since the EU GDPR regulations went into effect in 2018The person who visits your site is anonymous – even after you drop the cookie, you don’t know who they are until they “convert” – i.e. make a purchase, fill out a form, or otherwise give you their contact information. Cookie-based retargeting can also fall prey to non-human traffic like web crawlers, click farms and server farms, which wastes your precious marketing dollars.
The rise of reverse-IP targeting
In parallel, several years ago B2B brands started identifying the companies of their anonymous website visitors based on their IP address. This was helpful to B2B marketing and sales teams who were employing an account-based marketing approach. They could monitor the companies that visited their website and match those companies against target accounts. What usually followed was some combination of email or phone outreach to existing or newly-acquired contacts from those visiting companies.
The problem is: the actual visitors themselves are still anonymous. You could see what company they are from, but especially if you are targeting big enterprise accounts, finding the actual visitors themselves can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
In addition, doing cold email and phone outreach to prospects is never a very effective way to get in touch with them, especially if you’re an emerging B2B brand that is still fighting for mind share among your target prospects. So how do you get your brand in front of target prospects without breaking the bank on spray-and-pray ads?
Consumer brand marketers can now identify and target individual households by IP address, but in the B2B realm, targeting companies by IP address means serving ads to every person in the company. This is not very efficient, and only slightly better than an old-school ‘spray-and-pray’ approach. You can serve ads to your target accounts, but the ad creative itself must be relatively generic. You can’t personalize your ads to specific job titles or departments who may be on the buying committee at your target accounts.
What if you could take that company IP address data you collect on your website and use it to ‘pretarget’ members of the buying committee at your target accounts?
It would work like this:
An anonymous person visits your site. Your IP address data provider tells you they are from Company ABC.Company ABC is on your target account list, but you have not yet generated any qualified leads or opportunities with them.You work with your firmographic data providers and generate a list of the contacts on the buying committee (by department or job role/title) at Company ABC.You use those contact lists to create custom audiences for social ad platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. Even better, since you know their job roles and titles, you can serve them personalized display ads that speak to their interests/needs with Company ABC.
Benefits of the Combined Pretargeting + Retargeting Approach
Some targeted contacts will respond to your ads and convert, thereby triggering additional retargeting ads that build engagement and reinforce your message.When you go after the remaining targeted contacts with email and phone outreach, chances are they have seen your ads and online content, making them more likely to engage.
Combining pretargeting and retargeting makes the most of your scarce digital marketing budget while increasing engagement at your target accounts.