US B2B Digital Advertising Trends

Spend Will Exceed $6 Billion in 2019, but Market Still Lacks Maturity

Executive Summary

We estimate that since 2017, the business-to-business (B2B) digital advertising market in the US has grown by roughly $1 billion annually. Spending may be on the rise, but B2B companies have been slow to shift dollars to digital ads. Many still lack the foundational data and technology to successfully leverage digital.

How much are B2B companies in the US spending on digital advertising?

This year, B2B companies in the US will spend $6.08 billion on digital advertising, up 18.7% year over year, according to our latest forecast.

What percentage of digital advertising is mobile vs. desktop for B2Bs?

While more than 70% of total US digital ad dollars will go to mobile formats in 2019, the B2B split isn’t as mobile-heavy. In fact, we estimate US B2Bs will spend just 37.3%—$2.27 billion—of their digital ad dollars on mobile placements in 2019. The remaining 62.7% will be spent on ads appearing on desktop, laptop and other internet-connected devices. We do not foresee a tipping point where B2Bs will allocate more than half of their ad spend to mobile.

How is LinkedIn impacting the B2B digital ad market?

LinkedIn accounts for roughly one-fifth of all US B2B digital ad dollars, making it a primary market growth driver. We forecast that $1.25 billion will go to LinkedIn in 2019. On LinkedIn, the mobile share of spend is on par with desktop/laptop, making it a good place to reach more mobile buyers.

What is driving growth in US B2B digital advertising?

Many B2B companies are still buying media directly through publishers and finding success with content sponsorships, native ads and podcasts. As measurement improves and companies become more organizationally aligned (i.e. getting marketing and sales teams on the same page), investment in digital ads will grow. Advanced B2Bs are being more deliberate in their audience targeting focusing on account and people-based targeting, programmatic and personalized content sequencing.

What challenges must B2B advertisers still overcome?

Advanced tactics are only possible with the right foundation of tech and data. Therefore, hiring the right skill sets internally and focusing on data and technology are hurdles that must be overcome for buyers to pump more ad dollars into many of the aforementioned digital advertising tactics.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report features the December 2018 update to our US B2B digital ad spending forecast. It also explores the trends that are driving (and preventing) increased spend in 2019 and beyond.

KEY STAT: This year, US B2B companies will spend over $6 billion dollars on digital advertising, up 18.7% from 2018 according to our December 2018 forecast.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. US B2B Digital Ad Spending in 2019: eMarketer’s Forecast and Estimates
  3. Digital Ad Spenders: B2B Characteristics and Advanced Factors
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. eMarketer Interviews
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Max Altschuler
Vice President, Marketing
Interviewed November 6, 2018
Jay Bowden
Managing Director, Tech B2B
Interviewed November 20, 2018
Dean Challis
Head, Communications Strategy
Interviewed November 11, 2018
Nicholas Cumins
SAP Customer Experience
General Manager, SAP Marketing Cloud
Interviewed November 13, 2018
Pieter De Temmerman
Interviewed November 12, 2018
Niraj Deo
Oracle Data Cloud
Vice President, Products
Interviewed November 6, 2018
Matthew Fanelli
MNI Targeted Media, Inc.
Senior Vice President, Digital
Interviewed October 24, 2018
Anna Fisher
Senior Director of Marketing, Head of Lead Generation
Interviewed November 9, 2018
Pierce Hasler
Oracle Data Cloud
Vice President, General Manager, Industry Verticals
Interviewed November 6, 2018
Marcel Hollerbach
Interviewed November 12, 2018
Peter Isaacson
Interviewed November 6, 2018
Trevor Johnson
Walker Sands Communications
Paid Digital Marketing Lead
Interviewed November 9, 2018
Joseph Leichman
Senior Director, Buyer Development
Interviewed November 7, 2018
Laura Milsted
Financial Times
Global Advertising Director, B2B and Insights
Interviewed November 19, 2018
Mihir Nanavati
Roll Works
Vice President, Product
Interviewed November 19, 2018
Phil Nottingham
Director, Product Marketing
Interviewed November 14, 2018
Jeff Ratner
Chief Media Officer
Interviewed November 7, 2018
Keith Richey
Senior Director, Global Marketing
Interviewed November 12, 2018
Robert Rose
Content Marketing Institute
Chief Strategy Officer
Interviewed November 13, 2018
Rion Swartz
Senior Director, Marketing and Brand Management
Interviewed August 1, 2018
Jeremy Tate
DWA, a Merkle company
Senior Vice President, General Manager, Boston
Interviewed October 31, 2018
Anudit Vikram
Dun & Bradstreet
Senior Vice President, Audience Solutions
Interviewed November 16, 2018
Steve Weeks
Director, Media Strategy and Planning
Interviewed October 31, 2018
Greta Wilson
Pitney Bowes
Vice President, Brand Strategy and Acquisition Marketing
Interviewed October 25, 2018
Victor Wong
Thunder Experience Cloud
Interviewed October 25, 2018

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Junior Analyst
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Principal Analyst
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Senior Forecasting Analyst
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Forecasting Analyst

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