May 08, 2023

How to Use B2B Programmatic Benchmarks: Understanding and Optimizing Campaign Success

If you’re using B2B programmatic advertising in your business, it’s important to measure the success of your campaign efforts against benchmarks. Doing so provides a way to evaluate ad performance relative to industry standards and expectations.

In this article, we explain what the B2B programmatic advertising benchmarks are and how to use them. But first, let’s answer a couple of your questions.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic ads are a type of digital advertising that plays a crucial role in helping businesses reach their target audiences across various channels and touchpoints, from initial awareness to final conversion. They use automation, machine learning, algorithms and data to automate the buying process and ensure the right ads are delivered to the right audiences.

B2B programmatic ads are typically targeted to specific companies or industries based on job titles, company size, purchase history, etc. Ads are displayed on websites, social media, mobile apps and other online platforms.

To learn more about the advantages, what types of ads to use when and how to get started, read our blog: B2B Programmatic Advertising 101.

why use benchmarks

Why use benchmarks with programmatic advertising?

Benchmarks are industry and business standards that provide a reference point for what constitutes good or bad performance for specific key performance indicators (KPIs). Benchmarks are typically based on aggregated data from a large number of campaigns and provide an average or median value for specific KPIs.

Without benchmarks, it can be difficult to determine whether your programmatic advertising efforts are effective, as there are no points of comparison for what constitutes a good or bad result. Benchmarks can help businesses set realistic goals and targets for their programmatic advertising campaigns, and track progress towards achieving them.

Additionally, benchmarks provide insights into industry trends and best practices, enabling businesses to stay on top of the latest developments in programmatic advertising. By understanding what is considered normal or expected performance in the industry, your business can identify areas where you may be falling behind or have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

Key B2B programmatic benchmarks

There are several benchmarks that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of B2B programmatic ads:

  • Click-through rate (CTR). This metric measures the percentage of users who clicked on an ad after seeing it. The average CTR for B2B programmatic ads is around 0.08%–0.15%.
  • Cost per click (CPC). This metric measures the cost of each click on an ad. The average CPC for B2B programmatic ads is around $2–$3.
  • Cost per thousand (CPM). This metric measures the cost of a thousand clicks on one ad. The average CPM for B2B programmatic ads is around $5–$7.
  • This metric measures the percentage of an ad that is seen by the user. The average viewability rate for B2B programmatic ads is around 60%.

It’s important to note that these benchmarks are just averages and not necessarily suggestive of what your company’s specific benchmarks should be. Your benchmarks may differ depending on various factors such as your industry, target audience and placements. Moreover, you may want to track other benchmarks (such as conversion rate, cost per acquisition and return on ad spend) that are specific to goals like brand awareness, site traffic and customer engagement.

It’s recommended to work with an experienced programmatic advertising partner who can help you determine a realistic benchmark for your specific business.

Average programmatic advertising benchmarks

Click-Through Rate
Cost Per Click
Cost Per Thousand
0.35% $3 $5.60 60%

Factors impacting B2B programmatic benchmarks

The following influences can impact the performance of a campaign and the benchmarks that are used as a reference point:

Industry. Different industries or sectors may have unique characteristics or preferences that can impact the performance of a campaign and the benchmarks that are used to evaluate it. For example, the healthcare industry may have regulations or compliance requirements that can impact the ad format or creative messaging used in a programmatic advertising campaign.

Audience. Different audiences may respond differently to specific ad formats, creative messaging and placement. For example, a tech-savvy audience may respond well to interactive ads, while a more conservative audience may respond better to traditional image display ads.

Segmentation. Segmentation refers to the process of dividing a target audience into different groups based on various factors such as demographics, behavior or interests. Segmentation can impact B2B programmatic advertising benchmarks by influencing the performance of different ad formats or creative messaging for specific segments.

Format. Different ad formats may perform differently depending on the audience, placement and creative messaging.

Creative. Whether or not your ad resonates with your target audience is a huge factor in ad performance. The creative messaging should be tailored to the target audience and should be compelling, relevant and engaging.

Placement. Different channels and ad placements may perform differently depending on the audience, ad format and creative messaging.

Steps to use programmatic ad benchmarks to measure campaign success

  1. Determine your key performance indicators (KPIs). The first step is to identify the KPIs that you want to measure for your programmatic advertising campaign. These could include metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, cost per acquisition or any other relevant metrics based on your campaign goals.
  2. Research industry benchmarks. Once you have identified your KPIs, research industry benchmarks for those metrics. Industry benchmarks provide a reference point for understanding how your campaign is performing compared to your competitors or other campaigns in your industry.
  3. Set your own benchmarks. Based on your campaign goals, set your own benchmarks that you want to achieve for each KPI. Your benchmarks should be realistic and achievable based on historical campaign data or industry benchmarks.
  4. Monitor your performance against benchmarks. Monitor your campaign performance regularly against your benchmarks. This will help you understand if your campaign is performing well or if there are areas for improvement.
  5. Use benchmarks to optimize campaign. Use the insights gained from monitoring performance against benchmarks to optimize your campaign. Adjust targeting, creative, or other aspects of your campaign to improve performance and meet or exceed your benchmarks. (We describe this in more detail below.)
  6. Adjust benchmarks as needed. If you find that your benchmarks are not achievable or that your campaign is consistently exceeding them, adjust your benchmarks accordingly.

how to use benchmarks

How to use programmatic benchmarks to optimize your campaigns

When it comes to testing and optimizing campaigns, benchmarks can be a valuable tool. Here’s how benchmarks are used in testing and optimizing campaigns:

Develop testing hypotheses. Start by developing hypotheses for what you want to test. For example, you might want to test different ad formats or creative messaging.

Run A/B tests. Set up A/B tests to compare different versions of your ads against each other. Use industry benchmarks or your own to understand how each version is performing.

Analyze results. Analyze the results of your A/B tests to determine which version of your ad performed best. Then, compare the performance of your winning ad against industry benchmarks or your own.

Optimize campaigns. Use the insights gained from your A/B tests to optimize your campaign. Adjust targeting, creative, or other aspects of your campaign to improve performance and meet or exceed your benchmarks.

By using benchmarks in testing and optimizing campaigns, businesses can gain a better understanding of what works best for their target audience and optimize their campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

Best practices for improving your programmatic benchmarks

best practices for improving benchmarks

As we discussed earlier, once you’ve run enough campaigns, you can start to set your own benchmarks. To improve your benchmarks, ensuring you out-perform industry benchmarks:

Set clear and measurable goals. Before you even begin using programmatic advertising, your business should set clear and measurable goals for your campaigns. These goals should be aligned with your overall marketing and business objectives and should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting clear goals can help businesses focus their efforts and measure their progress towards achieving these goals.

Test and optimize. As explained earlier, testing and optimizing ads against benchmarks is crucial to improve campaign performance and achieve better results.

Use data to inform decision. You should use data to inform your programmatic advertising decisions. This may involve analyzing campaign data to identify trends, patterns and insights that can inform future decisions. The insights gained will help your business identify areas for improvement, optimize campaigns and make informed decisions.

Target the right audience. Programmatic ads are highly targeted. Ensure you are targeting the right audience by segmenting your target audience based on demographics, behavior or interests, and tailoring the ad format and creative messaging to each segment. By targeting the right audience, your businesses improve your campaign performance and achieve better results.

Use retargeting. Retargeting is a powerful technique that can improve programmatic advertising benchmarks. By targeting users who have previously interacted with their brand or website, businesses can increase the likelihood of conversions and improve their campaign performance.

Monitor and optimize campaign performance. Finally, to improve your benchmarks, you must monitor and optimize your programmatic advertising campaigns regularly. This may involve adjusting the ad format, creative messaging, or ad placement based on campaign data and insights. By monitoring and optimizing campaign performance, businesses can improve their programmatic advertising benchmarks and achieve better results.

Get the best results from your programmatic advertising

B2B programmatic advertising is an essential tool for driving awareness in a full funnel omnichannel approach. By leveraging industry benchmarks – and eventually, your own benchmarks – to monitor and optimize your campaigns, you can improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. Doing so drives more sales revenue and provides the best return on your ad spend.

Getting results from your programmatic advertising efforts requires expertise and diligence. For this reason, it’s crucial to partner with a B2B marketing agency that understands the factors that impact industry benchmarks and that has the know-how to optimize your campaigns.

With 20+ years of service to B2B industries like yours, Elevation Marketing has proven experience helping our B2B clients plan, monitor and optimize their programmatic advertising campaigns. We thrive on helping companies like yours get extraordinary results. Contact us today to discuss your B2B digital advertising needs.

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