B2B advertising has reached a digital tipping point.
In just five years, B2B has gone from spending just 29% of its media dollars on digital channels to a projected 49% in 2024. That’s an increase of nearly 70%!
Simply adapting to this digital transformation would have been a big task in and of itself. But B2B marketers have been navigating the digital shift while battling through a global pandemic, a prolonged economic downturn, supply chain challenges, layoffs in the tech industry, and a significant shift in who is making purchasing decisions in the B2B landscape. Even more, rapidly approaching on the horizon are the signal loss challenges that will change (and have already begun to change) how B2B marketers connect with target audiences.
Overall, it’s clear that B2B marketers will need to be flexible and adaptable as they navigate an increasingly complex landscape. With all this in mind, here are some key trends B2B marketers should consider in 2024:
In 2023, 60% of B2B marketers said that social media was their most effective revenue-driving channel. It’s no surprise, then, that social media will continue to dominate in 2024. This is likely to prove particularly true when it comes to partnering with influencers and subject matter experts across key platforms, such as Meta and LinkedIn, as B2B marketers continue to rely on these content creators to drive personalized connections with their audiences.
To make the most of the social media opportunity, B2B marketers should be deliberate about which creators or subject matter experts best align with their product(s) and/or services. They can then leverage many different types of content—from user-generated content (UGC), to testimonials, to case studies, and more—to build up credibility, trust, and connection with prospective audiences.
Speaking of building connection, digital video is another channel that will be crucial to helping B2B advertisers elicit emotion and foster relationships with target audiences in the year ahead. Video allows marketing teams to capture audience attention with the power of sight, sound, and motion. These qualities can be particularly impactful for B2B brands when leveraged for sharing education- and testimonial-driven content. Plus, with digital video, marketers can tailor that content specifically to target audiences.
Even more, by leveraging compatible creative across multiple video channels, B2B advertisers can create a curated and consistent customer experience. For instance, teams could use CTV for upper-funnel awareness tactic targeting for specified geographies, reinforce those ads with digital out-of-home (DOOH) displays in the same geographic areas, and further reach target audiences by placing pre-roll video ads within reading content that relates to their specific product or service offering. And, thanks to the benefits inherent to digital technology, video campaigns can now be measured and optimized to maximize a team's return on ad spend (ROAS).
It’s no secret that generative AI has been making quite the splash—both within the world of advertising and beyond—and B2B marketers can use this emerging technology in a variety of ways.
AI-powered chatbots on a website can help improve the user experience and automate lead generation by swiftly and efficiently gathering relevant information on a customer’s needs, making quick decisions to support those needs, and setting sales teams up for success. Generative AI tools can also assist in the content creation process, either for brainstorming or early creation phases. Just remember: Since authenticity and credibility are critical for fostering connection with audiences, a human team member should be reviewing anything generated by AI to ensure that everything is up to par with brand guidelines and to prevent outdated or inaccurate information from sneaking its way into the content.
Amidst the complexity of today’s B2B advertising landscape, it can be tough to know what marketing teams should focus on. But by using social media to connect meaningfully with target audiences, leveraging digital video to show how specific products or services can help solve audiences’ problems, and making the most of emerging AI technologies, savvy B2B marketers can find success in 2024—and beyond.
Hungry for more 2024 trends? Check out our 2024 Trends Report for everything digital marketers need to know for next year.