B2B products and services often have a higher need for explanation. With native advertising in the right environment, you can address customers sooner – namely, where they are looking for information. This significantly shortens the customer journey. Tips and inspiration can be found in this guide.
What is native advertising?
The customer journey of B2B customers is normally much longer than that of private consumers. The reason: if decision-makers select the wrong product or an unsuitable service, it can be very expensive for their company. Which is why their research is intensive and broad, usually from neutral references. As a result, they are exposed relatively late to the websites of concrete sellers.
Manufacturers can offer a kind of shortcut using native advertising and make interested persons aware of their portfolio much sooner. To achieve this, they display small digital ads where the target group is looking for information online. At the same time, the ads are designed (text, pictures, videos) in such a way that they look like they are part of the design of the website where they appear.
Solely the term “Advertisement” alludes to the fact that it is an ad. This means native advertising takes over the role of a paid teaser. Those who click on it are led to the advertiser’s desired website.
Why you should consider native advertising for your B2B online marketing
In light of the four phases of the purchasing decision process (See, Think, Do, Care), native advertising leads to the See phase at a relatively early time and can extend into the Think phase. Whether this actually happens or not depends on the concept of the targeted website.
Ideally, the ads provide content with added value to interested persons. This enables the advertiser to be presented as an expert in their industry. Their competence can be proven, for instance, in blogs, video tutorials or white papers. This make sense, especially because the B2B segment features lots of products and services with a relatively high need for explanation. This is also a reason for the longer customer journey in this environment.
Additional benefits of native advertising for B2B customers:
- The ads grab attention without being annoying because they match their surroundings.
- The awareness of the brand is higher – up to 35 per cent as a survey from BurdaForward has shown.
- Compared to other advertising formats which hide their function, native advertising openly appears as advertising and is thus accepted by the target group.
What you should keep in mind when realising native advertising
Effective native advertising requires good knowledge of the potential clientele and should be adapted to it. However, this is quite difficult in the B2B business, as the target group is often very small. To reach it despite this, the ad must appear within the right framework.
Here is where media with the respective topical focus comes into play. This can be, for instance, special interest magazines, blogs from specialists or websites from suitable influencers. And where decision-makers generally conduct research. Important is that the form and content match the surrounding content in order to avoid a break in the content.
Example of successful native advertising in the B2B segment
An example of how well native advertising works can be seen in IBM’s collaboration with the US magazine The Atlantic. Both partners enjoy a good reputation and have a long company history. At the same time, IBM profits from the strong online presence of The Atlantic.
The multi-part native campaigns guide interested persons to interactive info graphics, amongst others. These show how IBM products help companies to improve their processes and achieve heightened productivity. The series picks up on a certain topic per episode. One concerns, for instance, the use of data analysis in professional sports and in nutrition. The ads perfectly harmonise with The Atlantic in terms of their design and content, so that they hardly appear as advertising.