4 Reasons Why the $6 Billion U.S. B2B Digital Advertising Market Will Continue Its Rapid Growth

February 24, 2019

B2B digital advertising growth

B2B digital advertising is big and getting bigger — all the arrows are pointing up. But  then again, B2B digital advertising is probably not as big as it should be. A new eMarketer report, “U.S. B2B Digital Advertising Trends,” asserts that American B2B digital advertising will surpass $6 billion in 2019, even though the market “still lacks maturity.”

The market will grow 18.7% in 2019 to reach $6.1 billion, according to eMarketer, which notes that market increased by about $1 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow by the same amount this year. eMarketer identified LinkedIn, which controls about 20% of the market, as the largest player in B2B advertising — with its Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail offerings becoming increasingly popular with marketers.  

Even though the B2B digital ad market as a whole is poised to surpass $6 billion, many B2B marketers “still lack the foundational data and technology to successfully leverage digital,” eMarketer says. B2B marketers as a group have not yet fully embraced the powerful targeting options offered by digital. “There is a long standing belief that if you are targeting a B2B buyer with advertising, you only need to be in a few major trade publications or go to a handful of tradeshows,” Joseph Leichman, senior director of buyer development at programmatic advertising vendor OpenX, said in the eMarketer report.

B2B marketers, for instance, are not taking advantage of the retargeting offered by digital and social platforms, with just 20.3% deploying retargeted ads, according to eMarketer. Another key area where B2B marketers lag behind their consumer marketing counterparts is mobile advertising. U.S. B2B marketers spend just 37.3% of their digital ad dollars on mobile, while about 70% of the overall digital ad market is mobile.

eMarketer said LinkedIn provides a mobile option for B2B marketers. “On LinkedIn, the mobile share of spend is on par with desktop/laptop, making it a good place to reach more mobile buyers,” the eMarketer report noted.

Despite its relative lack of maturity, spending in the U.S. B2B digital advertising market will continue its rapid growth, because of four key trends identified by eMarketer:

  • Account-based marketing
  • People-based marketing
  • Programmatic
  • Personalized content sequencing

Account-Based Marketing

More B2B marketers are embracing account-based marketing, which consists of focusing customized marketing efforts on specific accounts, which are typically selected in tandem with the sales team. Because of the precise targeting offered by digital advertising, B2B marketers are making digital advertising techniques part of their ABM programs. For instance, eMarketer notes that 66% of ABM marketers use retargeting.  

People-Based Marketing

People-based marketing targets messages and advertisements “to specific individuals across multiple devices by using user data rather than relying on a web-based cookie,” eMarketer explains in tis report. This kind of digital advertising theoretically can enable marketers to more precisely target members of the buying committee within organizations (and avoid serving ads to employees that aren’t influencing purchases). 


Programmatic automates the buying and targeting of digital advertising. eMarketer says that the programmatic infrastructure on the web is allowing B2B marketers to scale their ABM and people-based advertising programs.

Personalized Content Sequencing

As digital targeting becomes more powerful, more B2B marketers are deploying personalized content sequencing, which means that they are attempting to serve lower-funnel ads, for instance, only to prospects who are in the consideration phase. Similarly, these marketers want to serve their branding ads, in an ideal world, to prospects in the upper funnel. eMarketer says an increasing number of B2B marketers are investing in digital advertising to deliver this kind of personalized, sequenced content. 

For a deeper dive into B2B digital advertising trends, read the complete eMarketer report. And to keep pace with the latest in marketing, subscribe today to the LinkedIn Marketing Blog.

Photo: Airwolfhound