How to Get the B2B Digital Ad Inventory You Need for Every Campaign

6 minutes
Mar 03, 2022
Digital Marketing

When it comes to programmatic ad inventory and considering new B2B advertising solutions — from DSPs to ad networks, to retargeting providers — it’s important to ask the right questions...

When it comes to programmatic ad inventory and considering new B2B advertising solutions — from DSPs to ad networks, to retargeting providers — it’s important to ask the right questions to fully understand what these platforms can provide.

For instance, asking “What sites do you run advertising on?” isn’t a meaningful question that can differentiate most advertising solutions today, since access to inventory is generally a level playing field.  

Instead, differentiation comes from asking questions like: 

  1. Can I access the advertising inventory I want for my campaigns?
  2. Can I control the inventory that I do (or don’t) buy?
  3. Can I see the inventory my ads actually run in?

These questions drill down into the core of what matters when it comes to ad inventory: getting the inventory you need for every campaign.  

Let’s take a closer look at these questions to understand why they matter … and how you can use them to maximize the impact of your time, effort, and ad spend.

Access to Advertising Inventory for Your Campaigns 

Let’s start with a quick primer on how publishers that operate websites sell ad inventory. Today, most websites offer up the same inventory — meaning every individual ad impression that can be placed on their website — through multiple ad sales platforms. They do this to sell ad impressions at the best possible prices. In turn, most advertising solutions connect to multiple ad sales platforms to get access to every one of those impressions.

In practical terms, this means the majority of potential ad inventory is exactly the same across any B2B advertising solution.

Some websites offer preferential inventory access to certain buyers, usually at premium prices. In these scenarios:

  • Advertisers, i.e., companies like yours, gain preferred access through direct buying relationships or relationships via their advertising solution
  • This preferred ad inventory is generally first offered to companies with preferred access at higher prices
  • If it doesn’t sell at the higher price, it is then offered to any buyer at potentially lower prices

Many ad solutions offer access to inventory from hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of sites. As long as the partner you work with supports the ad formats you need (such as video, banner, etc.), the inventory access across advertising solutions will be very similar.

All of this inventory leads to a more practical question for most advertisers: Will I be able to control which inventory I do or do not purchase?

Access to Inventory with 6sense

The 6sense DSP connects to multiple sales platforms — including the largest and most widely used ones (such as Google, PubMatic, OpenX, Magnite to name a few) — giving clients extensive inventory access. Further, all 6sense customers receive preferred access to inventory on hundreds of sites; we focus on developing relationships specifically with sites that are valuable to B2B advertisers. 

Customers that have their own relationships with sites can use those existing arrangements through the 6sense DSP, too.

Control the Advertising Inventory You Buy

With so much inventory available, exerting control over ad inventory becomes a critical concern for advertisers. Here are some of the most important inventory-targeting controls you’ll use in your campaigns:

Site Targeting

Targeting specific sites enables you to run a wider range of campaigns for different business objectives.

Create Premium Brand Campaigns

Use these campaigns to build your brand with advertising placements on highly respected sites. With increased bids to win higher value inventory, you can run sizable campaigns reaching your audience on premium sites.

Run Display Campaigns on Industry Sites & Trade Publications

This approach is particularly useful if you’re prioritizing lead capture or promoting heavy content assets, since the audience is already focused on your market.

These are usually low-volume campaigns, since most industry sites have smaller readerships. However, they often generate the highest engagement rates on your site.

Move Broader Campaigns to Large Sites

Running ads on a few thousand top sites enables you to maintain reach for all but the smallest and most difficult-to-reach audiences (while eliminating long-tail sites that generally publish lower-quality content).

Recently, many large brand advertisers have adopted this approach to improve efficiency and control of their ad spend.

Inventory and Device Targeting

You can quickly improve the results of your campaigns by selecting the type of inventory (website vs. app) and devices on which they’ll appear:

  • Running ads in mobile web and app inventory can significantly lower your cost-per-click and drive more website traffic
  • Website traffic from computer browsers may generate higher engagement on your landing pages

Contextual Targeting

As third-party cookies become less common, contextual targeting is becoming a key tactic for advertisers once again. This enables them to run advertising on web pages that feature specific topics.

Target Specific Topics Directly Relevant to Your Solution

These campaigns are small, since granular contextual targets remove the majority of ad inventory. By running ads exclusively on content-relevant pages on sites that would otherwise be too broad to be impactful, this is a good way to extend the “industry sites and trade publications” campaign described above.

Supplement Traditional Cookie-Based Audience Targeting 

For example, if you want to target marketers with your ads, use contextual targeting to run advertising in marketing-related content across websites. While marketing content isn’t only read by marketers, you’re more likely to reach marketers this way. 

This is an increasingly important tactic for reaching people in your audience that can’t be reached with cookie-based targeting.

Site Exclusion 

Excluding specific sites from your campaigns is another capability you should expect from contemporary advertising solutions. Exclusions, combined with transparent site-level reporting, help optimize campaigns by removing large underperforming sites.

Note that while site exclusions grant you a lot of control, they require ongoing maintenance as the list of potential sites is constantly changing. Site targeting can be used in place of site exclusion when more control is required.

Inventory Control with 6sense

6sense customers have access to extensive targeting controls, including the ability to use the 6sense Preferred Publisher List rather than creating their own broad list of sites to target or exclude.

All 6sense inventory targeting can be used in conjunction with audience targeting built with 6sense’s predictive segments and AI-driven orchestrations, and with leading account and persona targeting capabilities.

See Where Your Ads Actually Run

If you can’t report on which sites your ads are actually running on, you can’t make changes to improve the inventory you are buying. Seeing where your ads are running — including site-level detail — is key. Here are two vital ways to use site-level reports today:

Identify Sites You Want More Inventory From

Sites that are valuable to your business but have limited delivery are good candidates for site-targeted campaigns. You can quickly identify these sites using site-level reporting.

Exclude Underperforming Sites

Regularly review the performance of your top 50 to 100 sites (or all sites with meaningful volume), and exclude sites that significantly underperform versus the overall campaign.

Note that several advertising solutions operate with a “trust us” policy rather than providing visibility into the specific sites where your ads are running. While they may support site exclusion lists, how can you remove sites for ongoing and future campaigns if you can’t see what sites you are running on?

Conclusion

These days, there are literally millions of ad-supported sites and apps. Rather than spending time and effort trying to understand what inventory a particular platform has access to, confirm you have access to the inventory you actually need

Then ensure that the platforms with which you do business have the targeting controls and reporting capabilities you need to purchase and optimize the proper mix of ad inventory for your business.