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4 tips for account-based marketing in programmatic advertising | B2B Marketing

Account-based marketing is one of the key digital marketing strategies in programmatic advertising. Follow these 4 essential approaches to maximise your programmatic ROI with ABM.

As one-to-many account-based marketing (ABM) techniques in the digital space evolve, account-based programmatic

advertising has become an increasingly important line item on many B2B media plans.

In this blog I want to highlight some key points that may help you to improve, or at least change the way you think about your existing approach to ABM in programmatic advertising.

1. Don’t try to make ‘one size fit all’

It’s suprising how many programmatic advertisers I see targeting account lists across industry verticals and regions, using exactly the same creative. 

Given the whole point of account-based marketing is to have a highly targeted approach, more thought needs to be put into creative messaging.


What resonates for a CIO in the pharmaceuticals industry won’t have the same effect on one working for a software company.

Progammatic advertisers should leverage the precision obtained from their account-based marketing account data to bring personalisation into their creative messaging, even if just by vertical and market to begin with.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

There’s a wide range of companies offering varying solutions for programmatic advertising. All these solutions use different methodologies, have different strengths and weaknesses and often have vastly different coverage in specific markets.

For example, publisher network buyers provide transparent and accurate data sources but have a limited scope of delivery. Third party audiences, on the other hand, provide the desired reach but have more opaque methods of audience building. 

Working with multiple partners gives you more choice, more strategies to test and ultimately, more scope to refine your audience targeting for specific brands, products, and markets.

3. Don’t ignore job roles

Within you ABM accounts you’ll be looking to target different job roles. The ideal approach is of course to target by account and role such as an IP account list with senior manager job role segments overlaid.

Consider the size of the companies being targeted versus the number of relevant decision-making roles within that. In many cases, this leads to a very low hit rate. You should always be considering the price you’re paying against the hit rate you’re getting on key decision-making audiences.

Although not technically classed as account-based marketing, targeting generic audiences by combining job role and industry can sometimes result in a better cost-per-engagement against your target audience.

Consider the following approach for

programmatic advertising

1. Identify the industries and job roles that relate to your target accounts.

2. Map these back to the relevant third party data segments in your buying platform.

3. Target users at scale across a range of companies.

Although not all users will be working for firms on the initial account list, this approach still offers a strong alternative to pure account-based targeting methods and, in most cases, still a significant hit rate against the initial target audience (assuming you’re targeting the major companies in the given industry).

4. When the performance stops, stop 

Following on from the above point, though it’s often hailed as the holy grail of B2B programmatic advertising, account-based marketing will not always yield the best performance for your campaigns.

It’s an exciting time for

ABMers in the digital space

, with targeting methodologies improving all the time, but that doesn’t make it a sure thing. Too often I see progammatic advertisers with tunnel vision over-investing in ABM because it’s ‘hot right now’.

Like any other digital

marketing strategy

, you should compare and contrast your ABM-based programmatic performance against other approaches (demographic, behavioural, contextual keywords, publisher whitelists etc.) to see what drives the best cost-per-lead for your brand and product.

If it’s not performing, it’s time to adapt or change strategy altogether.

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