Guest Blog, Marketing

The Path to Big Wins With Programmatic Advertising

B2B advertising has been at the core of Terminus since the beginning. We have proven ourselves as a leader and the industry’s true ABM platform during that time, but we have never lost sight of the fact that we’ve built a platform for marketers, by marketers. And as we continue to bring programmatic ad buying to the forefront of ABM, we are dialed in to helping marketers be smarter, more savvy and more efficient than ever. We’ve included a few key things to consider when making digital advertising moves.

Find a Platform That Prioritizes Brand Safety and Fraud Reduction

The integrity of the ads that you are delivering must be a priority. When clients come to Terminus, we historically see that more than 20% of their advertising budget has been put toward fraudulent sources, with another 20% being spent on ads that are neither brand safe nor suitable. Our rates are consistently lower and those numbers above should be deal breakers.

It’s critical to ask questions about brand safety and fraud when you’re evaluating platforms to manage your advertising spend. What brand safety solutions does your platform offer? What is your brand safety rate? What is the rate of fraud on your platform? Don’t hesitate to ask to see reporting that validates those numbers. We think these questions are so important that we’ve put together a complete ABM Buyer’s Guide to serve as a resource to you when evaluating all facets of a platform. Download it here:

Ensure That Your Platform Has Real Humans Optimizing Your Campaigns

The fact is that programmatic advertising requires someone with the right amount of knowledge and experience to be successful. Even with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google, you’ll want someone who understands the ins and outs to ensure success. The same is true for your programmatic display campaigns. Our most successful customers leverage our experts to knock their efforts out of the park, including understanding best practices around creating segment audiences, configuring the right targeting parameters, optimizing for performance, and reporting on value. Customers who leverage our digital media managers generally see more than a 200% higher return on ad spend.

If the platform that you’re evaluating claims to be fully autonomous, run. Fully automated platforms cannot take in the nuances and unique situations of your campaign goals. We’ll help you breathe easy.

Leverage First-Party Data in Concert With Third-Party Information

If we are being transparent, most players in the programmatic space in ABM have access to the same third-party data sources. That means that the data is often a commodity and not as accurate as you need it to be. A platform like Terminus has advanced scoring methods that require higher confidence thresholds to validate the accuracy of the third-party data and will reject it if it doesn’t meet your accuracy standards. While our own best practice is to reject data with an accuracy rate of less than 80%, some less sophisticated platforms keep the lower-quality data to show scale and focus on quantity over quality.

In addition to asking questions about which third-party data vendors they use, you’ll want to focus your search on vendors that:

  • Have first-party data sources that help score and validate the third-party data
  • Focus on integrated technology that will leverage your first-party assets for targeting
  • Are committed to constantly innovating on post-cookie alternatives like Unified ID 2.0, which leverages contact-level email for targeting

Without those priorities, third party data won’t get you very far, or in front of the audiences that you’re trying to reach for much longer.

Recognize That Intent Is Not the Silver Bullet That You’ve Been Waiting For

I wish I had better news, but I don’t. While Terminus does leverage intent data and has many case studies proving its ROI, intent data has three best common use cases:

  • Right-sizing your programmatic budget to prioritize your media spend across accounts that are exhibiting interest in particular topics
  • Personalizing targeted content with the most relevant information to increase engagement
  • Qualifying prospective accounts by using intent data as a layer to understand if they meet your ICP and are showing the propensity to buy

Intent can definitely play a role in your strategy, but it isn’t a quick fix, or a long-term stand-alone strategy. We believe that 55% of self-guided research is done before people show intent as buyers; so if you’re primarily building your strategy around intent as a starting point, and not driving awareness to hidden buyers, then you’re already behind the curve.

Focus On Targeting and Quieting the Noise Around B2B/B2C

You may have heard a great deal of debate and questioning around B2C vs B2B demand-side platforms (DSP) and which is better. The answer is that a DSP is what it is, regardless of whether you’re using it in a B2C or B2B space. A DSP is a platform that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple exchanges at one time. HOW we help you use it is where it gets good.

Platforms that proclaim that you need a B2B-specific DSP are wrong. That’s like saying that you need a special cell phone to make work calls and another phone to make personal calls. It’s just not the case. The phone—or in this case, the DSP—will call anyone you tell it to call if you put in the right data.

Don’t Forget to Focus On Brand Awareness and Laying the Groundwork

Our best practice analytics tell us that 40% of your budget should be allocated toward always-on brand awareness. I like to use a 40-40-20 rule for budget distribution across top-, mid-, and bottom-of-funnel initiatives:

If you take 100 accounts at any given time, there are typically around 30 that are showing intent and five that are in an active-deal cycle. So what about the other 65 accounts? These are your passive researchers or general consumers of media, but you can lean into this being an opportunity to build credibility and brand awareness. It’s a great way to hit those 65 accounts with helpful resources, blogs, industry studies, and thought leadership pieces so that they keep their eyes open and come to recognize your brand.

Now Is the Time to Start

You need a team that will help you strategize, target, execute, and win at the ABM game—which is why we’ve built a platform that will help you understand and reach your customers at every step in the customer lifecycle.

At the end of the day, digital advertising is about targeting the right audience (with accuracy), delivering the right content (to your relevant audience), and all at the right time wherever your customers are. Drop me a note when you’re ready to dive in or elevate the programmatic ad piece of your marketing game. We’ll help you do big things, align your efforts with sales and CS, and show killer ROI to your leadership team.


Tenisha Griggs is a Vice President and Head of Global Marketing at Terminus. She is often referred to as the Terminus GOAT. You can find her on LinkedIn for more insight on B2B Advertising and ABM.