How to Measure the Effectiveness of Account-Based Advertising (September 2019)

Digital Marketers Are Looking at Advertising Through an Account-Based Lens

How do you measure the impact of your digital advertising campaigns? Traditionally, B2B marketers have focused on direct response metrics like click-through rate, cost per thousand impressions, and cost per lead. While these KPIs certainly have value, they aren’t enough to demonstrate how you’re driving results through display advertising. After all, you would never stand up in front of your executive team and declare how impactful your ad CTRs have been on the business.

That’s why savvy digital marketers are taking a different approach to advertising and measurement. Instead of focusing on generating leads, they’re using account-based advertising to create engagement with the right people at their target accounts.

Why Account-Based Advertising?

So, why are more B2B companies shifting their advertising efforts away from broad-based display ads and toward account based marketing benchmarks?

Account-based advertising is unique because it’s highly targeted and it’s proactive.

It enables you to reach the entire buying committee at your target accounts, including the contacts that are not in your CRM and have never been to your website. You can use technology like Terminus to accurately segment your audience based on attributes like company, industry, job title, and stage in the sales cycle so they’re always receiving the precise message you want them to see. And when you know exactly who you’re putting your ads in front of, you can feel confident you’re not wasting advertising dollars targeting the wrong audience.

Remember: digital advertising alone is not a complete account-based strategy. Your ads should complement other tactics like email marketing, direct mail, events, and one-to-one outreach from your sales team.

Smarter Measurement with ABM

When you know your ads are being seen by the right accounts, you don’t need to focus on how many leads they generate. Instead, B2B marketers have shifted to measuring more impactful KPIs that tell the story of an account’s journey through the buying process.

On the other hand, when marketers rely on clicks, conversions, and leads as key metrics, it’s difficult to get a full picture of a campaign’s impact.

Think about it like this. Broad-based display ads typically result in click-through rates around 0.06%. And while different reports cite the average conversion rate on B2B landing pages to be anywhere between 2–13%, let’s go with an optimistic 13%. If 13,000 people see your ad and 0.06% of them click on it, about 8 people will end up on your landing page. At an industry-leading conversion rate of 13%, that gives you one single form fill — which may or may not come from a qualified lead.

The average click-through rate that Terminus customers see with their account-based ads is 0.11%. That means Terminus campaigns drive, on average, twice as many clicks as broad-based display ads. That on its own is incredibly valuable, but the ability to measure the value of unclicked impressions is where account-based advertising really shines.

Historically, it’s been difficult to measure the impact of the other 12,992 impressions. But with account-based advertising, every ad impression you serve should go to the right personas at your target accounts. Therefore, there is power in every single impression.

Impressions served to the right audience don’t always result in a click, but they do drive website engagement from those accounts through influence. Because even though the person didn’t click your ad, the next time they’re thinking about a solution like the one you offer, your brand is more likely to be the first they recollect.

And when more contacts in your target accounts engage with your brand, those accounts will progress at a higher and faster rate through the funnel, eventually turning into closed-won deals.

So, how can you prove these correlations? How can you measure influence? Using this Account-Based Advertising Engagement Journey as your framework, you can easily show how your campaigns are driving meaningful results at each step of the process.

Demonstrate the Value of Targeted Display Impressions

There are three stages of this engagement journey, each with its own distinct metrics for measuring account-based advertising success: target, engage, and accelerate.

Let’s take a look at what each of these stages means and how you can demonstrate the impact of targeted ad impressions to your executive team using the Terminus ABM platform.

Target: Account-Level Ad Metrics

Account-based advertising is unique because it allows you to serve targeted ads to the right personas at the right accounts. When you launch a campaign with Terminus, you can select the precise companies and departments you want to reach with your ads — for example, senior decision-makers in the HR department at a list of top-tier accounts.

By targeting only accounts that you know are a good fit for your solution, your advertising budget will go further with better click-through rates, lower cost per impression, lower cost per click, and the knowledge that ads are only being served to people you want to see them.* You’ll also see better results from your ads — both at the campaign level and the account level.

Remember: while traditional advertising metrics like impressions and clicks are valuable, they only tell one part of the engagement story. To prove that your ads are having an impact beyond the click, you need to demonstrate that they’re driving your target accounts to engage with high-value content on your website.

Engage: Web Engagement Metrics

We’ve covered the importance of measuring clicks — but how can you show that the 99.9% of ad impressions that don’t drive clicks still have value? As we all know, advertising drives both direct results (clicks) and indirect results (for example, the user shifts to organic search or a direct site visit after seeing an ad).

As B2B marketers ditch leads as their core KPI, the focus has shifted to a new measure of success: account engagement. The clearest way to track account engagement is by measuring how a target account interacts with your webpages, including event sign-up pages, product information, personalized or targeted content hubs, and so on.

In Terminus, you can use Account-Based Visitor ID to report on site visits from your target accounts. Because we use reverse IP lookups coupled with our B2B Account Graph technology to do this, you can even see data from visitors who have not filled out a form to identify themselves.

With Account-Based Visitor ID, you can see:

  • the number of visitors from an account.
  • how often they’ve visited the site.
  • which pages they’ve visited.
  • when they last visited each page.

This means you can see when your target accounts’ web engagement increases as a result of your Terminus advertising campaigns and other ABM efforts. Look for an uptick in engagement rates, total visits, visitors per account, pages per visit, and visits on high-value pages on your website after an account has been served ads. These metrics demonstrate that your ads are driving web traffic from the right accounts, even from individuals who don’t immediately click.

Using these KPIs, our own marketing team found that in one quarter, target accounts that were shown Terminus ads engaged with our website at over 4X the rate of target accounts that weren’t in a Terminus campaign.

Even better, engagement can trigger your sales development team to actively work an account rather than relying on form fills to activate follow-up. When your sales reps see exactly how their accounts are engaging with your site using Terminus’ account intelligence, they’ll have the information they need to initiate relevant one-to-one outreach and get your target buyers even more engaged.

This, in turn, leads to the account progressing through the marketing and sales funnel faster toward closed-won.

Accelerate: Pipeline and Revenue Metrics

Engagement is a strong predictor of an account becoming a sales opportunity and moving forward in the sales process. This progression is typically tracked by measuring an increase in conversion rates and pipeline velocity — in other words, are more accounts moving to the next positive stage of the sales cycle? How quickly?

Here’s an example. The WP Engine team launched an A/B test to understand the impact their account-based advertising campaigns have on pipeline and account progression. Half of their target accounts were placed in a Terminus campaign two weeks ahead of, as well as during, SDR outreach. The other half received the same SDR touchpoints and messaging without any account-based advertising.

The results? WP Engine found that the accounts in the Terminus campaign converted to opportunities at a 28% higher rate than accounts that did not see Terminus ads. This increase in efficiency was a game-changer for pipeline creation. Simply by adding Terminus as an additional channel, they could convert more accounts to opportunities.

These metrics are marketing gold. They paint the complete picture of how account-based advertising results in more pipeline. Beyond that, many of our customers find that by increasing engagement with more of the buying committee early in the sales process, their accounts progress through the funnel at a faster rate and with higher ACV.

These are the numbers you can bring to your executive team to prove that your digital ads are having a real, measurable impact on pipeline and revenue.

Drive and Report on ABM Results with the Terminus Platform

Terminus offers the most powerful ad targeting and ABM reporting that spans the entire buying process. By proactively driving engagement from the right people at the right accounts, your marketing team can support sales like never before.

*While industry averages for cost per thousand impressions and cost per click range between $8-20 and $3-18, respectively, Terminus customers average $10.62 cost per thousand impressions and $9.32 cost per click.