If you aren’t already aware by now, putting account-based in front of anything signifies a significant shift in approach; best explained through fishing, it’s the transition from casting a wide net and hoping to catch…to picking up a spear and doing the catching yourself! Quality over quantity…and that’s exactly how account based advertising works.
What is Account Based Advertising?
Account based advertising (ABA) is an approach to digital display advertising that focuses on influencing a specific list of target accounts that matter the most to you.
ABA does-away with the wasted and costly efforts of traditional advertising, which uses generalised messaging to appeal to a vast audience with the hope of reaching as many future customers as possible.
Retargeting Vs Pre-targeting (ABA)
ABA takes the initiative on how much exposure your target accounts have to your adverts and works in a similar way to “website retargeting”. If you don’t currently know what that is, don’t panic, chances are you have experienced web retargeting without realising!
Have you ever noticed that after you have been shopping online, you start to notice the very same things that you were shopping for in adverts on other web pages?
What a coincidence!
Except, it isn’t a coincidence. What’s happening is called web retargeting, a form of online advertising that serves to keep a brand in front of bounced web traffic.
Retargeting is a cookie-based technology that anonymously ‘follows’ your audience all over the web. When a visitor comes to your site they receive a browser cookie (not the edible kind!)… Later, as they continue to browse the web, the cookie will allow your retargeting provider to know when and where to serve ads.
This ensures that your ads are served only to people that have previously expressed interest in your site/service/product, at the times when they are exposed to advertising space. Highly efficient.
The important thing to note is that retargeting is only able to impact the conversion chances of people that have chosen to visit your website. ABA does things differently, you use a pre-targeting cookie that doesn’t require your audience to have previously visited your website!
This cookie uses the IP addresses of your target accounts in order to track them as they browse the web. In the same way as retargeting, you are then able to automatically fill up the advertising space of the websites they visit, as they visit. You are advertising to them, in the places that they choose to visit which increases awareness a lot more effectively. The crucial difference is that ABA is able to efficiently advertise to your audience regardless of previous exposure, it’s proactive.
Messaging that matters
So, you’re selecting the best accounts to advertise to and you’re only advertising to them on websites as and when they visit. With that, you can focus on making sure your adverts are as appealing as possible to encourage clicks, and this is where ABA truly adds value.
With ABA you are able to fine tune your advert’s message to reflect the needs of each specific account, as well as consider where they are in their buying journey.
You might be thinking at this point…hang on, isn’t this sounding a lot like account based marketing (ABM)? You’re right to think so!
If you’re doing ABM then you already have your target accounts, you’re creating personalised and relevant messaging, and you’re timing your efforts across a shorter campaign having leveraged intent data. This intent data and account understanding is utilised when it comes to ensuring that your ABA is of the utmost relevance to your target accounts!
ABA is a form of digital display advertising that you need to be thinking about if you’re doing ABM. It enables you to win business with the companies you care about, quicker. You’ll be able to increase the velocity of your sales cycle by increasing the awareness and relevance of your adverts.
So how does the account based approach change the expectations around ROI?
Now that we are thinking account based, marketing and sales are finally talking the same language; but in order to be truly aligned, they need to share the same measurements of success. They need to be moving towards the same goal, generating revenue.
Click-through rates and impressions that would traditionally determine an advertising campaign as a success, are difficult to correlate directly to revenue. So ABA needs to be measured and held accountable to the same revenue goals as sales.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still get insights from click-through rate and impressions when doing ABA. In fact, they’re now more reliable than traditional advertising standards, as you know every click and impression is relevant as it’s someone from your target audience! Furthermore, Terminus state that click through rates are 6.3 times higher than the industry average of the traditional counterpart.
Once you’ve had an advertising campaign up and running for a while, compare the sales numbers from before the campaign began to what they currently are. This will indicate the impact your campaign is having and will give a fairly direct correlation to your advertising.
You may get engagement from a targeted future customer that doesn’t come directly from a click on your ad. They may have picked up the phone or gone directly to your site instead, but as you have targeted them, it is likely your ad peaked their interest. One way to measure this, is put a different phone number on the advert, so any calls you receive on that number, you know came as a direct result of your advertisement.
According to Terminus, ABA generates 28% more sales opportunities and shows a 59% increase in sales email open rates. That doesn’t sound too difficult to link to revenue now does it?
Ready, set, social
Social is not something to be overlooked in ABM, and LinkedIn is vital. Its many tools are what make it essential: Sales Navigator, paid advertising, and Matched Audiences.
Within the latter is account targeting, which is crucial to implement during ABA. It allows the user to insert a list of target accounts, then narrow down those companies’ employees using LinkedIn’s filters such as role, location, etc. From here, LinkedIn will cross reference your criteria across its massive database, so you can roll out either sponsored updates or sponsored in-mail knowing that they’re being seen by the right people.
That’s not to say other social networks can’t be used for ABA, Twitter and Facebook both have similar features in Tailored Audiences and Custom Audiences respectively; but LinkedIn is the business social network, and with job roles and companies readily available on their network, it’s the most logical place to start.
Guiding light in the content fog
Marketers everywhere have realised the importance of content marketing. The sudden demand for producing content has resulted in a downwards surge in quality, coupled with a large increase in quantity. Therefore, simply creating content and using social/search engines to drive buyers is no longer cutting it. However, if you can create content specific to your target accounts and their pain points, and use account-based advertising to precisely target them, then your content will have much more impact.
According to a DemandGen Report, 95% of buyers chose a solution provider that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process”, so it’s important to have advertising that helps the customer make a purchasing decision.
Take the ABA plunge!
The measurement for return on investment with ABA over traditional advertising methods are clear, but the best aspects of ABA aren’t in its metrics, they’re in the process. The problem with traditional advertising is it’s both expensive and comes with the acceptance that it’s inefficient, as the majority of people that see the ad aren’t in the right audience. But ABA allows you to drive greater impact with your target audience with less investment. Furthermore, as you know the people you’re targeting, you can be much more personalised in your approach.
This means that you’re much more capable of reaching your ICP accounts and the decision makers in those accounts than with other advertising methods. So don’t just chuck your advert out there and hope the right people get in touch, target your future customers with ABA!