B2B Media & Information Industry Up 2.7% to $28.35 Billion in 2015

Share |

Double digit growth in digital advertising/marketing services, resurgent events and a growing data and information services business drove overall revenue for the B2B media and information industry up 2.7 percent to $28.35 billion in 2015, compared to $27.6 billion in 2014, according to Connectiv’s Business Information Network, which calculates the size of the industry, aggregating the data for total industry revenue from partners reporting on revenue for digital advertising, conferences and trade shows, print advertising, and data and business information products.

Digital advertising and marketing services grew 17.4 percent to $6.3 billion. While digital advertising has occasionally eclipsed print on a quarterly basis in B2B, this is the closest yet that digital advertising has come to print advertising for an annual total. “Traditional” digital display advertising has plateaued for much of the industry but significant growth is being seen in the development of account based marketing and digital marketing services, as well as data-drive advertising packages and native advertising (which shows promise in B2B, although figuring out scalability will be the next challenge for publishers. Unlike consumer media, where native is typically sold on a CPM basis, B2B publishers are usually selling native as part of a sponsorship, with an average spend of $6,500, according to the Polar-Connectiv Business of Native Ads Report).

Events are the single largest revenue stream for many B2B publishers (and will be the single largest source of revenue for Connectiv members by 2020, according to the 2015 Connectiv Business Outlook Survey) and bounced back from a flat year in 2014 to grow 3.7 percent to $12.65 billion in 2015. While expositions continue to draw big dollars, B2B publishing is increasingly seeing revenue from a mix of conference-expo hybrids, hosted buyer events, awards programs and online learning and training.

Just three out of 22 vertical categories showed an increase in print advertising revenue in 2015, including Architecture (+3.7 percent), Healthcare (+1.7 percent), and Automotive (up less than 1 percent). However, total print advertising revenue dropped 4.1 percent to $6.4 billion. For a month-to-month and vertical-specific breakdown of B2B print performance provided by IMS, click here.

Data and information services cracked $3 billion for the first time, up 2.7 percent in 2015. Look for that number to grow significantly over the next four years—by 2020, the majority of Connectiv members will classify themselves as “business information services” rather than “business media,” and members say paid content, data and information services will be the second largest revenue stream after events. Business-to-business publishers have made an aggressive push to acquire data and information services in recent years, such as Winsight’s purchase of Technomic, which gave the publisher a custom consulting and advisory business for the food service market, syndicated market research studies and proprietary databases that can be used to pull specific data sets such as regional price differentiation. Winsight is also using Technomic’s data to bolster advertising sales packages and event content. Other companies such as B2B mainstay Hanley Wood, sold off its exhibitions business in late 2014 to focus on data and information services, while relative newcomers like Greentech Media are putting research and information services first, supported by media and events.   


Total Annual B2B Media Industry Revenue

$ billions


















Print advertising









Digital advertising










Data / Business Info








2.7 %










Source: Connectiv’s BIN Report

The BIN report combines data from several sources. Event revenue is supplied by CEIR; print advertising data is provided by publishing service bureau IMS. Data on B2B digital advertising is estimated by Connectiv based on information provided by the IAB and the data component of the BIN report is provided by Outsell, supplemented by publicly available data and Connectiv estimates. 



Matt Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.