Report: B2B Advertising Trends in 2018

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Last week MediaRadar released a free report on B2B Advertising in 2018: In Print | Online | Elsewhere.

Among the findings,

  • Total B2B ad spending was flat as a whole in 2018.
  •  However, online rose to 27 percent of the marketing budget for B2B advertisers, up from 19 percent in 2017.   
  • B2B advertisers are less likely than consumer advertisers to buy cross-platform. Just 11 percent of B2B advertisers bought cross-platform, while 56 percent of B2B advertisers bought only print ads, while 33 percent of advertisers bought only digital (suggesting those sticking with print are more likely to only participate in print, while those buying digital are open to other platforms).
  •  Among B2B publishers who saw a decline in print last year, 60 percent saw an increase in online revenue.   
  •  Brand categories spending the most on print include Agriculture/Farming Equipment, Diabetes Prescription Drugs, Medical Devices, Real Estate
  • Brand categories spending the most on digital include Prescription Medication, Investment Firms, Cloud Computing, Medical Devices, Laboratory Equipment/Services
  • In Q4 of 2018, 75 percent of digital B2B ads were placed directly, against just 25 percent programmatic placements. In the first quarter of 2017, however, the split was 58 percent to 42 percent in favor of direct.


A recurring theme among Connectiv members is that digital display is no longer driving growth (and increases in “traditional” digital advertising is driven by retargeting). At a recent Connectiv Digital Media Council meeting on Ad Formats That Perform In the Days of Google Ad Bockers, MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman noted that in April 2017, less than half of B2B publishers were worried about the new standards proposed by Google and the Coalition for Better Ads, but by April 2019, 66 percent of those same publishers have been affected by ads being blocked for not conforming (to see a replay of the meeting, including case studies on how publishers are coming up with new ad formats, click here).

Much of the digital growth seen by Connectiv members is now coming from marketing services programs (recently, Industry Dive told Connectiv that marketing services make up 20 percent of its revenue while digital display is less than 10 percent, while Questex says that over the half of the new double digital growth it’s seeing comes from marketing services).  

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.