Programmtic Advertising

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Geofencing for ABM

Experts are enthusiastic about the possible uses of geofencing in B2B sales, though at present there has been little to no use in the SaaS sector. Due to a paucity of sources discussing geofencing specifically in the context of marketing SaaS, we have included sources that discuss B2B geofencing marketing more generally with the understanding that there would be considerable overlap. While we expanded our research to include programmatic advertising, this did not provide any examples of SaaS companies using the technology and so our findings are focused on geofencing.

Choosing the Fenced Areas

  • Geofencing can be used to target a specific business, placing "an online banner aimed exclusively at people working at the address" one wishes to target.
  • Since businesses often cluster together, serving targeted ads to specific business parks is an excellent way to inform likely customers of one's brand, offers, and content as a part of one's ABM strategy.

Segmentation and Account-Based Marketing

  • A Data Management Platform (DMP) can use the data gathered from ABM (both geofencing and IP targeting) to provide "advanced real-time audience segmentation" and other audience intelligence.
  • This could be used, for example, to only target those who enter a building several times a week to target a business's employees rather than their customers, or targeting specific employees within an organization as they are identified.
  • Other possible segmentation includes "intent data, their demographic, firmographic, technographic, psychographic & cookie-data."
  • In a B2B setting, ABM combines demographic data from multiple sources with geofencing to target key decision-makers in a company "based on the technographic, firmographic & psychographic data of the prospects."
  • This generates more conversions — not only final sales conversions but stepping stones such as earning more newsletter subscribers among decision-makers and tailoring the newsletter to match their needs and generate more sales down the line.

Claimed Benefits

While hard data on the benefits of B2B geofencing is few and far between (likely due to the technology's relative newness), there are a few claims made by its proponents:
  • 70% of B2B marketers are willing to share their location in return for useful information on their buying habits.
  • 80% of users of location-based services are interested in receiving alerts from the companies they have expressed interest in.
  • One geofencing marketing company claims that geofencing at a local level (e.g., a section within a convention) achieves 97% more advertising efficiency that simply targeting a one-mile radius.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Geofencing for Event Marketing

While geofencing is quickly becoming a popular means for event organizers to track participants and has demonstrated some effectiveness in marketing at events, there are almost no references to it being used by the SaaS sector. In fact, references to its use in B2B marketing and sales events are relatively rare and are almost entirely focused on the trade show. Due to a paucity of sources discussing geofencing specifically in the context of marketing SaaS, we have included sources that discuss B2B geofencing marketing more generally with the understanding that there would be considerable overlap. We expanded our research to include programmatic advertising, and this produced some sources which referenced both, but did not produce any examples specific to the SaaS sector.

Early Days for Geofencing

  • Significantly, a very recent report on the rising expectations of clients regarding their B2B digital experiences does not mention either geofencing or programmatic advertising at all; we, therefore, infer that the use of geofencing in any B2B application, SaaS or otherwise, is still very much in its early days.
  • The market is new enough that there seems to be little attempt to target specific industries or sectors at this point; while SaaS providers are sometimes mentioned, this is rare and always in passing; consequently, there is little information on how SaaS providers specifically are using geofencing or programmatic advertising to enhance their event marketing strategy.
  • Expanding from SaaS to a more general search on geofencing and B2B vendors, we found that while geofencing marketing firms do market themselves to vendors seeking B2B clients, there is little innovation to be found; in fact, every geofencing firm studied touts the use of the technology in only one event environment for B2B marketing: trade shows.
  • Even there, most of the discussion of geofencing in conjunction with events is focused on how organizers can use the technology to create shorter lines, better control crowd flow, and generate more data on their participants, the same technology has been marketed for B2B vendors for at least the last two years.

Geofencing in Trade Shows and Conferences

  • Geofencing can be used to target digital ads at trade shows — not only within the area of the trade show itself but even to specific areas within the show; e.g., the area around a specific booth.
  • This can be used to draw an audience to one's booth via targeted and timely ads that can reach prospects via social media, apps, and popular websites.
  • One geofencing marketing company claims that going down to this level achieves 97% more advertising efficiency that simply targeting a one-mile radius.
  • As noted by JumpFactor, "This approach is more effective if the show is catering to a hyper-focused niche like the one you’re going after in your ABM campaign."

Beyond Attending Trade Shows

  • Geofencing can also be used to target shows that one will not be attending, but which reaches the desired target audience.
  • One company targeted not only the event location, but local hotels, enabling them "to get in front of an international audience with a strong frequency to create awareness of the brand and booth location."

Other Events

  • While geofencing is often touted as a solution to a wide variety of event venues, from sporting events to concerts to festivals and other conventions, we find no instances where venues apart from trade shows are suggested for B2B marketing, let alone SaaS marketing. At present, other venues seem to be the focus only for B2C marketing.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

SaaS and Geofencing / Programmatic Advertising

Geofencing and programmatic advertising are relatively new technologies and, while the possible usages in a B2B environment are often discussed, there are relatively few case studies available in the public domain, none of which fit the criteria of a SaaS company. Below is a brief overview of our findings, research strategy, and our hypothesis as to why case studies may not yet be available to the public.

Useful Findings

  • It is significant that a very recent report on the rising expectations of clients regarding their B2B digital experiences does not mention either geofencing or programmatic advertising at all; we, therefore, infer that the use of geofencing in any B2B application, SaaS or otherwise, is still very much in its early days.
  • While geofencing is often touted as a solution to a wide variety of event venues, from sporting events to concerts to festivals and other conventions, the innovation seen in its application in a B2C environment does not yet seem to have penetrated the B2B environment, let alone the SaaS sector.
  • Consequently, sources that discuss the use of geofencing and programmatic advertising in a B2B environment are more theoretical than case study-based, and while there are exceptions, we found none that are within the SaaS sector.
  • We hypothesize, based on the existing data, that geofencing has not yet proven particularly effective as a marketing strategy for SaaS companies and, therefore, marketing and ad tech companies have not yet published successful examples as case studies.

Research Strategy

Our initial research (embodied in two of the other briefs in this project) did not discover any case studies that fit the project criteria of a mid-large sized SaaS company still in its growth phase successfully utilizing geofencing and/or programmatic advertising. Indeed, for reasons explained in our other briefs, we did not locate any examples involving any SaaS company of any size. A quick search of the sites previously discovered also failed to yield any suitable case-studies.

Therefore, we took a two-pronged approach. In our first prong, we focused on locating case studies from a marketing/media standpoint. We searched the case studies of ad tech companies like MediaRadar, JumpFactor, and ThumbVista, and the archives of marketing awards sites like the Effie Awards, WARC, and Creative Brief. The only examples in which geofencing took part in a larger marketing campaign in these case studies all proved to be B2C and by companies that could not possibly be considered SaaS firms. As one example, Radar.io published a case study describing how they assisted web store company Ibotta with a targeted campaign that included geofencing. However, a web store is not a SaaS, and it did not seem proper to attempt to stretch the criteria that far. Likewise, MediaRadar has published several case studies of how they assisted various SaaS companies, including MailChimp and Monday.com, but none involved geofencing or programmatic advertising.

As the second prong of our attack, we pulled articles and case studies on geofencing and programmatic advertising from mainline business publications from CIO Magazine to Entrepreneur to the B2B News Network to the B2B Marketing Zone, among others. Again, we found plenty of articles on geofencing and programmatic advertising in the context of B2B marketing, but none detailed how a SaaS company had successfully used the technology to reach their clients.

As noted in our previous briefs, while geofencing is seen as an excellent way to, for example, target a particular office park or trade show with ads, most of the innovation in this technology has been on the B2C side. While we cannot prove it, we hypothesize that geofencing has not yet produced the sort of results in the SaaS sector that make for a good case study for a marketing or ad tech firm, nor has it been used in some innovative ways seen in the B2C consumer sector. Consequently, we are unable to complete this request.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Programmatic / Geofencing Priorities

As can be seen below and in the provided Google document, there is no strong evidence in the public domain that programmatic advertising and/or geofencing will be a priority for SaaS businesses in the United States in the next one to five years. The most helpful sources only indicate that a small percentage of SaaS marketers will increase spending on programmatic advertising, and that SaaS marketers are increasingly using native advertising, video advertising, social media advertising, mobile advertising, and audience targeting. Information specific to mid-size or large SaaS business is not available.

Helpful Findings

  • According to Hanapin Marketing, an Indiana-based digital marketing agency, 16% of SaaS marketers will increase their budget for programmatic advertising in the next 12 months.
  • California-based marketing agency 310 Creative reports that trends in SaaS marketing include the growing use of native advertising and video marketing, while Vancouver-based Riverbed Marketing reports that trends in SaaS marketing include the growing use of native advertising, social media advertising, video advertising, and mobile advertising.
  • Given the preceding finding and the fact that increased spending on video advertising, social media advertising, native advertising, and mobile advertising drives growth in programmatic advertising, it can be assumed that spending on programmatic advertising among SaaS companies will also increase.
  • Hanapin Marketing reports that SaaS marketers are increasingly paying attention to audience targeting. Given this trend and the fact that geofencing is some form of customer targeting, it is likely that SaaS companies will soon explore geofencing for location-based marketing (e.g., targeting people entering an event venue).

Research Strategy

To determine if the desired statistics are readily available in the public domain, we checked first if there are surveys of SaaS companies and their marketing priorities and strategies. We checked as well if there are articles or reports that directly provide the needed data points or list SaaS companies' marketing or advertising priorities. Unfortunately, this initial strategy led us to only one relevant source. Hanapin Marketing, a digital marketing agency based in Indiana, recently released its report Paid Advertising Trends for SaaS Marketers, and there are a few details in this report that offer insights into (a) the percentage of SaaS marketers who plan to increase their budget for programmatic advertising and (b) the increased focus of SaaS marketers on audience targeting.

Since our initial strategy produced very limited results, we proceeded with examining trends in SaaS advertising or marketing. We figured that by looking at trends, we might be able to determine if programmatic advertising and/or geofencing will be a priority for SaaS companies in the coming years. There are a few articles covering SaaS marketing trends or the future of SaaS marketing, particularly those published by California-based marketing agency 310 Creative, Washington-based digital marketing agency Riserr, and Vancouver-based B2B marketing agency Riverbed Marketing, but unfortunately, there is no mention of programmatic advertising or geofencing in these articles. From these articles, we only learned of the growing use of native advertising, video marketing, social media marketing, and mobile marketing.

Given the lack of information on the subject, we tried several other strategies. We looked at whether budgets for programmatic advertising and geofencing have increased and whether there are specific SaaS companies that are using programmatic advertising or geofencing. We were unable, however, to find sources that touch on these topics. There are articles, particularly those published by Missouri-based marketing and communications agency V3B, Massachusetts-based growth platform HubSpot, and New York-based private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, that cover where SaaS marketers are spending money and what proven marketing strategies SaaS companies are using to grow, but there is no information specific to programmatic advertising or geofencing.

Finally, we turned our attention to the drivers of growth in programmatic advertising and geofencing/location-based marketing, and looked at how they relate to trends in SaaS marketing. From an article published by eMarketer, a New York-based provider of digital marketing insights, we learned that investments in video advertising, social media advertising, native advertising, and mobile advertising all drive growth in programmatic advertising. And from an article published by Tribute Media, an Idaho-based web marketing agency, we learned that geofencing is some form or customer targeting and is used in location-based marketing.

All in all, while information specific to programmatic advertising and/or geofencing in the SaaS industry is in short supply, there are signs that SaaS companies will increase their spending on programmatic advertising and customer targeting.
Sources
Sources