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What is account-based marketing today and how has the space evolved?

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B2B marketers have employed account-based marketing (ABM) for well over a decade, of course, but the space has evolved rapidly over the past two to three years.

Factors driving changes in ABM include shifts in buyer preferences and pre-purchase behavior, as well as the development of more sophisticated technology and data products that enable marketers to analyze behavior, identify in-market audiences, and craft experiences for a buying group or its individual members.

Additionally, the COVID pandemic accelerated fundamental shifts in the B2B buying cycle by forcing events and in-person meetings to go virtual. A survey by the IT Sales and Marketing Association (ITSMA) found 27% of the marketing budget dedicated to ABM in 2021, with 75% of those surveyed saying they planned to increase spending on ABM in 2022.

Even a return to the “new normal,” however unlikely that may current seem, isn’t expected to slow the growth of ABM, because the trends driving the changes in buyer behavior have long been brewing.

How B2B buying has changed

For some time, B2B buyers have conducted substantial research online before talking to a salesperson, and the vast amount of information available to buyers has given them an upper hand. The lockdowns, canceled events and work-from-home trends that characterized the pandemic period exaggerated this phenomenon, and, even as in-person opportunities return, the buying cycle has been forever changed.

Last year, Forrester Research found the average number of buying interactions occurring during the purchase process soared by 10 to 27 in 2021. This trend shows that buyers are determined to do their due diligence before making purchase decisions, raising the importance of the personalized, targeted experiences enabled by ABM technologies.

1657817543 385 What is account based marketing today and how has the space

Digital engagement, Salesforce notes in its most recent “State of the Connected Customer”
report, “hit a tipping point” in 2021, when an estimated 60% of interactions took place online,
compared to 42% the year before.

This shift from a reactive to proactive marketing approach is working well for many B2B
companies.

Read next: A deep dive into changes in the ABM space — our new ABM Marketing Intelligence Report

The vendors respond

A great number of ABM vendors provide everything from all-in-one platforms to enable ABM strategies, to adjacent services like data enrichment, identity resolution, analytics, and interaction management/orchestration to B2B marketers ramping up their programs. The more comprehensive platforms come from B2B mainstays such as Dun & Bradstreet, Salesforce and Marketo, which share the space with a growing group of independent ABM platforms including 6Sense, Integrate, Demandbase, Bombora, Jabmo, RollWorks (a division of NextRoll), N. Rich, MRP, Madison Logic, Terminus and more.

Here are seven of the top developments we are monitoring:

1. Platforms, not point solutions

Where the ABM landscape dominated by point solutions offering specific elements of the mix, but now, through partnerships, consolidation and technological development, many vendors offer more comprehensive solutions.

2. Consolidation of ABM and demand gen

Another notable development among ABM vendors is the move to consolidate ABM with demand generation. Many vendors are buying into the vision of eliminating the distinction between these two elements of B2B selling and are developing the tools to enable marketers to carry it out. For example, Demandbase calls this convergence its “Smarter Go-To Market” offering, while Kwanzoo
expects a B2B Go-To Market suite — anchored by its B2B GTM platform — to become standard.
Madison Logic calls its solution “Journey Acceleration,” and Salesforce expects businesses
to align all of their customer-facing activity (marketing, sales and customer service) on the
Salesforce Customer 360 Platform. Meanwhile, Terminus and Dun & Bradstreet are unifying
around a CDP.

3. More M&A

Most vendors we surveyed expect merger and acquisition activity to pick up in the space as the larger players build more comprehensive platforms. Inflation worries, interest rate hikes and general economic uncertainty are also factors here, since they all contribute to a less-attractive IPO market, leading venture-funded companies to seek M&A opportunities.

4. Deeper investments in AI

In addition to consolidating their tool sets, vendors are also investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI) to deepen the data insights available through their tools, as well as the targeting and relevance of marketing execution. More vendors have introduced recommendation engines that analyze multiple data sources to provide “next-best-actions” based on account intent and behavior signals.

5. Help for the sales team

To enhance the alignment between B2B sales and marketing teams, vendors are also adding sales enablement tools that automatically activate sales triggers based on CRM account reporting, and provide lead-to-account mapping, for example. The goal is to streamline the “hand-off” of leads from marketing to sales.

6. Efficiency across channels

Interaction management, or orchestration, is a key feature for many ABM vendors profiled in this report, which are expanding the number of channels that can be managed through their tools. Vendors are building out APIs and increasing the availability of native (outof-the-box) integrations with CRMs, marketing automation systems, digital ad networks and other ABM data providers.

7. The growing importance of compliance

While data unquestionably drives value, it can also create difficulties with complying
with privacy regulations especially for those businesses looking to take their ABM programs
global. This is why many vendors touted their capabilities for data management and compliance
as they gear up to support global marketing initiatives.

Download Enterprise Account-Based Marketing Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide

Account-based marketing: A snapshot

What it is. Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a B2B marketing strategy that aligns sales and marketing efforts to focus on high-value accounts. 

This customer acquisition strategy focuses on delivering promotions — advertising, direct mail, content syndication, etc. — to targeted accounts. Individuals who may be involved in the purchase decision are targeted in a variety of ways, in order to soften the earth for the sales organization. 

Why it’s hot. Account-based marketing addresses changes in B2B buyer behavior. Buyers now do extensive online research before contacting sales, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of marketing’s tasks in an ABM strategy is to make certain its company’s message is reaching potential customers while they are doing their research. 

Why we care. Account engagement, win rate, average deal size, and ROI increase after implementing account-based marketing, according to a recent Forrester/SiriusDecisions survey. While B2B marketers benefit from that win rate, ABM vendors are also reaping the benefits as B2B marketers invest in these technologies and apply them to their channels.

Read next: What is ABM and why are B2B marketers so bullish on it?


About The Author

20 questions to ask digital asset management platform vendors during

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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