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Your ABM display advertising pilot campaign is up and running; now how will you measure performance and success? How can you validate your efforts and show impact on revenue? These questions can be harder to answer than expected. That is because many of us come from a background in the world of lead and demand generation, where we were trained to focus on funnels or waterfalls, emphasizing metrics such as conversion rates, number of leads, and number of MQLs (marketing qualified leads). The metrics needed to properly evaluate ABM are quite different, with a focus on Coverage, Awareness, Reach, Engagement, and Impact. Let’s spend a few moments considering each metric.

1. Account Coverage: Which Accounts That You Want to Target Are Even Reachable? The first step in starting your ABM display advertising program is to identify your universe of target accounts. Before you commit to an ABM display ad platform, see if your proposed vendor can answer the following questions for you based on your master target list:

  • Which accounts on your master list are reachable with cookie targeting?
  • Which accounts are reachable with IP targeting?
  • Which accounts are unreachable via both cookie- and IP-based targeting?

The answers to these questions are vital to help you determine if you have a large enough target pool to construct an effective ABM display ad program. Also, will you have an adequate number of reachable accounts for each segment (industry, company size, sales region) so that you can develop a successful ABM display ad program that supports one or more specific sales teams?

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2. Account Awareness: Which Reachable Accounts Are a Priority for Driving Awareness? Now that you have answers to the Account Coverage question, you are ready to commit to a platform and select the specific accounts that you will set up for ABM display ad delivery. You need to determine that with this subset:

  • You will have necessary program budget available
  • Your demand gen and field marketing teams have identified it is the prime set of accounts that are likely to convert the fastest or have the greatest interest from the sales team

    These are the accounts with the greatest potential─where with display ad “air cover” chances of success are maximized for sales teams to secure conversations with buyers and influencers at the accounts when they are in the buying cycle.

3. Account Reach: Which Accounts Targeted Were Reached with ABM Display Ads? Unfortunately serving ABM ads is not an exact science. Available cookies vary from one account to another. Online cookies also expire over time and the numbers can fluctuate from one month to the next. Similarly, the available set of business IP ranges can also vary greatly across accounts. So you will want to track how many ads were delivered into each account and assess the distribution of your overall ad delivery across your target accounts.

Some key tips for effective account reach include:

  • Monitor which accounts were underserved with ads and set up a separate program to boost ad delivery.
  • Also, monitor overserved accounts. You may want to remove these accounts from your active audience segments. Then you should reallocate your media budget to enhance your existing target account lists.
  • Develop a process (along with your agency partners) to understand your account reach─regardless of targeting tactics (IPs, cookies, retargeting, social, email, etc.)
  • Correlate account reach to account engagement metrics (see Metric 4. Account Engagement) so once you have achieved the engagement goals for that account you can dial down ad delivery.
  • For IP targeting, expect longer pacing (i.e. duration of ad serving) to hit your volume goals in overseas markets (APAC, EMEA, LATAM) versus in North America.
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4. Account Engagement: Which Account Engaged via Ad Clicks and Website Visits? Your ABM display ad platform vendor should be able to provide some level of account engagement reporting that shows which prospects are showing interest in your brand, are engaging via clicks on your ads, or are visiting your website after viewing your ads. (A few vendors can even show details of anonymous website visits.) These reports should be able to be segmented by sales team, AE, or SDR─to enable these groups to prioritize their outreach. As marketing automation platforms start to offer core ABM capabilities, ask your ABM display ad provider about its plan to integrate its account-level engagement information into marketing automation and CRM platforms.

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5. Account Impact: Which Accounts That Engaged Became Opportunities or Deals? The hardest metric to measure is the impact of ABM display ad programs on the creation of new opportunities or on the acceleration of pipeline towards a closed/won deal. Proper measurement requires the application of both attribution and weightage to ABM display ad-based interactions from target accounts to the pipeline movement of those accounts in CRM.

Many B2B companies are leveraging B2B attribution platforms (Bizible, BrightFunnel) to begin to measure ABM display ad program impact more effectively. Marketing automation platforms (e.g. Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics) and CRM analytics tools (e.g. Full Cycle Insights) are other options for measuring overall ABM program impact─especially as your target accounts engage with your brand across multiple online channels.

ABM display ad has proven to be a quick and effective way for many companies to get started with account-based marketing overall. All you need to do is finalize a set of accounts that your sales team wants to engage quickly, serve up targeted ads to those accounts, and measure engagement and downstream revenue impact, through effective sales outreach. This can be accomplished in a matter of a few months as compared to other ABM programs which can take many months or a year to show progress and ROI.

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