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B2B digital ad spend growth will slow while social, display, and mobile gain ground

What’s happening? B2B digital ad spend growth is leveling out after a pandemic boom. Throughout our forecast period, YoY growth will be slower than the years immediately preceding the pandemic. But significant shifts are happening in the way advertisers spend on digital ads.

How does this affect B2B advertisers? They may need to adjust their strategies to effectively reach younger B2B buyers who spend more time on mobile devices and respond to eye-catching imagery on social media. Advertisers can also support their campaigns by using newer generative AI (genAI) tools to customize and personalize ad copy, which can significantly improve their own productivity as well as their return on ad spend (ROAS).

  • Our latest estimates project an even greater shift to digital media. We revised our ad spend estimates down slightly from last year due to overall market conditions and information from our B2B sources. However, digital’s share of B2B ad dollars will continue to increase—from 43.5% in 2022 to 44.5% in 2023—and will do so for the foreseeable future.
  • Social media platforms are top destinations for B2B digital ad buyers. The top two channels in the digital ad spending space are LinkedIn and Meta. Together, they’ll capture more than 37% of all B2B digital ad spend in 2023.
  • Display will dominate search by 2024. B2B video ads will help drive up display’s growth rate, with YouTube accounting for 15.0% of B2B video ad spending in 2023. LinkedIn also contributes heavily to display; it has captured at least 40% of all B2B display ad spending since 2021.
  • B2B buyers expect a more consumer-like, digital, self-serve experience. Many are remote workers or in the office only a few days a week. They’re on the move, communicating and checking emails and social activity on mobile devices. Further, these buyers are part of large buying committees consisting of multiple buyer personas, needs, and experiences. They may not even be in the market to make a purchase, or are spending more time making buying decisions.
  • GenAI is helping reach future and in-market buyers. Using AI and machine learning for bid decisions and optimization has been around for a while. But genAI is starting to have a dramatic impact on content creation for B2B digital ads. AI-generated ads can be more personalized and engaging than human-generated ads, which can help deliver a higher ROAS. GenAI is also helping B2B firms with brand awareness. Brand campaigns are on the rise and genAI is helping advertisers stand out through personalized messaging.