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Database software company ZoomInfo is integrating with demand-side platform (DSP) The Trade Desk to let its business-to-business marketer customers programmatically buy ads with more breadth and precision than before, with the aim of driving revenue.
ZoomInfo’s main business line is a business-to-business (B2B) database, containing contact and other business information. Last year, following the acquisition of DSP Clickagy, the company launched MarketingOS, an in-house DSP where B2B marketers could buy ads.
MarketingOS specializes in account-based marketing (ABM), where the unit of targeting is groups of individuals who work for the same company. Traditional DSPs target specific individuals (though MarketingOS can also filter by contacts or personas to build audiences). ABM is one of the fundamental ways B2B marketing differs from campaigns targeting consumers.
“The Trade Desk is the largest independent DSP,” said Bryan Law, chief marketing officer at ZoomInfo. “It gives us incredible reach, quality, … and assets to build on. It’s a significant expansion of our capabilities.”
MarketingOS is now undergirded by The Trade Desk’s technology, released with ZoomInfo’s standard monthly release cycle Aug. 15 at no additional charge to customers. This will let ZoomInfo customers access tens of thousands more publishers, especially those outside the U.S., and including premium publishers like Disney+ and ESPN+, according to a spokesperson. ZoomInfo customers will also have access to more channels; previously, ZoomInfo’s MarketingOS only let advertisers buy across display and social channels, and now audio, connected TV, video and native placements are available.
For the Trade Desk, the deal validates the primacy of its tech for emerging advertising players.
“[With the Trade Desk], our partners on the enterprise side can plug in via API to all those inventory sources, as opposed to doing 50 plus supply integrations with various SSPs,” said Rob Haile, senior director of channel and enterprise solutions at The Trade Desk. “It makes us an attractive, single point of integration.”
The deal comes as programmatic advertising is expanding its reach into new verticals, including shopper marketing with retailers, out-of-home, and B2B, which is newer to digital advertising, sources said.
The rise of B2B programmatic
“Traditionally, the world of programmatic and B2B didn’t intersect a whole lot,” said George Tarnopolsky, vp of programmatic at independent media agency Good Apple, who noted that the majority of large B2B customer relationship management software firms don’t have tech to buy ads. “It’s the difference between ad tech and mar tech.”
B2B marketers not only want to target by accounts rather than individuals, but are looking for narrower audiences and higher quality media which is more expensive than a traditional B2C marketer who might be looking to maximize reach said Ana Milicevic, principal and co-founder of programmatic consultancy Sparrow Advisors.
“You want to make sure you are spending to acquire that customer because the payout is very significant,” Milicevic said.
B2B programmatic isn’t new per se, but adoption grew during the pandemic when traditional B2B marketing channels like trade shows disappeared, Milicevic said.
Tarnopolsky’s B2B clients spend about 25%-30% of their budgets on programmatic, though this may be higher than the average B2B marketer given that his clients have hired a media agency.
However, agencies like Good Apple are more likely to use generalist DSPs like The Trade Desk, which offer their own B2B buying capabilities, before specialist DSPs like ZoomInfo, because platforms like The Trade Desk allow centralized buying through one platform.
In response, Haile said that The Trade Desk is not a direct competitor to ZoomInfo but complementary to its offering—ZoomInfo has its own unique proprietary data.
Still, Tarnopolsky said that ZoomInfo’s partnership with The Trade Desk marks progress toward integrating traditional B2B marketing with programmatic and the agency would consider using the tool.
“There would have to be some point where [ZoomInfo’s] data is such an advantage that it makes more sense than [working with] The Trade Desk directly,” Tarnopolsky said.