Small Business Advertising: Getting Brands in Front of High-Value, Small Business Decision-Makers

The goal of any advertiser is to get the brands they represent in front of the audience they want to reach. That’s easier said than done these days. With attention spans at record lows from content overload, getting noticed is never guaranteed, much less being considered. A few things are certain: context, environment, and timing play key roles.

Thanks to new technologies and applications, we are getting better at audience targeting, but it’s often at inopportune times when viewers aren’t necessarily paying attention. Distracted by phones and the everyday hustle and bustle, people may see an ad, but likely they don’t remember it. Ad impressions are noteworthy, but they do not tell the whole story.

Ad recall is a more significant measure of ad success and is a critical step in moving buyers into the sales funnel. After all, if they simply see and forget your ad, there’s little chance the ad will influence their future purchase decisions. How can you shape your B2B advertising strategy to increase the odds that your ad is not only seen but succeeds in persuading a purchase?

Be Where Your Audience Is When They’re Most Likely Paying Attention

Even the best ad will fail if it falls on deaf ears. Relevancy is everything, and it means getting relevant ads in front of the right people at the right time. For many, the right time isn’t when they are on a social app, reading the news, or traveling to work. It is often when they are at work.

Small business advertisements can make their mark in a business setting. The potential audiences there are astounding. While we often think of massive companies employing the majority of workers, the opposite is true. B2B decision-makers often work in small businesses.

There are approximately 33.2 million small businesses in the U.S., making up 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses. At last count, small businesses employ nearly 62 million people, nearly half of all U.S. employees. Studies show consumers are more likely to make online purchases during lunchtime, between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. or during their breaks, with 51% saying they shop during work hours. Interestingly, many of the ads they see are not during work hours, when the ads would be most effective. Captivate aims to change that scenario.

Many of these people are small business purchase decision-makers, buying business products and services throughout their workdays. Sure, a billboard, TV, or social media ad may get a glance on the way to or from work, but will it lead to a business purchase if the audience forgets about it while at work? 

And what about effective frequency — the number of times it takes for someone to see an ad and respond? Numbers vary, but the gold standard since 1930 has been seven times, although we’ve seen that number as high as twenty. That’s a lot of impressions, particularly if you only have a few hours a day to make them.

Related: All Impressions are NOT Created Equal Webinar

Brands and agencies can leverage in-office advertising channels to reach high-value, small business purchasers who have budgets to spend and can be influenced with ads that are relevant to them professionally. Small business advertising works, connecting brands with B2B decision-makers in an environment where they are more likely to be making purchases. This is especially true when those ads are interspersed with interesting content that viewers watch and enjoy to maximize impressions throughout the workday.

In-Office Advertising: The New Channel for Brands and Agencies

B2B decision-makers frequently make purchases to benefit their team or their organization as a whole. Even those who aren’t in a position to buy may influence a purchase decision. Today, more purchasers are seeing relevant small business advertisements on digital screens in their offices during down times, such as in office lobbies or on the elevators.

Placing an ad on the screen doesn’t have the same effect as when the ad is alongside valuable information. For example, a weather forecast, a news update or sports scores, or a business tip often gets people’s attention, giving them something to focus on during these quieter moments. An ad placed with those, when the viewer(s) are already engaged with the content, is more likely to be seen and recalled. 

This approach is much like the ads during the NFL’s biggest game or any other widely-watched television program. Advertisers know people are already engaged, so they spend millions of dollars creating memorable ads people will talk about well after the game.

This contextual ad placement during multiple opportune times in conducive environments is precisely what Captivate helps agencies and brands do, and our recent audience data proves it works in small businesses. Small business advertising not only captures B2B decision-makers’ attention, one of the most sought-after demographics, but it engages them to a point where they recall the ad and follow through to a purchase.

Reach High-Value Audiences

You can find our content on digital screens in office towers and coworking spaces that cater to small businesses all over the country. Within each of these small businesses are B2B leaders with buying power or who influence purchasing decisions. While meeting with a salesperson is often necessary for business purchases, Gartner found nearly 30% of B2B purchasers spend their time researching independently online, compared with only 17% who meet with potential suppliers, before making a purchase. 

The typical B2B buyer’s journey begins with research based on a recommendation or an inspiring advertisement. Of course, the path to a business purchase isn’t often as simple as one for personal purchases. Business purchases frequently require multiple people and steps. Gartner says that sales and marketing must jointly address B2B buying complexity with high-quality, consistent, cross-channel information. Advertisements can be one channel strategy to build brand awareness and consideration.

MRI-Simmons Spring 2021 Doublebase syndicated research study found that Captivate viewers who work for Small Businesses are:

  • 72% more likely to be Senior Managers
  • 71% more likely to be IT decision-makers
  • 55% more likely to be business decision-makers

Where are they most likely to increase corporate spend? A Captivate Office Pulse survey of professionals in Captivate buildings who and work for Small/Medium-sized businesses revealed:

  • 35% – technology
  • 31% – hiring additional personnel
  • 19% – new products or services
  • 15% – marketing

And 35% say they are open to getting a new small business credit card. Brands selling these types of products or services have an incredible opportunity to reach these leaders and decision-makers with products they are actively seeking.

How do we find these audiences? Captivate uses multiple, data-driven targeting solutions, both direct or programmatic, to place ads in front of these specific audiences. 

Advanced targeting and programmatic advertising are highly effective in identifying and segmenting an audience to present specific ads that are most likely to resonate. We can effectively pinpoint audiences per building where we have digital screens and efficiently deliver meaningful content with relevant ads.

Case in Point: WeWork

WeWork is a prime example of a highly valuable audience receiving relevant ads on digital screens in co-working spaces. Captivate’s recent strategic partnership with WeWork extends brands’ reach of small business targets, bringing digital content and advertising to WeWork locations across the U.S. and Canada. The value of this partnership for brands cannot be understated.  

The WeWork audience is primarily made up of millennials and Gen Xers, the two generations that spend the most money across virtually every purchase category. These are people that brands want to be in front of, and with in-office digital screens, brands can be front and center when no one else is and when they may have attention to spare.

Related: Captivate and WeWork: The Impact of Our New Partnership on Agencies and Brands

That means Captivate can get an agency’s brand’s ads on potentially more than 1,000 screens in nearly 200 WeWork locations across 32 markets, averaging 116 million monthly impressions. Who, exactly, is most likely to see these ads at WeWork? First of all, 78% of WeWork members work for small businesses or startups.  Their members are:

  • 59% more likely to be business decision-makers
  • 72% more likely to be small business owners or partners
  • 52% more likely to be C-suite executives
  • 64% more likely to be IT decision-makers

Of course, WeWork co-working spaces are just some of the many offices that are home to Captivate digital content and advertising. Whether it’s a prestigious commercial office building in downtown Manhattan or a luxury high-rise residential building in San Francisco, Captivate connects brands with the people with purchasing power.

The Value of Contextual Relevance

Brands must connect with small business decision-makers to drive sales, and delivering ads that make sense is half the battle. Captivate provides multiple opportunities to ensure small business campaigns are relevant to their audience. Our extensive office network environment and custom content collaborations mean agencies and brands have access to valuable audiences in an environment where accompanying content makes their ads noticeable and memorable.

As we all realize, ads are often ignored. One study reported that 99% of Gen Z consumers admit they frequently skip online ads, and 63% of them use ad blockers. If ads are irrelevant and interrupt a task, they are simply annoying. And as more digital content floods every channel, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to get much ROI on ads.

A better approach is to place ads with content related to that ad at a time when people may not be preoccupied. For example, Zip Recruiter partnered with Captivate to align their ad with “small business tips” content. Another example is a Dell ad sponsoring a small business spotlight content piece. A small business decision-maker can see that ad multiple times a day for several days, enhancing their brand awareness and consideration each time.

Our editorial team custom crafts a small business content series that seamlessly integrates the brand, so it reinforces the connection between the brand and their intended small business audience. Top brands trust Captivate to effectively target small business audiences, such as American Express, UPS, Meta, Dell, Paycom, Brother, Square, Gentleman Jack, Zip Recruiter, Verizon, Zoom, MailChimp, AdQuick, Ubimo, Hiscox, The Trade Desk, and more.

Taking a closer look at some of these brands, we can prove the value of our digital screen network and custom content collaborations. Our campaign effectiveness surveys revealed the following:

Dell has experienced a 34% total ad recall, 31% ad effectiveness, and 41% brand consideration after seeing the ad on an in-office digital screen with Captivate content among small business owners.

MailChimp’s ads increased awareness among small business Senior Executives and Decision Makers, with 33% total ad recall, 52% brand awareness, and 26% brand consideration.

Zip Recruiter had a 48% total ad recall, with 62% consideration after seeing the ad. An astounding 31% of small business employees visited the Zip Recruiter website after seeing the ad on a Captivate digital screen.

And Gentleman Jack saw a 187% lift in consideration after their customized “small business spotlight” campaign aired on the Captivate digital network.

Ad Success Is All About Engagement

For an ad to succeed, it has to be seen, but perhaps even more important is that is viewed as meaningful and relevant. Today’s consumer sees advertisements as noise, so agencies and brands must determine how best to stand out and be effective without annoying their audiences.

If you are looking to target small business decision-makers, in-office advertising with Captivate is essential because of our ability to efficiently and effectively reach them across our network. By thoughtfully curating content with the B2B buyer in mind and presenting ads that make sense with that content, viewers innately connect the dots and move from observation to action.

Out-of-home advertising across multiple channels remains necessary, and adding in-office digital screen advertising to target small business purchasers is proving to be a lucrative channel. This strategy pairs ads with valuable content to more effectively engage key B2B purchase decision-makers throughout the workday in proximity to where and when decisions are made. When you’re ready to get in front of small business decision-makers, Captivate is here to help.

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