AOP releases first-ever findings on how B2B online media influences business decision makers

New research from the UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) has revealed that 70 per cent of business decision makers expect their usage of B2B websites* to increase over the next two years. The research, ‘The role of B2B websites’, found that four out of five business decision makers already use B2B websites in their related sectors.

These findings have prompted AOP to call for greater business advertising spend on B2B websites, as opposed to the more traditional media historically thought to be most appropriate for targeting a business audience.

There is general agreement from both agencies and users that B2B online will experience significant growth. As well as interviewing more than 300 business decision makers (representative of the UK business industry), AOP also held 12 in-depth interviews** with professionals from the leading B2B strategic planning agencies, to establish perceived strengths and weaknesses of B2B websites for advertising. Agencies expressed a belief that “B2B online will grow and usage will become more sophisticated and integrated (with site content and other media in the campaign mix)”.

There is good news too for B2B publishers aiming to introduce paid-for content models online: already more than a third (39 per cent) of business decision makers have registered to access content on a B2B website and 17 per cent have paid for content – 88 per cent more than the UK population as a whole. B2B websites have also earned a position of loyalty in the working lives of business decision makers. They are commonly accessed through favourites (63 per cent), and importantly, a third of decision makers access these sites through online advertising – proving that B2B online publishers should be practicing what they preach!

AOP appointed media research experts Ipsos RSL to carry out the work, which aimed to establish the extent to which the internet has changed the way that decision makers find and use business information, what role B2B websites play in the decision making (especially purchasing) process, and how these users respond to advertising on B2B websites.

Said Iain Melville, managing director of Reed Business Information and AOP B2B research chair: “These findings from AOP are great news for UK business media publishers, and should encourage those publishers who have not yet embraced the web as a content channel to start taking it seriously. Similarly, I hope that agencies will look to the future and place B2B websites at the heart of their business planning schedule.”

Alexandra White, director of AOP said: “The web has shifted the way that business professionals find and use information for work purposes. This research is the first time the B2B online media industry has come together to examine the extent of its impact on traditional media use, and it is very encouraging to see both agencies and users in agreement that B2B websites are likely to experience significant growth in the next two years.”


Editor’s notes

Research methodology
Representatives from Emap, Faversham House Group,, IDG Communications, Reed Business Information and VNU Business Publications formed the AOP research group that initiated and developed the project.

*Definition of B2B websites: B2B media websites, carrying: news, editorial features, analysis
Respondents given list of 4-5 websites dependent on sector, e.g.:

AOP commissioned media research experts Ipsos-RSL to carry out the work, which was approached in two stages:

**Stage 1: 12 in-depth telephone interviews with strategic planning agencies examined agency attitudes to B2B online, including perceived strengths and weaknesses of online for B2B advertising.
Interviews completed 1 Nov – 22 Nov 2004
Stage 2: 366 telephone interviews with business decision makers investigated their usage of, and attitudes towards B2B websites, the role these play in influencing purchasing decisions, and response to advertising. Sample taken from Dun and Bradstreet, representative of the UK business industry.
Interviews completed 11 Jan – 28 Jan 2005

About AOP

The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is an industry body representing online publishing companies that create original, branded, quality content. AOP champions the interests of approximately 160 publishing companies from diverse backgrounds including newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, and pure online media. Together they publish around 1,150 products and attract more than five billion page impressions per month.

AOP presents a unified voice to industry and Government, specifically to address issues and concerns relating to all areas of online publishing. AOP publishes original research, hosts forums, conferences and events, covering a range of topics from paid-for-content, subscription models and data protection, through to copyright, content management, new technologies and audience measurement.

Last year AOP produced the highly acclaimed research ‘Reaching the Online Elite’ and every year it delivers the annual member benchmarking study, the ‘AOP Census’.

The AOP autumn Online Publishing Conference & Awards is its annual industry event. It attracts the biggest names in online publishing to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and celebrate outstanding achievement.

Members include Associated New Media, BBC, BSkyB, Capital Radio Group, Channel 4, Dennis Interactive, The Economist Group, Emap,, Future Publishing, Guardian Unlimited, Haymarket Publishing, Independent Digital, IPC Media, ITV Online, News International, Reed Business Information, Telegraph Group Limited, VNU Business Publications and Which?. In addition, PPAi (Periodical Publishers Association Interactive) retains a corporate seat on AOP board: representing the interests of magazine publishers online.


Katy Howell
Immediate future Ltd
0845 408 2031

Published on: 12:00AM on 7th April 2005