Since the pandemic began, we have seen an accelerated convergence of brand and performance media where now all brand outcomes are measured.
While millions quarantined and conducted business from their homes, we witnessed a massive expansion in the retail world as retail-built networks (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kroger) and retailer partner networks (e.g. Criteo, Ad Citrus, Promote Iq, etc.) began to monetize their first party data.
In the past, a shopper marketing strategy focused on traditional tactics such as in-store promos, circulars, and co-op tv spots. However, over the last decade these strategies evolved to include co-op digital media such as search, display videos and social media that – for the most part – was run by the retailer on behalf of the brand.
During the pandemic, this changed as retail leaders such as Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Kroger, Target, etc. allowed brands and agencies to combine their first-party data and leverage the retailer first-party rich audiences to buy media within their own media platforms, and in return receive a wealth of measurement metrics such as sales data. This ability to analyze the shopper at a more intimate level allowed both shoppers and brands to develop better marketing mixes that target the retailers’ consumer with more precision and develop more persuasive marketing strategies to target the general category consumer as well.
This is important as we move to an uncertain world without a cookie identifier, brands are seeking ways to leverage their first-party data. Moving forward, brands are focused on spending retailer dollars with a maximum use of data that allows them to make smarter decisions with their investment choices. This can help mitigate wasteful spend and provide a self-serve space that allows retail media performance to be directly tied to brand outcomes.
Brands know about their category and retailers understand the consumers who are buying in that category. The combination of this intelligence through a omni-retail media mix can result in precision targeting with persuasive messaging in the upper funnel and creates the ability to capture demand from onsite search.
While these brands will always need a traditional national branding strategy, they now can focus less on national branding and more time, budget, and attention on supporting retailers with connections to the outcome. This can be particularly advantageous when retailer contractual commitments continue to grow, reducing brand media dollars.
What has caused brands to gravitate to retail media?
- The ability to understand media’s correlation to SKU outcome and to access a retailers’ first-party data..
- Using co-op dollars on self-serve media platforms for measurable outcomes
- Retailers built their own on-site search platforms. Kroger, Amazon and WMT (O&O only) have also built their own programmatic platforms for offsite media.
- DSPs like Tradedesk and Data Onboarding tools are fighting to help these retailers and brands partner together to build full self-serve models that allow the combination of first-party retail and brand audiences to be targeted across a funnel approach including ad exchanges and media types (OTT, Display, Remarketing, etc.).
- Brands can understand a shopper at an individual level and through retail media strategies, they can better understand what drives a consumer to purchase.
Why do shoppers lean into this?
- Having a media mix that is both tied to Media Mix Models and digital measurable outcomes enables shoppers to build a better omni-channel mix using data.
- Almost everything is measurable; they no longer need to rely just on in-store promotions and coupon clipping.
- By combining a Performance Media and Shopper Strategy, brands are better able to understand the consumer more intimately. This allows them to drive a better omni-channel mix.
- Omni-channel support that is targetable and trackable not only drives in-store and online sales, but media that is also married with in-store makes the insights more useful than just what we have mined from digital. This can also help inform future creative testing ideas.
- Understanding consumer behavior better than they can with their own first-party, brands have the precision of targeting that allows for more effective persuasive messaging.
POV By Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media