From peanut butter to cosmetics advertising, consumer product marketers are leveraging retail media networks (RMNs) more than ever. Driven by efficiency improvements and greater revenue impact, U.S. marketers invested $36 billion in digital marketing through RMNs last year alone. eMarketer expects that amount to surge by 31.4% in 2022.

It’s a win-win: Retailers add a rapidly growing and highly profitable revenue stream. Brands leverage retailer’s first party purchase data without imminent concerns of signal loss. Don’t underestimate the importance of signal loss as a tailwind helping RMNs grow. CPG marketers cited access to retailer first party data as the number one motivation to spend with RMNs (62% per Merkle/eMarketer),

It’s no wonder that so many retailers have launched RMNs. In fact, each of the top 10 U.S. retailers has one.

  • Albertsons
  • Amazon
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Home Depot
  • Kroger
  • Lowe’s
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

By turning their sales data into purchase-based audiences, these big retailers enable massive efficiency improvements in digital marketing.  But these performance gains are limited to product marketers – primarily those that are trying to sell products through that store. Retail marketers can’t exactly buy ads on a competitive RMN in an attempt to divert store traffic. And when it is a theoretical option (e.g. on Amazon) most simply don’t want to give their money to the competition or help them in any way. Can you imagine Barnes & Noble advertising on Amazon? Or Walgreens on CVS? Neither can they!

Retailer marketer shopping list

When looking to drive RMN-like performance, retailers need to look beyond demographics, browsing history and other interest proxies. Retail marketers need options that help them:

  • Find potential new customers based on their past purchases
  • Communicate with previous shoppers – even those who haven’t yet signed up for their loyalty program
  • Reach seasonal shoppers during specific time periods and holidays 
  • Message lapsed buyers with special promotions

There are two options that fit the bill: Purchase-based audiences and location-based audiences. Purchase-based audiences are created from actual purchases made on credit, debit and/or loyalty cards. Location-based audiences are based on mobile phone geolocation tracking. Both can be activated across any media platform and don’t require cookies (Here’s more detail on cookie-free targeting from our partner, Comscore).

While the best option for your business may vary by vertical, purchase-based audiences benefit from a continuing shift from cash to card buying. That means the underlying data set keeps getting larger which improves both reach and accuracy. Location data availability is declining. Additionally, purchase-based audiences mirror RMN activations while location data is a proxy.

Efficient Questions

Whether you are a brand owner, an agency or a demand side platform, the key question to ask yourself is this: “How do we know the audiences we buy are effective and efficient?”

If you want to drill in, here are some additional questions to consider:

  • What type of data is used to create the audience segment?
  • How big is the underlying data set?
  • How accurate are the audiences we use?

The answers may surprise you and lead to higher ROAS for you and your business.

About Us:

Commerce Signals helps marketers grow sales impact and cut waste through purchase-based audiences, campaign measurement and customer insights. Our products are powered by the largest consumer payments data set available which includes Visa and Mastercard, credit and debit card spending.

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