How the Next Generation of Retail Media Data Boosts CPG Sales

a man smiling for the camera
Michael Schuh

Editor’s Note: On day two of the Retail Media in Action virtual event on Oct. 12-13, Kroger Precision Marketing’s Adam Bittner will present alongside executives from T. Marzetti Company and Chobani in a session titled “What’s Working: How Brands are Driving Results with Retail Media.” Here, this guest column from Michael Schuh from Kroger Precision Marketing/84.51 dives further into the topic of retail media.

The media landscape is shifting as consumers have more control of their media and data than ever. How marketers approach media and data has shifted, too. Running media campaigns based on impressions alone doesn’t cut it anymore. CPGs need to know if their advertising investments are achieving real business outcomes — and which levers to adjust to optimize performance.

With a more transparent view of advertising performance, brands can benchmark and repeat success. The next generation of retail media data is helping CPGs understand the impact of their ad investments and make better advertising decisions.

It Starts with the Long View

Retailers with established loyalty programs have a unique vantage: observing years of shopping cart data over time. This longitudinal view isolates the impact of media more accurately. For example, at Kroger, 96% of sales are connected to loyalty accounts. Brands don’t have to rely on models, projections, or samples for media measurement, but instead can rely on a highly accurate, reality-based data set. Using accurate sales data — and matching it to media exposure — is the first step toward boosting CPG sales.

Carve Out the Right Audiences

The first step is zeroing in on the right audiences for campaign goals. Retailers can help brands identify relevant households based on their actual purchasing behavior — not simply demographics or buying assumptions.

People are motivated by more than just what they buy in one purchase. Machine-learning can be used to scour thousands of variables to paint a fuller picture of who is most likely to benefit from a product message. With targeting science that employs next-gen retail data, advertisers can reduce wasted impressions.

At Kroger Precision Marketing, we pre-optimize the most qualified audience for every campaign. When applied to offsite media, this approach identifies households with 3x more attributable sales than the average shopper.

Watch and Adjust Levers to Reach Goals

With highly accurate data and pre-optimized audiences to launch campaigns, brands can then adjust e-commerce levers in real-time to ensure they are pacing and managing your visibility in the digital aisle.

The digital shelf is an important place for brands to influence shopping decisions, but CPG marketers have had a hard time benchmarking the relative reach within their category or against the group of shoppers they are reaching. Our new reporting feature, Share of Delivered Targets, is about putting data in the hands of marketers to help them make better advertising decisions.

This new enhancement, as part of Kroger’s onsite advertising platform, allows brands to measure and evaluate their share of the paid digital shelf. Clients can watch three key metrics for daily insights into the areas that matter most against a brand’s share on Kroger.com and mobile app: awareness, engagement, and sales.

The daily data provides marketers with the granularity to quickly assess the impact of campaign changes on paid search KPIs. You can invest with more confidence and precision. Marketers can optimize campaigns — adjusting levers such as cost-per-click (CPC) bids, pacing, and product selection — to reach their desired share of category goals.

For example, brands can use their Share of Delivered Targets data to track daily share metrics for all live search and browse product listing ad campaigns. They can see how budget shifts and other optimizations directly impact their share of category.

Measure Business Outcomes

The digital media industry is at an inflection point as marketers demand more transparent media reporting against actual business outcomes. Retailers like Kroger can match media exposure to sales both in-store and online. While e-commerce growth continues to surge, in-store sales still account for most grocery purchases — so understanding the offline sales impact is paramount. This new level of granular performance reporting can unlock media optimization insights for the entire marketing organization.

Our ability to match ad exposure to an actual purchase (both online and in-store) means we truly close the loop of sales attribution. Control groups isolate the true media impact and ensure we don’t take credit for organic sales. Among other metrics, brands can see incremental sales lift, ROAS, category share and household penetration shifts.

Shopper behaviors are in flux. Retailers like Kroger are expanding e-commerce reach, daily. The time is now to make the most out of available retail media data.

About the Author: Michael Schuh is Vice President, Product Strategy & Innovation at Kroger Precision Marketing, powered by 84.51. Schuh and his team develop retail media products across Kroger’s onsite and off-site channels to drive measurable business impact for advertisers. He leads the overall media product strategy, including technical, content, commercial and partnership considerations.

Kroger Precision Marketing’s Adam Bittner will present on Oct. 13 at the Retail Media in Action virtual forum. The session is titled “What’s Working: How Brands are Driving Results with Retail Media.” To see the full agenda and to register, visit RetailMediaInAction.com.