Big-box store is running beta tests with top marketers to prove its nascent ad platform is working
“The platform has ability to both target and measure advertising, ingesting both online and offline sales,” Jay said in an interview in New York on Thursday. “If you want to show an ad to a customer digitally and know if it’s driving online or offline sales, this is the platform to do it on.”
This is the message Jay delivered to marketers like Gail Horwood, CMO of Kellogg’s, who is working with Walmart on beta tests of the advertising platform. The tests are looking at what creative works best in shopper ads and how to measure the impact of ads by integrating with the Walmart app, which detects when a consumer goes to the store.
Walmart has shown that it wants to be a major force in retail advertising, especially since it started to build an in-house media group instead of working with brands through WPP’s Triad. In May, the company held its first NewFronts advertising presentation for its Vudu video service. Now that it has advertisers’ attentions, it needs to show results.
“While we absolutely believe in the promise of it, we also want to ensure that we’re validating our advertising spend the same way we validate it with all of our partners,” Horwood said this week in an interview alongside Jay in New York.
“Our core measurement is based on first-party proprietary data. We do not use third-party data,” the company said in an e-mail statement. “We measure the impact of ads based on how consumers discover, research and buy products.”
Walmart is clearly a large retailer, the biggest in the U.S., and it says 95 percent of U.S. shoppers buy from its stores and websites every year. Still, to make the kind of advertising commitment Walmart presents, brands need to be able to reach those shoppers online. Walmart.com hits 100 million people a month, according to comScore, and Walmart does not say publicly exactly how many viewers it can reach on Vudu.
At its NewFronts event, Walmart launched Vudu Audience Extension, a way for brands to use its data to target ads to viewers outside of its own websites. Brands need to know that if they invest in tailoring ads with specially crafted creative assets just for doing business on Walmart, that they can hit enough people to justify the commitment.
Walmart is promoting a total marketing package with brands—one that gets consumers when they watch shows online, research products, open their apps while in the store and connects all the way to the presentation of their products in the aisles. For instance, Kellogg’s is interested targeting messages in Walmart’s app when people come to the store but enough people have to open their phones to make that worthwhile.
“We need that to work at scale for that to be meaningful for us,” Horwood says. “And that’s what we need to see.”
Working with Walmart has already helped change Kellogg’s on its creative side. It is now literally thinking outside the box when it comes to how it presents its products online.
Kellogg’s is testing when ads lead consumers to hit that “buy” button online, and there are more enticing ads than just a box of cereal. Kellogg’s online advertising is now incorporating performance marketing, campaigns designed strictly to drive sales, with brand building.
“We’re presenting our food with more of a lifestyle angle, closer-in food images have been stronger converters for us, even though it’s a performance platform,” Horwood says. “Historically, we might have put a package with a very clear call-to-action. That’s where we’re seeing this blended experience.”
This article first appeared in www.adage.com
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