Recently, Asda opened up its data for brands to target ads across its properties. This follows the successful launch of parent company, Walmart's Exchange (WMX) platform in the US. This development marks an important and interesting shift within the industry for a number of reasons.
1. Targeting: Opening up the three i’s of targeting: interest, intent, in-basket
Broadly speaking there are three types of data that advertisers are interested in from a targeting perspective. I like to call these the three i’s: interest data, intent data, and in-basket data. Facebook does an excellent job of offering advertisers interest data and targeting at scale. Google provides unrivalled intent data through search, but quality in-basket data and activation is still relatively hard to come by, and often involves combining data sets which can lead to data leakage, inefficiencies and inaccuracies. With this move, Asda has opened up the tricky third i for advertisers in the UK. Amazon has occupied this space for a while, but now with Asda, we will surely see more brands following suit.
2. Partnership. The Co-Opportunity
Traditional co-op advertising is a common form of partnership between retailer and manufacturer, where the cost of advertising is shared to mutual benefit. By opening up access to data, Asda can develop a new type of smart cooperative relationship between retailer and manufacturer. This means that in the short term the win may be the monetisation of digital real estate and data assets, but the real win is longer term deeper ‘platform’ co-op relationships with the manufacturers.
3. Omni Channel Attribution
Advertisers trying to assess the impact of online advertising often have to stitch together data sets to form probabilistic attribution models. When offline conversions are factored in, these models invariably break down. With this proposition Asda will be able to connect online exposure to both online action and offline in-store action. This omni channel attribution will enable advertisers to understand and optimise their investments more effectively with a true single customer view.
As a retailer, Asda is beginning to rival traditional publishers for a share of online ad spend, particularly with the insights that will be made available in terms of shopper data and how ad spend is affecting sales.
However, the feedback loop companies like Asda can provide is infinitely powerful – enabling both performance insight to improve ROI significantly, and fuelling consumer insight for brands to inform their communications more effectively.
There are limitations with Asda’s approach, in that this data is only currently accessible to be bought through Asda-owned properties. This means Asda retains control of data, limiting the scale and flexibility for advertisers to market beyond Asda’s domains.
This is a positive feature for consumers and brands alike. For consumers, it means a more relevant advertising experience where ads are matched more closely to their needs. For brands, it enables more effective advertising, and a powerful feedback loop of data to inform their audience decisions.
At iProspect we are committed to connecting brands with consumers to drive more effective communications, matching advanced consumer insight with business outcomes.
We have been leading in this space for a while, and were the first to partner with The Guardian to de-couple their data from inventory in the UK on behalf of Eurostar, which enabled activation of advanced data sets across programmatic platforms.
The Eurostar campaign continues to deliver improved ROI as part of its continuous ‘always on’ digital acquisition to reach new customers. Running multi-market campaigns, Eurostar use a variety of data sources in order to identify intent for travel and closely monitor the success of each source. Results from this campaign have driven a 30% increase in ROI and campaign effectiveness through the same level of spend on third-party data.
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