Until now, the prospect of retailers using data to follow a customer in and out of store, ultimately aiming to attribute an end purchase back to an ad exposure, was a lofty goal – but rather complex to achieve.

But two trends are making it a reality:

  • The growing proportion of retail that occurs in digital channels.
  • Growing capabilities of online outcome attribution modelling.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Furious Corp CEO Ashley J. Swartz says US retailers are sitting on a treasure trove of first-party shopper data.

Online shift

Swartz says large retailers’ ability to utilize data on their own customers to activate media buys, both for themselves and for others on their network, makes them powerful like Facebook and Google.

“Let’s call a spade a spade,” Swartz says. “(With) such significant shift in spending, moving to online from direct retail… these are walled gardens.

Very large retailers that were specifically allowed to stay open during lockdowns … are building (advertising data) walled gardens.

“Amazon’s retail data set is used to ultimately sell and direct media and target media and re-target media within their platform and their advertising solution, and that’s really its core focus.”

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Buyer behavior

Swartz also says the several vendors which actually mine consumers’ anonymized credit card behaviors adds additional richness to targeting capability.

“In the US in particular, we’re able to see their shopping behaviours, their consideration set, what is in their cart, et cetera,” she says.

“And so it’s been a whole new world, and I think in some ways it’s immense opportunity.”

Retail publishers

Last year, Target Media Network was rebranded as Roundel, offering:

  • Programmatic buying of custom ad audiences.
  • Search ads on Target properties on Google.
  • Social media ad delivery.
  • Display ad targeting from first-party data.

It is an example of the new trend in which a large retailer is also a kind of publisher – offering an audience of purchase-focused consumers to brands that may even already be distributed through the company.

The kinds of data such retailers can offer on their customers within those media buys – for example, purchase and browsing history – it is thought, could help brands hone in on the buyers with the highest intent.

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Path to purchase

“First-party data can be used to target and to reach specific audiences, and to actually implement what is a very thorough user journey of targeting, retargeting, coming back and around to make sure that you follow through to try and get to do what is ultimately a purchase or some type of action for a consumer to take,” Swartz says.

In the offline retail world, following an ad exposure through to purchase was relatively more difficult, Swartz explains. But that has changed.

“Now that purchasing is online, there is much greater certainty and confidence and reliability and measurability in the data to ultimately see whether or not that consumer has taken an action and made a purchase.”

You are watching “First Party Data: Driving Media Investment and Accountability,” a Beet.TV leadership video series presented by Target’s Roundel  For more videos, please visit this page.  The views shared on this series do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Target and Roundel.