FFayetteville, ARK – Retailers now have a big new opportunity – to become advertising platforms that can help brands reach the right consumers, and track ads’ efficiency.

Walmart is now helping its brand product providers do just that, using attribution technology to connect consumer purchase outcomes back to ad exposure.

But, in this video interview with Beet.TV, Aaron Bernstein, senior director of insights and advocacy at Walmart, explains why he wants to go deeper than that.

Brand attribution

“Walmart is in a unique position when it comes to media measurement because of our first-party data and the ability to sort of assign true attribution back to media exposure,” Bernstein says.

“The ability to sync up a set-top box (ad exposure) to a (consequential customer) transaction is really powerful. We’re starting to be able to answer that question around true linear TV attribution.”

But Bernstein thinks he can do better. “It’s not just measurement at a sales transaction level,” he says. “It’s also measurement from a brand equity perspective.”

He says the company has the means to use attribution technology to answer different kinds of questions – not only “Did an ad drive a purchase?” but also “Are customers feeling more favourable? Are they feeling that Walmart’s a better corporate citizen or a more valuable member of society or a stronger contributor to their local community?”

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Walmart is the largest US retailer, and also happens to boast 150 million weekly online shoppers.

Over the last year or two, Target, Walmart and CVS have all launched their own media networks.

Walmart’s Walmart Connect division, formerly Walmart Media, allows brands to reach those consumers with omni-channel strategies.

In February, the unit announced a self-service ad-buying capability would launch later this year.

It also announced the acquisition of the IP and technology behind Thunder, a creative automation ad-tech company, with plans to integrate the tech into its self-serve platform, to help brands automate their creative.

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For Bernstein, the key imperative is to stay ahead of the game.

“I think there’s there’s industries that are rapidly innovating and maybe even innovating faster than retail to some extent,” he says.

“But how do you find those applications and sort of bring them back into your own kind of environment and ecosystem?

“(That) is something that we sort of strive to do – understanding the world, understanding the zeitgeists, what’s culturally, politically, socially, economically.”

You are watching “Seeing Around Corners: Media Decisions During a Period of Disruption,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Standard Media Index. For more videos, please visit this page.