With an ever-changing digital marketing environment, it can be hard for retailers and brands to decide which advertising method is best for their business. Programmatic advertising has surged onto the scene in recent years and comes with a set of positive attributes, such as lower CPMs and automated workflows to help release some of the resource strain on advertising and brand teams. But where does this leave more traditional direct media buying? And how do brands and retailers feel about balancing the two?
A recent study by RetailMeNot asked 200-plus senior retail marketing leaders to weigh in on their programmatic ad buying versus direct media buying plans, the topic of ad fraud as related to audience and traffic, and who they plan to target in 2018. Here are three takeaways for retailers as they continue to tweak their media and advertising strategy well before we head into the back-to-school and holiday seasons.
Retail Marketers Will Be Bullish On Ad Fraud
Retailers and brands are looking to take back the reins of their advertising programs in order to have more control over budget spending and performance data. In fact, more than six in 10 retail marketers will increase their direct media buying in 2018, specifically to better monitor the quality of their traffic from advertising investments.
Additionally, after spending much of 2017 debating the success of programmatic advertising buys, nearly half (48%) plan to reduce the amount of fraudulent advertising traffic by reducing programmatic spend. Programmatic partners can rebuild trust with brands and retailers by offering more transparency and collaboration on data sharing.
One area that major advertising players and brands are focusing on is the growth of multi-touch attribution and how it works in conjunction with last-click measurement. Expect to see big shifts in the ways in which brands and retailers partner as they look to alleviate concerns over misleading ad reach measurement.
Targeting Becomes More Fine-Tuned For New Generations
This year, retailers will be paying close attention to the way shoppers approach their journey and what they are demanding from their shopping experiences. Becoming more knowledgeable in areas like multi-touch attribution will also provide retailers with better insights into the entire journey that an audience takes with their brand. Clearly defining priority audiences and goals with partners will be crucial as retail marketers look to their advertising for insights on where to take their brand creative and media buying next.
Retailers’ focus and targeting continue to shift just as shopping behaviors between generations do. Among retailers surveyed, 68% said they plan to increase their advertising spend on Millennials, and 65% will increase spending among Generation Z. On the flip side, seniors and baby boomers stand out as the leading audiences for which retailers will reduce their spend this year as they begin to prioritize the spending power of younger generations.
Look At Lifetime Value Vs. Acquisition Needs
As the digital marketing landscape expands, marketing automation allows companies to focus on what’s increasingly important: balancing their marketing strategy between acquisition and retention.
The benefit of brands investing in marketing automation tools is that the tools allow teams to scale in personalization and relationship management in a way that retail marketers would not be able to do on their own. As content needs grow, strain on resources can limit what retail marketers are able to achieve, leading to situations where advertising is not fully optimized.
As marketing teams continue to evolve, however, retail marketers will push to have their programmatic ad buys be more personalized to the audience, with better creative and a stronger influence on making sure messages are served to quality traffic. Programmatic advertising doesn’t have to die, but it does have to change as expectations for higher quality content are demanded by consumers.
Additionally, with one eye on the competition, retailers should also orient their goals toward audience retention. With the right data setup from partners and the correct management tools, retail marketers can begin to identify who to retain based on lifetime value.
All of this boils down to the fact that marketing leaders and teams should focus on building advertising and brand relationships with partners that are willing to work with your team on meeting both brand building and performance measurement goals for advertising campaigns. Finding the right partners who will openly share data and insights to help your marketing team appropriately target, reach and retain your core audience is a must-have in today’s retail landscape.
Marissa Tarleton is the Chief Marketing Officer of RetailMeNot, Inc. In this role, she directs all consumer brand advertising, customer acquisition and retention, search engine marketing, public relations, internal communications, business-to-business marketing and customer relationship management. Prior to RetailMeNot, Tarleton led marketing for Dell Inc.’s North America Consumer and Small Business organization. Her responsibilities included driving new customer acquisition through marketing communications, media, partner programs, loyalty and CRM for both the Dell direct and retail businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.