Retail Ads Shift Toward Measurable and Personalized Advertising

Last week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) had its annual convention which it has held for 100 years. We had a major presence this year, with a Salesforce and TOMS pop-up retail experience and Shelley Bransten (Salesforce SVP Retail) presenting alongside Join Yasir Anwar, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s Group VP and Head of Digital Technology. This week, we wanted to focus on how smart retailers are succeeding with digital advertising today.

Retail advertising is big business online and it will only continue to grow, in fact eMarketer released figures stating that retail was the fastest growing category in the digital ads landscape.

As revenue and online demand surges it is more important than ever that marketers ensure they keep current with the latest trends in ad targeting and messaging. In this post, we explore a few of these trends and how marketers can capitalize on them to get the most out of their social media buys.

When retargeting debuted a number of years ago it marked a fundamental shift in the way advertisers were able to target their audience. Budgets began to flood towards retargeting partners as marketers quickly realized that following an interested user across the web was a very powerful advantage and gone were the days of solely targeting a website based on the makeup of their visitor base. 

However, cookies no longer rule all advertising, and budgets are being shifted over rapidly to social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to solve for the challenges tracking presents on mobile and to solve for the black box that cookies can often create. These channels and the birth of identity-based targeting represents the next fundamental shift for advertisers and it is very much under way.

These channels allow retailers a unique way to target to their customer in a 1:1 fashion. Here are some strategies to execute this 1:1 conversation and maximize return:

Use Facebook Custom Audiences and Twitter Tailored Audiences: Leverage the rich data you have on your customers and create audiences based on how they have engaged with your brand.  

Have they just created an online account? If so, prompt them with ads to make their first purchase. Conversely, are they your most loyal customer? Great, show them your brand-new seasonal merchandise to keep them coming back.  Each one of these instances requires a separate goal and creative strategy in order to engage them in the way that will inspire them to take action. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Active Audience product allows the ability to create these audiences seamlessly and will automatically refresh them on a daily basis as customers move through their journey with your brand.

Understand cross-device purchase behavior: it is important to understand how your customers interact across devices and market to them accordingly. Facebook and Twitter afford the opportunity to track and message to your customer across any device. We know that there is still a lot of cross-device research and buy behavior happening but increasingly consumers are buying on mobile. 65% of Facebook users shop across multiple channels (according to Facebook), and mobile commerce has grown to 30% of all e-commerce up from 25% just a year ago (Internet Retailer). Implementing a mobile SDK can easily close the loop and track real revenue being generated. Ensure that your device strategy is, again, personal to the customer and tailor the messaging.

Track your customers to offline purchase: Communicating a sale or promotion on social platforms can generate immense interest especially during the all important Q4 holiday season but it often does not receive the credit for driving those customers to brick and mortar stores. Two-thirds of all shoppers find out about new products online (Forrester Research and Tapad) and it’s important to focus on how customers discover your products early in the customer journey as well as what they do immediately before the purchase.

Last but certainly not least, focus on creative: The mark of a flawlessly executed retail campaign is tailored creative that is carefully built toward each individual target audience. Have you ever found yourself captivated and scrolling through an ad unit on Facebook because it had the latest trend you were interested in or stunning pictures of a destination you are aspiring to visit? This happens because that brand customized the ad unit and imagery towards you. A great way to execute this is if you show merchandise that aligns to the average order value (AOV) of your customer. Are they a bargain shopper? Then show them the lower price point items. Are they prone to snapping up the higher end items? Then show them the items they are most likely to buy. For more ideas about how to focus your creative strategy, check out our blog post.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud teamed up with Facebook to better understand the impact of coordinating email and advertising. Download the study!