Graphic shows a yellow circle featuring a funnel with icons of a small crowd, web browser, and media play button above a shopping cart.

How to activate retail data at all stages of the sales funnel

Retail data — it’s hardly the new kid on the block, yet it’s top of mind for many marketers right now. Why?

With a surge in online shopping in recent years, major retailers have amassed troves of data from loyalty programs, consumers’ purchases and more — and have made this set of superior data signals available to advertisers along the way. Though 80% of purchases still take place in stores,1 marketers can leverage retail data from both in-store and online purchases to gain deeper insights into their consumers’ unique demographics and shopping behaviors.

Retail data is “clean,” meaning it provides deterministic insights and verifiable information about consumers. Deterministic data signals are well known elements for lower-funnel and last-click strategies, but marketers are seeing success across all consumer touchpoints — from awareness to point of sale.

Did you know?
91% of U.S. advertisers plan to either maintain or increase their investment in retail data in the next couple years.2

As more retail data becomes available, both super-users and nonusers should consider activating it across campaigns with a more holistic approach in mind. Here’s how:

Aim to extend reach by starting with audience seeds

If you’re looking to extend your audience reach and engage customers, retail data insights enable you to do so across a range of media channels. One of the challenges many advertisers face is that they either don’t have first-party data or the data they do have access to may not be usable or scalable. Enter retail data. This data set can serve as a foundation for advertisers building out their campaign seeds — the first step to creating a campaign within Kokai.

For those bringing robust first-party data to the table, you can explore how retail data can augment, complement or even shift your audience strategy within our platform. Retail data also helps you amplify audience and campaign targeting strategies, regardless of if your brand sells product with the retailers providing that data.

Graphic has three icons with descriptions that read: Start with you own first-party data; Start with retail data to serve as your "first-party" data; Build on your first-party data with a retail data set.

Don’t limit your retail data strategy

Many brands want to be able to capture consumers’ attention by driving awareness on Connected TV (CTV) and then retarget them with a conversion message on the websites they visit across the open internet. You can leverage the powerful insights provided by retail data to help drive bottom-funnel strategies, sure, but there’s a myth that such data can only be used to drive campaigns focused on outcomes or sales. Retail data can certainly be leveraged at the awareness and consideration phases of a campaign as well.

Consider how a CPG brand releasing a new yogurt product could create awareness by incorporating retail data into their new campaign: To reach consumers most likely to purchase, they’ll start by building an audience of verified buyers appended with retail data, which may look like the following…

Graphic shows a chart with two columns. First column is titled audience strategies with the following list: potential yogurt buyers, healthy snack buyers, competitive brand buyers. The second column is titled possible retailers with the following list: Kroger, Dollar General, Walgreens.

The campaign parameters will be set up to reach these audiences across media channels and with controlled frequency across CTV and audio platforms. During a midcampaign review, the CPG brand will evaluate which audiences are driving the most unique reach, adjusting the campaign as necessary. Following a successful campaign flight, you can access incremental reach, cost per unique household, completion rate and other relevant metrics to help you accomplish your campaign goals.

Close the loop with more precise measurement

Marketers aiming to hold media spend accountable to business outcomes need to look no further than retail measurement capabilities. Retail data can help close the loop between the media you’re running and the impact it’s having on in-store and online sales. No longer reliant on proxies alone (click-through rate and video completion rate, for example), you can now leverage strong, deterministic signals that can help you optimize campaigns midflight as well as attribute ad campaigns to business impact (closed-loop attribution).

It’s possible to see how your ads are driving online and in-store sales outcomes with our Retail Sales Index (RSI). RSI offers you an understanding of performance across multiple retailers with a single report and standard attribution methodology. For brands looking to supplement first-party data with third-party retail data, RSI will provide consolidated insights leading to better investments and growth. And for those brands without their own first-party data sets, RSI can help unlock actionable insights and give you the context needed to optimize campaigns on our platform.

Take the next step

Since the advertising ecosystem is still adjusting to include this type of data, you’ll have a first-mover advantage when it comes to enabling retail data for your media plans. You can start today with seeds and even augment your advertising strategies with RSI and the Quality Reach Index to help improve campaign performance. By bolstering campaign data and qualifying the reach of each campaign, you can achieve marketing success for your brand.

If you’re excited by retail data’s opportunities and want to begin leveraging it for your campaigns, take a learning deep dive with The Retail Revolution, a robust training course brought to you by The Trade Desk Edge Academy. Enroll today.


1. National Retail Federation, NRF State of Retail & the Consumer, 2024 (U.S. Census Bureau data, NRF analysis).
2. The Trade Desk Intelligence and Material+, custom retail research, 2023. Retail Data is Changing the Game.

Disclaimer: this information is provided solely for background and is not a representation or guarantee of any future performance.