How savvy advertisers are navigating the evolving retail landscape on The Trade Desk

As shopper behaviors continue to evolve, the path to purchase is no longer linear. Today’s consumers discover and research products across multiple touchpoints – from apps and websites to Connected TV (CTV) and in-store experiences. These touchpoints provide opportunities for brands to engage with consumers, but they also create complexity as marketers try to connect all the dots.

At the same time, retailers like Lowes and Best Buy are launching their own media networks, making the landscape even more fragmented. As a marketer, you now must figure out the best way to manage your campaigns across multiple touchpoints and determine which tactics are driving outcomes.

So how can you navigate this landscape and trace sales back to your marketing efforts, all while providing a valuable and relevant experience for consumers?

Let’s break it down in terms of the most impactful challenges that retail supplier brands are facing today.

First, consumer shopping behaviors are constantly shifting. This affects brands differently across verticals and campaigns. For example, 77 percent of shoppers still prefer to buy groceries in store, while only 34% have the same preference when shopping for apparel. (YouGov)

This leads us to another major challenge for brands: “increased complexity in understanding the consumer journey.” (Material+) As people are shopping in new and unexpected ways, advertisers need to understand the path to purchase so they can reach consumers at the right time. They can no longer rely on the traditional shopper marketing tactics, especially as more consumers shift to online shopping.

Brands in the retail space are also dealing with the “fragmentation of retail sales data.” (Material+) Sales data from retailers is crucial for these brands as many of them don’t have robust first-party datasets that they can use for targeting and attribution, and 43 percent of brands said sales growth was their top KPI for marketing success. This fragmentation makes it more challenging to “measure the impact of their marketing on business outcomes” and “optimize cross-channel campaigns.” (Material+)

While no silver bullet solution exists today, there are ways that retail supplier brands can turn some of these challenges into opportunities. Here are four steps you can take with The Trade Desk to better navigate the evolving retail landscape.


Reach customers at every stage of their journey with omnichannel campaigns

We know consumers are spending their time across a variety of screens and devices. This means an omnichannel strategy is table stakes. In addition to the standard linear and display buys, you need to be able to execute a holistic campaign that reaches your consumers across CTV, mobile devices, and out-of-home media.

With our new Audience Insights tool, you can quickly see which devices your customers are spending the most time on, and uncover additional insights based on their interests and location. Once you’ve identified your audience, you can use the campaign wizard to set up data-driven omnichannel campaigns. In the time it used to take to set up one campaign for a single channel, you can set up multiple campaigns and ad groups for several channels including mobile, CTV, and audio, so you can reach customers wherever they are on their path to purchase.


Activate retail sales data to find more of your most valuable customers

Whether you’re trying to increase sales among repeat purchasers, or attract new brand buyers, you can activate data from retailers to drive growth. Thanks to new integrations with several retailers–including big names like Walmart, Kroger, Target, and Walgreens, advertisers can build custom audiences based on past purchase data.

These deterministic datasets are empowering advertisers to reach brand loyalists with messages about a new product, or reach category purchasers who haven’t bought from their brand. Some retailers, like Target, also offer life-stage and lifestyle segments, so you can extend your reach to relevant would-be buyers.


Use a holistic frequency management strategy to optimize spend

Have you ever been watching something, maybe a football game or your favorite late-night show, and you’re shown the same ad over and over... and over? Or worse, perhaps you’re seeing an ever-repeating ad across your mobile and desktop devices for a pair of shoes you already purchased? It’s bad enough for an individual going about their day and trying to enjoy their favorite content, but it might be even more painful for the advertiser who is paying to oversaturate their audience. This is not only a poor user experience, it’s also a waste of money.

As a buyer, you now have options for managing frequency across multiple devices and screens. You can use our advanced frequency management tools to set frequency caps and goals across channels and campaigns. And you can apply the same frequency rules on both The Trade Desk and Walmart DSP. This means you can get more out of your media spend and provide a better experience for your customers.


Leverage data from retailers and independent measurement providers to close the loop on sales

The ability to connect your media investment to real-world sales is the holy grail of advertising. Yet, in order to do this, you need access to all the relevant data.

That’s why we partner with retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Target to offer closed-loop measurement. With transparent reporting, advertisers can connect online and in-store sales back to digital touchpoints to understand true return on ad spend (ROAS). And with reporting available throughout the campaign, you can optimize your tactics mid-flight to focus on the best-performing strategies.

Even if you don’t sell products at the retailers we’re partnering with today, you can still connect your campaigns to the outcomes that matter most. Start by leveraging our marketplace of independent data partners to attribute real-world outcomes, like foot traffic and offline sales, to your digital campaigns. Take this a step further with conversion lift experiments and brand lift studies to understand the impact of your marketing efforts on driving incremental lift. And finally, reach out to your dedicated account team at The Trade Desk to identify the retailers that are most important to your business, so we can partner and provide the retail data you need.

To learn more about how The Trade Desk is using retail data to revolutionize the digital space, check out our page here.