Retail Advertising is Evolving

In the latest shift in the retail advertising landscape, Target just announced a partnership with CitrusAd to expand their site’s advertising ecosystem. Beyond Amazon and Walmart, Target is one of many online retailers that are beginning to open up their advertising ecosystems in 2021.

Knowing what’s changing will help you stay ahead of your competitors. To get you all the details, our own Andrew Waber hosted Dana Concepcion, SVP of Media Sales at CitrusAd, in a deep dive conversation about advertising on and the changing retail advertising landscape.

Webinar Takeaways

  • New opportunities for selling and advertising on
  • Why Amazon and sellers should look into new channels
  • The right strategy to successfully expand to new retailers

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Key Takeaways

Early movers on new marketplaces gain an advantage

“We saw this with Walmart in particular. Walmart didn’t have an API-enabled advertising product up until really early last year, but they had invited certain folks in early and we were one of the first partners to do that. And we’ve noticed that those folks that got in early that began testing, even if it was with limited budgets, six months later, they were in a much better spot, even from an organic point of view, in terms of ranking better on search.” – Andrew Waber

Use display ads to reach shoppers who are already on-site and in the shopping mindset

“Whether they’re searching for products or browsing the aisles, you’ve basically got them at a very low funnel point of purchase. I’m already on ShopRite doing my grocery shopping and I’m already on Petco looking for pet food. So this is why display media, within the retailer environment, you could say it’s a little bit more upper-funnel but it’s still very performance-based because…it is all onsite and they’re doing their shopping already.“ – Dana Concepcion

Targeting competitor keywords can give challenger brands a place on the digital shelf

“It’s even really good too, for those smaller up and coming quote-unquote challenger brands. If you’re new to the space, if you’re a new vitamin brand and people don’t really know you by name, but they know some other big names, you can use that to try to get people to be aware of your product. We’ve seen that work really well, especially with display, because you could also tell a little bit more of a story rather than just serving the actual ad. There’s more that you can put in the actual ad unit itself, any kind of a promotional offer coupon. And then once you click on this, it will bring you to a page that you can choose to tell your story even further if you want. So it can be just a simple listing page with all of your SKUs, or we can house videos there. If you’re a food brand, you can put recipes there. So there’s a ton you can do there to try and engage the customer a little bit more, which works really well especially for up and coming new brands or even if it’s a new product.” – Dana Concepcion

Grocery shopper behavior has changed and the changes are going to stick

“Old habits die hard and people have been doing online shopping now specifically for grocery, which they would have never thought to do before, those have become old habits. They’ve been doing that for eight, nine, 10 months or more. Even if there’s a little bit of pullback, those trends are not going away. The acceleration that you saw is going to be like a new kind of baseline. Yes, the subsequent growth won’t be another 40% year-over-year, but we saw essentially two years’ worth of ecommerce growth in one year. That is impacting how retailers are addressing this advertising market… It’s important for the growth of their site, as well as their sellers.” – Andrew Waber

There’s a huge opportunity specifically on

“Target has seen tremendous growth, and this speaks to what they saw last year in 2020. Overall a 34% increase in unique visits online, a 77% increase in overall page views, and over a hundred percent increase in online orders. That’s a huge jump for Target and they already had a lot of traffic and ecommerce on their site to begin with… And then if you look at the same-day services…They have three different options for those… I can physically walk into a store and pick up the order or I can drive up and not even get out of my car. Someone comes out, you pop the trunk open, and they put the products in there. And then the last is the same-day delivery through Shipt where somebody from Shipt goes and does the shopping and then brings it to your home that same day.” – Dana Concepcion

Be strategic about how you use ad options on Target

“Our platform does allow you to optimize on an individual keyword level, meaning that you can have a strategy for each individual keyword that relates to your products. You can also have strategies to bid on individual SKUs. So if there are certain SKUs that you want to show up more, because maybe they yield a higher margin for you, or maybe they’re a new product and you just want to get them seen. You can also bid on a category level as well. So you do have more options with the CitrusAd platform to be more strategic.” – Dana Concepcion

Don’t expect Target to be exactly the same as Amazon or Walmart

“There are some differences and Target is not the same right now as Amazon and Walmart. One thing that is similar to Walmart is that Target’s ads operate on a first-price auction, rather than a second-price auction like on Amazon …One thing that is very different, is right now there’s no API connection. So one thing that something like Teikametrics does is we’ll use the API to essentially programmatically make many bid adjustments, so that kind of near real-time action isn’t part of Target as of yet. I think the final, biggest point is Target’s ad product is really 1P-centric as of right now. But if you’re a 3P seller, keep in mind those options are definitely going to be coming.” – Andrew Waber