How retail media and social media are secret BFFs –

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Peanut butter and jelly, baseball and hot dogs, a scarf and a winter coat. These are all things that seamlessly go together and make the experience an even better one. But there are several things we routinely use, and are staples in our media and marketing tool kit, that we continue to view and plan separately. For years we have been placing them in their individual silos and frankly treating them like oil and water.
I’m talking here about retail media and social media, the perfect pairing. Truly prescient advertisers and marketers have caught on to coupling the two to transform consumers’ experiences and drive performance.
Retail media and social media are not enemies but BFFs (gasp!), and when used together, correctly, they can elevate your marketing strategy to new heights. Retail media has often been considered a challenger to social platforms such as Meta, Snapchat, Pinterest and Google. Amazon is one of the leaders in the retail media space that has been transformed as its search and DSP advertising capabilities have expanded significantly. The retail media landscape continues to grow with Instacart, Walmart, Target and others that have created formidable ecosystems of products, data and the increasing need to give consumers a seamless purchase experience that connects them with products and services digitally.
But do advertisers have to choose just one channel, retail or social? Don’t believe it! As marketers, we need to subscribe to the idea that social and retail media can work harmoniously together, to drive business outcomes and align with how consumers are navigating the two spaces.
It all starts with understanding not only your business goals, but also how you want your consumer to experience your brand through the various retail and social channels. Your strategy cannot just focus on how to allocate your budget across several platforms, but how to map out a collaborative strategic framework that leans on the strengths of each social and retail platform. It’s a framework that doesn’t shy away from their weaknesses, and understands where the intersection of possibility for both lies and how they fuel each the other’s performance.
It’s important to follow the consumer story. After you’ve identified who your consumer is, it’s imperative to have a clear outline of all targeting segments that you want to deploy and to pinpoint which audience is best activated within retail versus social platforms, based on its native strengths and measurement capabilities. This audience mapping by platform will also allow you to create your communications and consumer journey strategy. For example, if social focuses on persona testing, but retail focuses on conquesting and consideration audiences, you can then devise a feedback loop for identifying new prospects and retargeting audiences to drive performance.
Developing a surgical audience strategy that combines retail and social is just the beginning. Once you understand the consumers you’ll be speaking to, at which part of the consumer journey and on what platform, ad creative becomes an integral part of success. Creative should have elements of similarity across both social and retail. Consider utilizing a product- and SKU-driven approach for both channels but optimizing your format mix by platform. This might entail using images and video for social ads and a mix of custom and auto-generated creative on Amazon for a cohesive brand story across marketplaces.
Subtle creative cues can also be applied specifically for your retail platforms that tie back to product detail pages (PDPs) and other organic pages. Our Code3 team has seen great benefits from optimizing PDPs to leverage best practices, and using the same creative themes and tone as the brand website and social ads. This provides the consumer with a seamless experience in brand quality across all channel and platform touchpoints.
Cross-channel measurement between retail and social is still not a perfect science. There are specific challenges to off-platform tracking for social when trying to understand how it drives performance to various retail channels. Walled gardens, for example, make data sharing and performance visibility limited.
Therefore, taking inventory of these measurement challenges and strengths will help you to uncover potential evaluation strategies in understanding sales lift from each channel and campaign. Here’s a start: Check out the correlation between, on the one hand, driving website traffic and clicks to purchase, and on the other hand, adding to carts over a certain period of time.
If you take into consideration all the above, retail and social media can not only coexist, they can also be a performance driving force in your marketing arsenal. Visit Code3 and contact us today.
Code3 is a performance-driven digital marketing agency operating at the intersection of media, creative and commerce. We exist to accelerate growth for our clients across the most powerful platforms to drive results at scale. Code3 delivers best-in-class digital marketing services with quality, efficiency and speed at the forefront of our partnerships. Our teams are fully immersed in their client’s businesses and are personally committed to their development, growth and success. Today’s landscape demands brands and advertisers be everywhere at all times. At Code3, we make this possible with a complete service offering that lives under one roof.
In this article:
Yvonne Williams, VP of Media at Code3 has 19 years of media experience which spans across multiple mediums (Digital, Audio, TV, Radio, OOH and Print) and categories at the largest agencies in the world. Currently she oversees the complete Digital portfolio for Code3 which encompasses media planning, strategy and buying for high caliber companies such as LVMH, P&G, Gap, and Chipotle. She is focused on delivering holistic cross-channel media planning that promotes innovation and drives performance at scale. Her experience in leading collaboration and streamlined communication across agencies, brands and vendor partners has proven to drive effective campaigns that meet brand goals, vision and activate consumer engagement that translates into action.



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