Has Purchase-Based Targeting Run Its Course?

April 08, 2019

Man holding a credit card making a purchase on a mobile device

Where people shop matters. But do CPG marketers recognize this?

According to a proprietary research study conducted by Triad® surveying more than 200 qualified respondents who launched a CPG digital media campaign in the last four months, including key decision makers from both brands and agencies, the answer is clear.

Room for Improvement

There is undoubtedly a consensus surrounding the high value of purchase-based targeting; however, current utilization as a percentage of overall spend is remarkably low among CPG marketers — 5% to be exact. This is likely due to perceptions of data quality, reach and roadblocks in measurement.

Furthermore, 93% of both brands and agencies confirmed that while they do currently employ purchase-based targeting in their media strategies, it’s less than optimal to reach people effectively and drive retail sales through digital channels.

Access to retailer insights has been limited to purchase-based consumer data from third-party companies. Purchase-based targeting opened doors for media productivity and has given brands the opportunity to identify and define buyer characteristics, but it has also revealed limitations with extrapolated audience models and a lack of segments conversely built utilizing one-to-one customization and unique shopper IDs. As a result, brands are often left with limited visibility into shoppers’ purchase dynamics, placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Retail is Relevant

Retail signals provide marketers with consumer behavior insights along the shopper journey — who they are, what they buy and where — extending far beyond past-purchase data.

Consider how geographic proximity to home or work can influence your choice of retailer. Or how in-store promotions impact the when and where of consumer decisions. Product availability at a specific retailer is, of course, a critical factor.

All these consumer signals contribute to more impactful media delivery that drives higher ROAS. But until now, pulling them together through a unified, shopper-centric approach has been a complex and costly undertaking.

Targeting With Precision

By connecting the consumer journey and its relationship to a retailer, a signal-based targeting approach enables brands to reach the most relevant shoppers and convert them to buyers in real time. For advertisers seeking a better way to execute more precise targeting practices, this is good news.

In fact, audience targeting was the most important capability by far when selecting an advertising platform, as noted by 70% of respondents — proving an insatiable appetite for a better approach.

An additional 62% of those polled confirmed the greatest area of opportunity for improving digital marketing initiatives with the objective of driving sales is incorporating more retail-level signals, which would positively influence how marketers serve dynamic creative and content for more engaging shopper experiences.

Let’s remember that where people choose to shop matters, and their choices are affected by various factors such as convenience, location, competitive offers or others.

It’s no surprise that 90% of respondents agree purchase-based targeting could be more valuable at impacting sales if a brand’s retailer opportunity was considered. Nearly all respondents felt that the ability to target specific retailer audiences would make their media investments work harder.

Brands will gain a stronger sense of shoppers’ future transaction propensities with retail-signal targeting layering disparate data sets to ensure campaign efficiency through one holistic customer view. And for CPG brands looking to drive sales and increase ROAS, that makes all the difference.


Retail Response™ — Triad’s proprietary media planning and optimization platform helping CPG brands maximize return on ad spend by driving consumers to relevant retailers where products are sold — utilizes consumer signals at retail to enhance traditional targeting and measurement solutions.

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