Kroger Launches Private Marketplace To Support First-Party Ad Targeting

Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM), Kroger Co.’s retail media business powered by 84.51°, on Wednesday announced the launch of a private programmatic advertising marketplace that allows agencies and brands to reach consumers through Kroger's audience data and preferred ad-buying platform.

Brands can reach relevant consumers across the web, using their own DSP of choice, and then optimize performance against actual retail sales. Kroger serves 60 million households annually nationwide.

About 18 months in the making, the strategy and technology focus on flexibility, control and speed, along with delivering on media accountability, according to Cara Pratt, senior vice president, Kroger Precision Marketing at 84.51°, which has about about 1,200 employees at 84.51°.

“Data is the critical ingredient that fuels the effectiveness of media on the front end, and around appropriate audience targeting that will deliver specific outcomes,” she said. “The proverbial advertising funnel of the past has collapsed. Many times, we talk about awareness, consideration and conversion. The collapse happened because consumers demand things in a certain way.”

Data models create thousands of variables to offer the perfect audience-targeting option from transactions tied mostly to consumers’ loyalty cards.

“About 96% of all transactions connected to the loyalty card,” she said.

Combined with other channels like traditional programmatic, social, connected TV or owned and operated assets, it creates “meaningful connections.” The platform pre-optimizes audiences to achieve best outcomes.

Publicis Groupe was the first holding company to participate in tests with brands such as Nestle. Helen Lin, chief digital officer at Publicis Groupe, believes the data unlocks new optimization levels for programmatic buyers, while giving advertisers the flexibility to manage the campaign in our existing tech stack.

“Reaching consumers throughout different routines means brands need solutions they can activate with greater addressability and flexibility across a multitude of existing and emerging platforms,” Lin said. “This new solution brings Kroger’s unique audience data and pairs it with brand’s chosen tech partners to enable that consistent, compelling storytelling.”

General Mills, Mondelez, and others have also participated. "On average, brands during alpha & beta testing realized 5 times return on ad spend," Pratt said.

Agencies or brands have access to the self-service portal. KPM creates the audience, then creates an ID, so the agency buyer on behalf of the brand will have access to layer the data on different inventory to transact on. It gives agencies and buyers a better understanding of the consumers, and reduces wasted ad impressions.

“We can expose 56% fewer impressions and deliver the same amount of sales lift for the brand,” Pratt said.  

The Kroger Private Marketplace gives advertisers self-service access to targeting; retail performance metrics such as sales lift, new buyers, and household penetration; and quality controls including verification and brand-safety tagging.

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