Sam's Club Links Search Ads To Retail Store Purchases To Improve Attribution, Performance

Sam's Club, a membership warehouse club and division of Walmart Inc., on Tuesday announced that advertisers can now attribute in-store consumer purchases to online search ads.

Company executives believe Sam's Club Member Access Platform (MAP) is the first among retail media platforms to connect search and sponsored product ads to offline sales.

“Sam's Club MAP is blazing a trail for advertisers in today’s omnichannel world with true closed-loop attribution,” Alexis Josephs, vice president and general manager of Sam's Club Member Access Platform, wrote in an email to Search & Performance Marketing Daily. “We’ve transparently connected search ads to offline sales to accurately identify the revenue each ad generates.”

MAP relies on real-time, first-party omnichannel data for each member transaction -- including in-club, in search apps, and web and enabling the platform to deliver accurate transaction dat, without estimating performance. Advertisers now have the ability to see exactly what revenue is generated by each ad, including search and sponsored-product campaigns. 

Consumer online search historically posed many challenges for advertisers in retail media in terms of attributing sales to specific campaigns.

In-store attribution was especially difficult. Other retailers can offer offline reporting metrics, but they rely on loyalty card purchases or panel data, which are estimates that do not include all consumer purchase behavior.

Josephs explains that the first-party transaction data from its membership model allows Sam’s Club to make these connections without having to estimate performance. The focus is on  understanding its members to serve them relevant, personalized ads and to curate a selection of products they want, in order to improve the experience.

Attribution leads to higher return on ad spend (ROAS) and increased sales online and in stores. For Sam’s Club MAP advertisers, overall ROAS has increased an average of nearly 30% since adding in-club sales to the attribution mix, the company said.

For example, Georgia Pacific -- a Sam’s Club supplier and advertiser on the MAP platform -- is using in-club attribution to drive greater value from its campaigns. 

The company said there’s a “huge group of members” who view an online search ad when shopping but purchase the product in the store. Until now it wasn’t possible for advertisers to connect the search ad with the purchase. Now they can. In-club attribution is available for all Sam’s Club advertisers who have live sponsored products campaigns. 

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