With 51 percent of all online shoppers making more than half of their purchases through e-commerce, the experience between physical and virtual stores needs to be as seamless as possible.
Big brand statements in-store should be echoed online, but too often brand and performance marketing are planned completely separately. Now that programmatic has opened up premium inventory, previously withheld by publishers concerned about yield management through programmatic, and moved beyond display advertising, there is a lot for retailers to take leverage.
[Editor’s note: Programmatic marketing essentially means digital ad buying that uses software instead of people.]
So, what does it take to put together a great programmatic campaign for fashion retailers? Here are some best practices for marketers to successfully execute their brand and performance programmatic campaigns.
Short-Term Cycles; Long-Term Thinking
Fashion seasons have evolved; the see-now-buy-now concept of combining runway seasons and retail calendars means that digital advertising methods play well to the gratification of instant purchases. Brands such as Burberry, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger all broke from the traditional seasonal mold during London Fashion Week last September by staging the first shoppable runway. Many reported a huge uplift in sales and their best day of sales for the year. While fashion houses need to be agile in updating their collections quickly to meet demand, they also need to think long term in a sustainable way.
Using programmatic to deliver greater consumer insights and analytics as well as planning ahead over longer periods of time, rather than confining it to a reactive tactic, can help retail brands piece together buying trends to ensure they are better prepared for the future. Dynamic creative optimization, or DCO, could also be used to change the message and merchandise on the fly, tailoring hundreds of relevant creatives to the right end customer.
A creative with impact is as important as choosing how to reach your customers. Successful campaigns require branding and performance departments to come together and utilize creative messaging across display formats. Dynamic and rich media creative provides brands with new opportunities in programmatic. This is especially important for retailers with a high volume of products, as this can further tailor the experience for prospective customers.
Often, beautiful creative is left behind when it comes to performance campaigns, with advertisers opting for bold — and often ugly — wording instead of visuals that are impactful. There is an opportunity to more closely align your brand creative to engage your audience and drive results.
When looking to expand your customer base with brand focused messaging and prospecting, work with specialists who understand audience data and measurement to accurately target the right consumers in desired environments, for example when they’re on the train on the way into work or in the evening when they’re at home browsing social media. Programmatic has the ability to tie TV, display, social media and native advertising together with high impact creative, relevant messages and videos. The insights from all those channels can be pooled to identify future consumers who are more likely to be responsive to your brand.
When using programmatic for retail, it also pays not to have all your eggs in one basket when it comes to technology. We compared 40 of our retail campaigns that ran in 2016 and found that on average, campaign performance improved by 29 percent when using a multiplatform approach compared to using one single DSP. Uniting channels and technology together with great creative is the best way to achieve your campaign goals.
The importance of setting appropriate goals that are relevant to programmatic display cannot be stressed enough — often KPIs, or key performance indicators, are lifted from one performance tactic to another with the objective of achieving easy measurement across all tactics. It can come down to legacy analysis standards by department and the apparent need to compare apples for apples, even if the channels are different.
For long-term success, standard metrics put in place by out of date thinking needs to be challenged. If you’re a multichannel retailer, goals should take into account online and off-line points of sale, or POS — complimenting rather than pitting them against each other. Metrics such as conversion rate per post code or sales per proximity to store — be that online or off-line — are worth considering. With the recent ramp up with from bricks-and-mortar in requesting e-mail addresses at POS, the online-off-line customer ID is getting closer to a reality.
Programmatic can give you the data and analysis to put forward a strong case for performance measurement change.
With more than a fifth of programmatic spend being attributed to the retail industry in 2016, and the world becoming more consumer focused and digitally driven, it’s clear that it will be a mainstay of the retail industry. From Burberry to MAC, retailers are making the decision to focus less on traditional advertising and more on direct-to-consumer methods. In 2015, this saw MAC’s distribution jump from 19 to 75 countries. In an industry that can be so positively influenced by real-time consumer interactions, now is the time to consider brand and performance consolidation and big-picture thinking in digital.