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Retail Media Analytics: connecting disparate data sources for better decision making

Frederic CLEMENT
September 12, 2023
20
min read

Introduction

The meteoric rise of retail media networks represents a seismic shift in marketing. Retailers like Amazon, Walmart or Carrefour have invested heavily in building out their own digital advertising platforms. And brands are flocking to these new channels, with retail media spend expected to top $60 billion by 2024.

But capitalizing on the promise of highly targeted, measurable advertising enabled by retail media analytics platforms hinges on effectively connecting the disparate data sources both within brands and across retailer-brand partnerships. Breaking down data silos to enable integrated insights provides the foundation for optimizing decisions and experiences across channels. This article will examine the challenges brands face in consolidating their data, strategies for connecting sources, and the imperative of getting this right to drive success.

The value of connected data for Retail Media

First-party data sits at the core of what makes retail media networks so disruptive. Retailers have an unprecedented view into shopper behaviors and purchasing patterns across journeys. This data powers the targeting and personalization underpinning effective retail media campaigns and ad spend.

Integrating other sources expands possibilities further. Layering in audience insights from digital and social campaigns provides a fuller picture of marketing funnel performance. Combining online and offline sales data connects digital ads to in-store behavior. Appending third-party data enriches profiles. Linking disparate inputs enables optimizing spend, offers and creative across touchpoints.

But disconnected data from multiple retail media networks restricts possibilities. When systems and tools silo insights, marketers cannot capitalize on retail media’s precision. The path to maximizing retail media ROI runs through connecting the dots across data.

Challenges of disparate data from digital advertising

While essential, consolidating data analytics in digital advertising represents a sizable obstacle. Within most brands, systems and structures inhibit integration. Ecommerce analysts use different tools than social media marketers. Marketing databases reside separately from sales systems. The larger the brand, the more fractured it becomes.

This manifests in four primary data disconnects:

Customer Data Silos: Brands lack unified identifier frameworks to tie behaviors together across channels. Is the snapped social follower the same household adding items to their Walmart cart? Connecting shoppers' data is crucial.

Channel Silos: Even when brands consolidate customer data, getting channel-specific insights to talk is hard. Ecommerce analytics don’t interface with in-store sales data. Creative testing on Amazon DSP doesn’t link to site search performance. These gaps limit holistic optimization.

Tool/Infrastructure Silos: Brands choose specialized tools for different functions like social analytics or search intelligence. But disparate systems with fragmented data schemas make aggregating outputs difficult. APIs help but don’t eliminate obstacles.

Organizational Silos: When analysts sit in channel-specific teams, data stays siloed. Search marketers don’t readily share optimization learnings with social counterparts. Self-interest overrides enterprise-wide improvement. More on this organizational topic.

These four fractured data foundations severely inhibit leveraging retail media’s advantages. But actively connecting sources provides pathways to maximize investments.

Strategies to connect data sources from multiple retail media networks

While challenging, brands are making progress bridging data divides by:

Implementing Data Management Platforms: Consolidating data into unified schemas enables tying behaviors together. Integrating analytics outputs provides single source of truth. This requires investments in technology and process changes.

Building Custom Integrations: Direct pipelines between tools/infrastructure provide connectivity. APIs facilitate linking campaign management and retail media platforms. The flexibility of custom builds comes with complexity.

Creating Centralized Analytics Teams: Dedicated data experts working across business units and systems provide objective analysis. They surface insights from cross-channel signals that channel-specific teams can miss.

Forging Data Sharing Partnerships: Exchanging data insights with retailers helps both parties optimize experiences. This necessitates careful governance as brands relinquish some control. But mutual gains outweigh risks.

These strategies underscore that, as always, technology alone cannot solve divided data. Changes to teams, culture, and processes are integral for brands to actualize connectivity.

The path forward for Retail Media Analytics

Connecting data silos is imperative to unlock retail media’s potential and properly measure online sales. But brands must evolve holistically to realize unified decision making.

Changes required include:

  • Modernizing identity frameworks and integration infrastructure to enable linking insights.
  • Restructuring teams and reporting lines to foster enterprise-wide thinking.
  • Changing KPIs (i.e. go beyond return on ad spend) and incentives to encourage sharing data for collective benefit.
  • Proactively forging win-win data partnerships with retailers.
  • Implementing technology and processes with flexibility to accommodate future shifts.
  • Maintaining laser focus on driving value for consumers and the brand.

Data will only grow more vital for retail media effectiveness and efficiency. Brands that transform to connect insights across environments will make smarter choices and create frictionless shopper experiences. Those clinging to fragmented foundations will miss opportunities from retail media’s revolution.

The possibilities unlocked by tapping into connected data at scale are profound. As retail media spend rapidly migrates from analog to digital channels, integrating sources provides the roadmap for shaping strategies. The challenges are real. But the payoff makes overcoming them imperative.

Conclusion

Retail media represents a disruptive new frontier, but effectively navigating it relies upon unified data. The path from disparate, siloed inputs to integrated insights enabling optimization is complex yet crucial. Strategic changes across technology, teams and processes can help brands transform. Partnerships will also grow in importance for exchanging data. As commerce media evolves, connected data will underpin success. Brands able to capitalize on consolidated outputs will make better decisions and outmaneuver competitors still trapped in channel-specific mindsets. The future favors the integrators (we know one them :) )

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