Three Takeaways from Cyber Monday 2022

Three Takeaways from Cyber Monday 2022

Retail

The numbers are in: Cyber Monday was a success. And not because inflation made purchasing volume seem bigger than what it was. No, demand fueled a big day for anyone selling online.

According to Adobe Analytics, Cyber Monday generated $11.3 billion in sales online. This is 5.8 percent more than consumers spent on the same day last year and a reversal of fortune. Consider that in 2021, Cyber Monday generated $10.7 billion, which was actually a drop from 2020. Meanwhile, Salesforce said Cyber Monday online sales hit $12.2 billion in the United States, representing an 8.3 percent increase over 2021.

Cyber Monday SalesAll told, about 196.7 million shoppers made purchases during the five-day holiday period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday known as Cyber Week, the National Retail Federation said on Tuesday.

Adobe said that the Cyber Monday figures were based on more transactions overall – not spend boosted by inflation. At the peak, people were spending $12.8 million per minute on Monday.

According to Adobe, top sellers included games, gaming consoles, Legos, Hatchimals, Disney Encanto, Pokémon cards, Bluey, Dyson products, strollers, Apple Watches, drones, and digital cameras. Toys as a category saw a 452 percent boost in sales versus a day in October.

Wait a minute. Wasn’t this the year when inflation-wary shoppers were going to rein in their holiday spending? Wasn’t this the year when Amazon’s Prime Day I and II, Walmart’s Deals for Days, and Target’s virtual Black Friday sales throughout November were going to cannibalize Cyber Monday sales?

Not so fast. As it turns out, consumers were spending during the holiday promotions before Cyber Week but also holding out for deals – as they always do. And they did something else: they did their homework. Consumers knew that retailers were carrying excess inventory after two years of experiencing inventory shortages. They knew the deep discounts were going to happen. And so, they waited. As Tech Crunch reported, “Deep discounts — retailers perhaps anticipating needing to have something more to lure shoppers — have played a big role, too, as have the sheer availability of goods after shortages of the years before.”

Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, said, “With oversupply and a softening consumer spending environment, retailers made the right call this season to drive demand through heavy discounting. It spurred online spending to levels that were higher than expected, and reinforced e-commerce as a major channel to drive volume and capture consumer interest.”

In addition, mobile influenced Cyber Monday shopping, accounting for 43 percent of all online sales. But it should be noted that the 43 percent share was much lower than Thanksgiving Day, when mobile accounted for 55 percent of purchases. That’s because people are back to work in Cyber Monday and using their desktops more.

So, what can retailers learn from the results?

  • The retailers that stayed committed to their online ad spend won. By keeping their brand names and merchandise visible, they were best positioned to capture the Cyber Monday traffic. Retailers that scaled back their online ad spending because they feared consumers were going to spend less ended up missing out.
  • As always, a strong blend of desktop-based and mobile ad spend was key to winning Cyber Monday traffic. True, the mobile traffic fell from Thanksgiving Day, but 43 percent is still a sizable number, and a well-balanced ad strategy was the way to go.
  • Winning Cyber Monday requires a strategy for winning Cyber Week. Demand was uniformly strong for the entire period of Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Advertisers that managed their budgets with an eye toward driving traffic and sales for the entire Cyber Week captured a “Cyber Monday bonus.”

Bottom line: if you kept your holiday advertising strong and ignored the naysayers, you won Cyber Monday.

Contact True Interactive

True Interactive has deep experience helping clients plan and implement holiday shopping campaigns online. We can help you, too. We understand how to create nimble search campaigns and multi-channel ad outreach to target consumers with the right message at the right time. Contact us to learn more.

Lead image source:
https://pixabay.com/vectors/cyber-monday-neon-sale-ecommerce-5240883/

Why YouTube Is Turning to Shorts for Social Commerce

Why YouTube Is Turning to Shorts for Social Commerce

YouTube

Short-form video is an important battleground for brands and consumers right now. TikTok really changed the game for video content creation by inspiring millions of people to create TikTok videos that typically last anywhere from 10 seconds to 60 seconds. Since then, a host of imitators have appeared, including Meta’s Reels on Facebook and Instagram; and YouTube Shorts.

Many businesses have quickly cracked the code for creating short-form video, and everyday users continue to up the ante, too, which has accelerated the rise of the creator economy, or everyday creators who monetize their content with the help of the host app.

Short-form video is also rapidly evolving as a format for creating ads, free content, and shoppable experiences. The latest example: YouTube Shorts is expanding shopping features.

What Is YouTube Shorts?

Shorts is a feature available to YouTube users. With Shorts, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds, similar to how TikTok and Instagram Reels are used. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once a person opens one Short, they get access to tons more of them (again, think TikTok or Reels playing one after another.) According to Google, YouTube Shorts now averages over 30 billion daily views (four times as many as a year ago).

It did not take long for businesses to get involved with Shorts. As we have blogged, brands everywhere are connecting with the vast YouTube audience with organic content and advertising.

For instance, Kitchen and home marketplace Food52 is posting Shorts that offer sneak peeks at its longer-form content on the traditional version of YouTube, as well as repurposing some recipe videos. Drupely’s olive-oil brand Graza says it is creating user engagement by posting how-to cooking and recipe content. According to Graza, videos focused solely on Graza products do better on TikTok than on Shorts.

Social Commerce on Shorts

If YouTube has its way, more brands will be using Shorts to sell things to people. New shopping features are being tested by YouTube in order to accelerate social commerce on YouTube. The new shopping features allow users to purchase products as they scroll through Shorts.

In the United States, eligible creators can tag products from their own stores. Viewers in the United States, India, Brazil, Canada and Australia can see the tags and shop through the Shorts. (The plan is to expand tagging for more creators and countries.)

YouTube is also experimenting with an affiliate program in the United States. This makes it possible for creators to earn commissions through purchases of recommended products in their Shorts and regular videos. YouTube says that this test is in early days. The program will be expanded in 2023.

This is just the latest in many efforts by YouTube to inject social shopping into the user experience. For instance, YouTube launched shoppable ads and the ability to shop directly from livestreams hosted by creators. YouTube has good reason to make it easier to buy and sell products on Shorts. Shorts has topped 1.5 billion monthly users. According to gen.video, YouTube ranks third overall in terms of where consumers do their product research before buying, only behind Amazon and Google directly.

YouTube Shorts is in a race with Instagram and TikTok to win attention from shoppers. Both apps have a head start on Shorts, and TikTok is testing TikTok Shop in the United States. TikTok Shop allows users to buy products directly through the app. All of them are trying to get a slice of the social shopping pie: social commerce is expected to be a $2 trillion market by 2025.

Brands are already figuring out how to sell products via Shorts. Glossier sold products through Shorts in June by creating a challenge for users to try. Glossier gave about a hundred influencers a new pencil eyeliner and encouraged them to create Shorts videos with the hashtag #WrittenInGlossier in the caption. People who tapped the hashtag were brought to the Glossier website. There, they could buy the eyeliner and were asked to recreate a look as part of the challenge. Any Shorts video that included the hashtag was shoppable.

2023 will likely be a year for more shopping features to proliferate on video platforms, with Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram duking it out for consumers’ attention amid a recessionary economy. Who will win? We’ll report progress here.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Why Google Is Bullish about Winning Its Fight with TikTok

How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

Why Google Brought Advertising to YouTube Shorts

Why YouTube Shorts Matters to Brands

How Retailers Can Succeed on Amazon during the Holiday Season

How Retailers Can Succeed on Amazon during the Holiday Season

Advertising

By Tim Colucci and Morgan Reilly

It’s a challenging time to be a merchant selling products on Amazon. In October, Amazon’s vaunted Prime Day II sale underperformed according to analysts’ analysis. And then Amazon forecast its Q4 retail sales to be $140 billion to $148 billion in the fourth quarter, far short of analysts’ average estimate of $156 billion. Meanwhile, Adobe Inc. forecast that US e-commerce sales in November and December will rise just 2.5% from the prior year.

All of this is because consumers are more price conscious amid inflation and fears of a pending recession, so they will likely spend less.

Independent sellers on Amazon’s website, who account for a majority of unit sales, are bracing for a challenging holiday season in the run-up to Cyber Week. Many of them advertise their products on Amazon via Amazon Ads. How should they adapt their approach if at all?

Here are some tips:

1 Don’t Let Prime Day Results Spook You

Klover, a company that analyzes real-time commerce and financial data, found that households spent around 40 percent less during the October event compared with the July Prime Day. But merchants were constrained by Amazon’s ground rules for selling on Prime Day II, which prohibited vendors from featuring top discounts on both October Prime Day and Cyber Week. So, many merchants likely were hesitant to feature their top discounts/promotions because they needed to save them for Cyber Week. Also, many retailers might not have been prepared to have inventory ready for two Prime Days (July and October) and Cyber Week — and in those cases, they are likely holding out for Cyber Week.

2 Focus on Value, Not Price

As a partner to advertisers this holiday season, our own experience indicates that the lowest cost item isn’t necessarily the most popular. So far we’re seeing traditionally popular sellers are doing well. Consumers are willing to pay for what they really want. They’re willing to trade down for a lower-cost alternative, but that doesn’t mean they’re going for the cheapest items on the menu. Beware inventory dumping, which burned many businesses on Prime Day. During the inflationary times we’re living in, price-conscious shoppers are less likely to buy something extra just because it’s on sale.

3 Consider Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display in Addition to Sponsored Products

For many merchants, Amazon’s Sponsored Products ad unit is the bread-and-butter of their ad spend. Sponsored products are used to promote a single product and take the consumer directly to the product page. Additional creative such as images and text are not needed, making sponsored products the simplest ad to set up. Merchants use keyword targeting to match products to a consumer’s search and show ads on the search results page or product detail page. 

Amazon Sponsored Products

Sponsored Brands allow for multiple products or titles to be promoted together using a custom headline and logo. Consumers are taken to a product page if they click on a product, or to a designated landing page if they click on the image or ad text. Sponsored Brands are good for driving awareness, in addition to sales. For example, advertisers can pair new or seasonal items with a related top seller in an ad to increase visibility in other product offerings. Or if a seller has multiple versions of the same product, using Sponsored Brand ads showcases the variety available within a single ad.

Amazon Sponsored Brands

Sponsored Display, on the other hand, makes it possible to engage with shoppers on and off Amazon with self-service display ads. Advertisers can engage audiences browsing specific detail pages, on the Amazon home page, on Twitch (owned by Amazon), and across third-party apps and websites. Amazon says that on average companies that use Sponsored Display see up to 82 percent of their sales driven by new-to-brand customers.

 

So, why do Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display matter? Because the 2022 holiday season is more competitive. As Amazon noted in its earnings forecast, shoppers are spending less. They’re choosier. So, advertisers have to work harder at the awareness and consideration phases, which is where Sponsored Brands (for consideration) and Sponsored Display (for awareness) can be especially useful by showcasing more of a product’s features on and off Amazon.

4 Know Your Cyber Week Strategy

Today merchants everywhere (whether on Amazon or not) need to manage their holiday advertising spend against an increasingly complex set of choices: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now Cyber Week (Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Super Sunday, and Cyber Monday).

You do want to fund your advertising for all of Cyber Week, but some days are more appealing than others depending on what you sell. Cyber Monday remains huge, especially the peak shopping evening hours. Cyber Monday will likely loom very large in 2022 as shoppers hold out for the best possible deal.

Each day a retailer gets closer to Christmas, sales will inevitably taper off, off, but retailers should keep placeholder budget in place up until the last day free shipping is possible.

Contact True Interactive

True Interactive has deep experience helping clients plan and implement holiday shopping campaigns online, and this includes the use of Amazon Ads. We can help you, too. We understand how to create nimble search campaigns and multi-channel ad outreach to target consumers with the right message at the right time. Contact us to learn more.

Why Black Friday Is Alive and Well

Why Black Friday Is Alive and Well

Advertising

Over the past few years, there’s been considerable speculation that Black Friday is mattering less. That’s because major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart moved up Black Friday-style sales throughout the fall. Pre-empting Black Friday was especially apparent in 2020, when retailers needed to be resourceful with the COVID-19 pandemic discouraging in-store shopping. But in 2022, the hallowed shopping day is showing signs of life although it’s no longer an exclusively offline event. To wit:

  • Amazon’s Fall Prime Day Sale, while popular, did not rake in the cash that it was expected to generate. According to consumer data firm Numerator, the average order size during the Prime Early Access sale in October was $46.68, down nearly 23 percent from Prime Day in July. Numerator said the most popular categories sold were in order, household essentials, health and beauty, apparel and shoes, toys and video games, and electronics. Interestingly, only 29 percent of Fall Prime Day shoppers said they used the sale to buy holiday gifts, and 95 percent said they’re likely to shop Amazon for more gifts as the season continues. This suggests that shoppers are holding out for more shopping down the road, which bodes well for Black Friday.
  • According to the National Retail Federation, holiday shoppers will spend at a healthy pace albeit at a slower one than previous years. The NRF says that holiday retail sales during November and December will grow between 6 percent and 8 percent over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. Last year’s holiday sales grew 13.5 percent over 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion – but of course in 2022, shoppers are up against chronic inflation and economic uncertainty. The NRF expects that online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 10 percent and 12 percent to between $262.8 billion and $267.6 billion. This figure is up from $238.9 billion last year, which saw incredible growth in digital channels as consumers turned to online shopping to meet their holiday needs during the pandemic.
  • One in five consumers planning to shop for the holidays say they’ll spend less because their economic situation has changed, according to an NPD survey. More than a third of U.S. consumers can’t afford gifts this year due to inflation and higher costs of living, and nearly half plan to spend less this season, according to research from Credit Karma. But that may mean that they’re waiting to shop, as 40 percent told Credit Karma that they are waiting for annual sales, including Black Friday.
  • On the other hand, retailers such as Target and Walmart are pumping up Black Friday, but they’re once again extending the day throughout November. Walmart is running three Black Friday style deals throughout November, including Cyber Monday. This of course suggests that retailers are hedging their bets as Amazon has done with its October Prime Day sale. Based on Amazon’s experience, retailers should expect more hold-outs for Black Friday weekend November 25-28 (counting Cyber Monday). One reason: retailer are carrying a lot of inventory in 2022. Consumers are in a stronger position. They know it. And they’ll expect more deals as 2022 comes to a close during the biggest shopping day of the year.

Advice for Brands

  • Accept the reality that deals will drive sales more than ever. Discounted products and lower-priced alternatives to name-brand products are going to win the day, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. House brands are going to have a strong year.
  • Complement your online advertising approach with strong organic content that amplifies your holiday deals. Google just released a number of features to do that. For instance, Google added new ways to find deals across the web using Google Search through new coupons and promotions, side-by-side deal views, and a new price insights navigator. Clearly, Google wants more retailers to manage their product listings on Google!

Contact True Interactive

True Interactive has deep experience helping clients plan and implement holiday shopping campaigns online. We can help you, too. We understand how to create nimble search campaigns and multi-channel ad outreach to target consumers with the right message at the right time. Contact us to learn more.

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/pwxESDWRwDE

Are Meta’s Problems as Bad As They Seem for Advertisers?

Are Meta’s Problems as Bad As They Seem for Advertisers?

Facebook Instagram Meta

Just when you think things couldn’t possibly get worse for Meta, along comes another disastrous earnings announcement. On October 26, Meta, the parent of Facebook and Instagram, announced third-quarter earnings characterized by declining revenue and profits.

Quarterly revenue was $27.7 billion, down more than 4 percent from a year ago, after Meta posted a 1 percent decrease last quarter. Advertising revenue came in at $27.2 billion, down nearly 4 percent year-over-year (although that figure beat analysts’ estimates of $26.9 billion). Since advertising represents 98.2 percent of the company’s total revenue, the revenue drop is especially worrisome for Meta.

So, what’s causing the meltdown?

Weakening Demand

The biggest factor: diminishing demand for ad products caused by market uncertainty. In a call with investors, CFO Dave Wehner cited “weak advertising demand, which we believe continues to be impacted by the uncertain and volatile macroeconomic landscape.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg added that “. . . it’s not clear that the economy has stabilized yet so we’re planning our budget somewhat more conservatively.” As a result, Meta predicted that ad revenues will be $30 billion to $32.5 billion for the fourth quarter, below analysts’ expectations of $32.2 billion. (That level would represent another decline from a year ago, when total revenue was $33.67 billion.)

The TikTok Factor

The company, like Google, also faces rising competition from TikTok, whose popular short-form videos have generated a sharp increase in advertising revenue. According to Statista, TikTok generated $4 billion in advertising revenue in 2021, a figure that is expected to double by 2024 and triple by 2026. Digiday reported recently that ad agencies are shifting content creation from Instagram and YouTube to TikTok. In April, Insider Intelligence predicted that TikTok’s ad revenue will grow 184 percent to nearly $6 billion in 2023 (that amount tops Twitter and Snap combined).

To fight TikTok, Meta has given priority to the development and growth of Reels, its short-form video format on Facebook and Instagram. Meta is now seeing 140 billion Reels plays across Facebook and Instagram each day, which is a 50 percent increase from six months ago, according to Zuckerberg.

But Reels doesn’t monetize as effectively as the company’s other types of content. So, as Meta pivots toward showing more short-form video, Meta is taking a quarterly revenue headwind of more than $500 million, Zuckerberg told investors. Meta expects to get to a more neutral place with this shift within the next 12 to 18 months.

“As Reels grows, we’re displacing revenue from higher-monetized surfaces,” Zuckerberg told investors. “That’s clearly the right thing to do.”

The Apple Factor

Meta continues to grapple with the fall-out of Apple’s privacy controls, known as App Tracking Transparency (ATT). Meta said its average ad price decreased 18 percent on the year, as it adjusts to Apple’s changes that make it harder for Meta to track users and serve them personalized advertising. In the same quarter last year, the average price per ad climbed 22 percent.

But Meta also said that the blow to ad revenue caused by ATT is diminishing. Per CFO Dave Wehner, “Consistent with our expectations, the headwind to year-over-year growth from Apple’s ATT changes diminished in Q3 as we lapped the first full quarter post the launch of iOS14.5.”

But Apple isn’t done punishing Meta. Apple recently changed its App Store terms to take a portion of social-media advertising revenue. The policy change requires users and advertisers to make an in-app purchase when they pay to boost posts in apps like TikTok and Meta’s Instagram. Apple takes a commission of as much as 30 percent on in-app purchases, meaning a company like Meta would lose a portion of its ad revenue to the iPhone maker.

The company also faced stiff criticism from investors over its continued push into the metaverse, which has cost the company billions of dollars. Although the company’s metaverse investments technically do not affect its ad revenue – they’re more of a drain on profits than anything else – they have raised concerns that Meta is taking its eye off its core social media growth engine in the web 2.0 world.

The Good News

But on the bright side, Meta reported that:

  • Daily Active Users (DAUs) for the quarter were: 1.98 billion versus 1.98 billion expected, according to StreetAccount. That was up from 1.97 billion three months ago. 
  • Monthly Active Users (MAUs): 2.96 billion versus 2.94 billion expected, according to StreetAccount

Meta said Instagram now claims more than 2 billion monthly active users, while WhatsApp’s user base has surpassed 2 billion daily active users, with North America being the messaging app’s fastest-growing region.

What This Means for Advertisers

So, what does all this mean for advertisers? Well, now might be an opportune time to advertise on Meta, with its user base being strong and average ad prices decreasing. The company is rolling out new ad products to improve the monetization of Reels, and a new “Performance 5” framework, which is a set of five data-proven tactics that can help to improve advertising performance on Meta platforms amid tighter privacy controls. For instance, broad targeting consists of an automated targeting approach that reportedly produces better results for Facebook and Instagram ads than more refined, more niche audience approaches.

Meta, like its competitors, faces some difficult times amid economic uncertainty. But businesses that are taking the long view with their advertising efforts may turn out to be the winners so long as they don’t push the brakes on their online advertising efforts.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with social media advertising, contact True Interactive. We have extensive experience helping businesses succeed on social media.

An Early Take on the Netflix Advertising Tier

An Early Take on the Netflix Advertising Tier

Connected TV

Netflix disclosed the details of its highly anticipated ad tier at a time when the streaming industry faces intensified competition and economic headwinds. Under pressure to shore up revenue and a loss of subscribers, the company has fast-tracked the roll-out of its ad tier in partnership with Microsoft. Known as Basic with Ads, this lesser priced option will cost $6.99 a month in the United States and launch on November 3 at 9:00 am PT. Here’s how the ad-free Netflix stacks up against the competition:

Netflix Ad Tier

(Image courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)

In one sense, the launch is well timed. Inflation continues to be a problem affecting consumer sentiment, making a less expensive option more appealing.

Here are more details:

  • If you like your current Netflix’s ad-free tier, nothing will change for you. Basic with Ads complements Netflix’s ad-free Basic, Standard, and Premium plans.
  • There will be an average of 4 to 5 minutes of ads per hour.
  • At launch, ads will be 15 or 30 seconds in length, which will play before and during shows and films.
  • Advertisers will be able to target ads by by country and genre (e.g., action, drama, romance, sci-fi). Advertisers will also be able to prevent their ads from appearing on content that they find unsuitable for their brand.
  • To enable advertisers to understand how Netflix can reach their target audience, Nielsen will use its Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) in the United States. This will become available sometime in 2023 and eventually be reported through Nielsen ONE Ads.

My Take

This approach looks to be pretty standard and in line with other streaming services that include ads in programming.

I was a little surprised to see 4-5 minutes of ads per hour, though. I didn’t think Netflix would come out of the gate with that many minutes devoted to advertising. I also was thinking they would only serve ads before a show started to try and differentiate themselves from someplace like Fubo Tv Online, an American streaming television service serving customers in the United States, Canada, and Spain that focuses primarily on channels that distribute live sports.

To put the volume of ad minutes in perspective: The Stranger Things Season 4 finale was 2 hours and 20 minutes in length. This means a viewer might see upwards of 10 minutes of ads throughout the show. This amount feels like it could detract from a person’s binging experience.

The fact that measurement is coming to Netflix via Nielsen should bring more clarity to just how well Netflix programming performs. For years, Netflix was tight-lipped about reporting performance data. Only recently did the company begin to report on its most popular shows. Third-party data from Nielsen will provide a much-needed lens.

Netflix probably needed to lay down its pipes quickly because its competitors are moving fast. The ad-supported tier of Disney+ launches in November, and Apple is rumored to be launching an Apple TV+ option with advertising in 2023.

The big picture is just as important as the specifics of Netflix’s tier: It’s important that businesses understand the growth of advertising on streaming platforms in context of the rise of connected TV. If you’ve not done so already, take a closer look at why connected TV is growing and how it could expand your audience. (True Interactive can help you with that.) Connected TV is enjoying 60-percent growth, driven by a public’s appetite for streaming that continues unabated.

Meanwhile, the Netflix tier has attracted the interest of roughly half of Netflix subscribers who would consider switching; and if the program succeeds, Netflix will gain more subscribers. For another perspective, here are the results of a poll that Ad Age conducted recently on LinkedIn:

Poll

Bottom line: the movers and shakers of the streaming world are paving the way for something much bigger: connected TV advertising.

Contact True Interactive

True Interactive can help you navigate the connected TV landscape. Our services range from media strategy and planning to automated performance reporting. Learn more about our services here, and contact us to learn more.

 

 

Why Walmart Connect Expanded Its Advertising Partnerships

Why Walmart Connect Expanded Its Advertising Partnerships

Walmart

As the 2022 holiday season kicks into high gear, retail analysts are watching closely how much consumers will spend during a time of inflation. But it’s equally fascinating to understand how people shop. Walmart Connect, Walmart’s fast-growing advertising arm, believes that holiday shopping online – indeed all shopping online — will increasingly happen via social media, television commerce (t-commerce), and livestreaming. That’s one reason that Walmart Connect has expanded its advertising partner program to encompass social apps such as TikTok and streaming platforms such as TalkShopLive.

What Is the Walmart Advertising Partner Program?

Walmart Connect wants to help businesses advertise across the digital world beyond Walmart.com. To do that, Walmart Connect’s partnership program works with platforms to help brands scale, automate, and optimize their Walmart Connect advertising. These include partners that make it possible for Walmart Connect to expand self-service advertising through an application programming interface (API). Those API partners can be found here.

The partnership program is becoming more important to Walmart as it positions itself as a strong retailer-based ad platform alternative to Amazon Ads. And Walmart says the program is increasingly delivering value. For example, when BirdRock Brands turned to Pacvue (an enterprise software suite for eCommerce advertising) to scale its manual Walmart Sponsored Products campaigns, BirdRock was able to help design a campaign that ultimately experienced a return on ad spend 11 percent greater than its target, and an 83 percent increase in sales quarter over quarter.

What Did Walmart Announce About Its Advertising Partner Program?

Walmart has added a slew of advertising partners known as innovation partners. According to Walmart, these innovation partners will provide test-and-learn opportunities with formats such as social, entertainment, and live streaming throughout the entire holiday season. The newly expanded offering includes additional touchpoints and channels to reach customers wherever they are with new ad formats:

  • TikTok: this partnership provides an opportunity for advertisers to connect with potential shoppers on the red-hot TikTok platform. As Walmart noted, more than 50 percent of TikTok users say they watch ads on their feed instead of scrolling past them. The first-to-market pilot between TikTok and Walmart Connect will provide advertisers with the opportunity to serve in-feed ads on TikTok. This will leverage TikTok’s sound-on full screen video format together with Walmart Connect’s targeting and measurement.
  • Snap: the partnership with Snap enables advertisers to buy ad units including augmented realityCollection Ads and Snap Ads through Walmart Connect and take advantage of the Walmart Connect’s geo-based measurement. This is the first time advertisers can buy Snap ad units through Walmart Connect and get in front of the unique Snapchat audience (75 percent of 13-34 year-olds in the U.S.), who hold over $1.9 trillion in spending power.
  • Firework: this partnership enables supplier-funded shoppable livestreams and short shoppable videos on Walmart.com/live. Walmart Connect is testing how brands can leverage Firework’s capabilities to create premium, engaging, mobile-first video experiences and, to start, has partnered with Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble.
  • TalkShopLive: Walmart Connect is expanding its relationship with TalkShopLive to partnership enable supplier-funded shoppable livestreams on Walmart.com/live, TalkShopLive’s platform, brand and publisher sites, as well as across the web. Walmart Connect is testing how brands can amplify their content and connect with shoppers at scale. To start, it has already executed livestreams with Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Samsung, among others.
  • Roku: Walmart wants to help make TV streaming the next e-commerce shopping destination. Walmart touts Roku as America’s Number One TV streaming platform (citing Hypothesis Group research). So, Walmart has become the exclusive retailer to enable streamers on Roku to purchase featured products and have the transactions fulfilled by the chain. Walmart Connect will connect brands to customers through the Roku platform, and checkout will be seamless for customers, while advertisers receive insights on effectiveness via Walmart Connect measurement.

In announcing these partnerships, Walmart discussed how online search and shopping has become more diversified especially in the post-pandemic age. Seth Dallaire, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Walmart U.S., wrote in a blog post:

Consumers who turned to online shopping during the pandemic have chosen to stay there, with those returning to in-store relying on online research to guide their decisions. Consumers realized the importance of “connection” and were forced to adapt and connect in new ways including social feeds, livestreaming, mobile and more, specifically across video and connected TV. In fact, the predicted growth of social commerce from 10% of all e-commerce to 17% by 2025 will be driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers and nearly two-thirds (64%) of social media users — an estimated 2 billion social buyers — said they made a purchase on social media in the past year.

Now, Walmart Connect intends to do its part in connecting social media discovery to actual sales. So far, Walmart Connect’s partnerships have been hands-on in nature. Brands get custom reporting about their campaigns, based on activations on Walmart.com’s live shopping, TikTok, Snap, and Roku. But Seth Dallaire told Advertising Age that the partnership program expanding to the point where it would be more automated and widely available within Walmart Connect, so that brands could better target ads on social media and connected TV.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here and our Walmart Connect expertise here.

For Further Insight

Why Walmart Connect Is Winning,” Tim Colucci, February 25, 2022.

Why Retailers Are Launching Ad Businesses,” Tim Colucci, January 11, 2022.

Walgreens Doubles Down on Its Advertising Business,” Tim Colucci, May 19, 2021.

Amazon Unveils New Ad Units Across Its Ecosystem,” Kurt Anagnostopoulos, May 4, 2021.

Why Macy’s Launched an Advertising Platform,” Tim Colucci, March 3, 2021.

Walmart Asserts Its Leadership in Advertising,” Tim Colucci, February 8, 2021.