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Meredith, which owns lifestyle publications like People and InStyle, is launching a new audience-targeting service with Kroger Precision Marketing, the analytics arm of America’s biggest grocer.The service lets brands use Kroger’s first-party sales data to advertise across Meredith’s suite of publications. The hope is to offer brands “closed-loop” measurement—what Meredith chief marketing and data officer Alysia Borsa called the “holy grail” of the media business. Closed-loop measurement ties together online and offline data to track how often the ads customers see translate into sales.“We’re changing the buying model for CPG,” Borsa told Adweek. “[We’re] bringing together Kroger data, plus Meredith data, plus premium Meredith inventory,” she said. That inventory includes shoppable ads, units that let customers add items to a shopping cart via display ads.Cara Pratt, vp of commercial and product strategy at Kroger Precision Marketing, struck similar notes in an interview with Adweek. “With our connection with Meredith, we have the ability to make sure that we’re connecting brands to the right shoppers that will drive actionability, shopability and impact,” she said. The Kroger-Meredith service comes as the impending death of the third-party cookie has sparked interest in first-party data offerings. “This is a great way for CPGs to access first-party data, because we have that direct relationship,” said Borsa, adding that the service will enable CPG companies to access first-party, privacy-safe data while sidestepping much of the ad-tech ecosystem. Pratt added that both Kroger and Meredith, which owns popular food website Allrecipes.com, are focused on “food inspiration.” For many, lockdowns—and the associated free time—earlier this year seem to have reinvigorated zeal for homemade food, driving a rise in Google searches for terms like “yeast” and “bread.” Despite some recent reports that such interest is now waning, Borsa confirmed that food engagement remains consistently high. “It’s like Christmas and Thanksgiving every single day here,” Borsa said.Google Trends data shows searches for the term “cookie” have returned to near March levels, following a steady rise and fall through April, May and June. Searches for “cookie,” however, still far outstrip those for “third-party cookie”—seemingly generating very little popular interest indeed. Kroger formed a similar relationship with Roku in June, which makes data from the country’s largest supermarket chain available in connected TV.



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