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Peanut Butter and Jelly, Baseball and hot dogs, a scarf and winter coat. These are all things that seamlessly go together and have been proven that when put together, make the experience an even better one. However, there are several things that we routinely utilize and have come to place as a staple in our media and marketing tool kit that we continue to view and plan for separately. For years we have been placing them in their individual silos and frankly treating them like oil and water. 

I am here to let you in on a little secret that the truly whacky advertisers and marketers have caught on to and are using it to their advantage to transform consumers' experiences and drive performance. Retail Media and Social Media are the perfect pair, they’re not enemies but BFFs (gasp) and when used together, correctly, they can elevate your marketing strategy to new heights.

Retail media has often been considered as a challenger to not only Social platforms such as Meta, Snapchat, Pinterest etc but also Google. Amazon is one of the leaders in the retail media space that has transformed both organically and from an advertising perspective as Amazon’s Search and DSP advertising capabilities have expanded significantly. The retail media space continues to grow with Instacart, Walmart, Target and others that have created formidable ecosystems of products, data and the increasing need of giving consumers a seamless purchase experience to connect them with products and services digitally. Pair this with the increased conversation around Social commerce allowing the path to purchase to remain within platforms, our world is becoming a true commerce bake-off where advertisers may feel that you must choose one channel, Retail or Social.

As marketers we need to subscribe to the idea that Social and Retail media can work harmoniously to drive business outcomes and align with how consumers are navigating the two spaces. 

Approach to a harmonious existence

It all starts with understanding not only your business goals but how you want your consumer to experience your brand through the various Retail and Social channels. Your strategy cannot just focus on how to allocate your budget across several Retail and Social platforms but how do you map out a collaborative strategic framework that leans on the strengths of each platform, doesn’t shy away from their weaknesses and understands what is the intersection of possibility for both and how they fuel each other's performance.

The Consumer Story

After you have identified who your consumer is, it’s imperative to have a clear outline of all targeting segments that you want to deploy in general to capture this consumer but most importantly pinpoint which audience is best activated within Retail versus Social platforms based on their native strengths and measurement capabilities. This audience mapping by platform will also allow you to create your communications and consumer journey strategy. For example, if Social focuses on persona testing versus Retail focusing on con-questing and consideration audiences, you can then devise a feedback loop for identifying new prospects and retargeting audiences to drive performance.   

Create ads for the journey within the platform environment

Developing a surgical audience strategy that combines Retail and Social is just the beginning.  Once you understand who you will be speaking to at which part of the consumer journey and on what platform, ad creative becomes an integral part of success. Creative should have elements of similarity across both Social and Retail (e.g. main copy points) but still map back to their environment, audience segment and consumer mindset. Consider utilizing a product and SKU driven approach for both channels but optimizing your format mix by platform- such as utilizing images and video for Social ads and a mix of custom and auto-generated creative on Amazon for a cohesive brand story across marketplaces. Subtle creative cues can also be applied specifically for your Retail platforms that tie back to PDP and other organic pages. Our Code3 team have seen great benefits from optimizing PDPs to leverage best practices and the same creative themes and brand tone as the brand website and Social ads. This provides the consumer with a seamless experience in brand quality across all channel and platform touch points.

SWOT is not just for businesses but also media planning

There is still not a perfect science when it comes to cross-channel measurement and this is clear between Retail and Social channels. There are specific challenges to off-platform tracking for Social when trying to understand how it drives performance to various Retail channels. Walled gardens that exist make data sharing and performance visibility limited. Therefore, taking inventory on these measurement challenges and strengths will help you to uncover potential evaluation strategies in understanding sales lift from each channel and campaign. Seeing the correlation between driving website traffic and clicks to purchases versus add to carts over a certain period of time is a start. 

If you take into consideration all the above, Retail and Social media can not only coexist, they can be a performance driving force in your marketing arsenal.



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