Walmart’s Digital Marketing Self-Serve Ad Platform and Strategic Partners

2019 was a year of massive change in digital marketing for advertisers as the retailer announced its split from Triad Agency and transitioned campaigns fully to Walmart Media Group. Along with the split, Walmart announced news of a self-serve Sponsored Ads platform for brand partners to rival Amazon’s online advertising platform. The Walmart Performance platform was officially released January 3, 2020 offering product ads through keyword related search. This is a monumental move on Walmart’s end and allows them to be competitive with Amazon. 

Harvest Group is proud to be working with Kenshoo, one of the first Preferred Marketing Partners tbe announced, offering full service managed advertising services to clients. But first things first, what do these changes mean for brand partnersLet’s jump in to how the self-serve digital marketing platform works.  

Digital Marketing Campaign Structure 

The Walmart Performance self-serve platform allows brands to implement Automatic or Manual campaigns. Choosing the right type of campaign is crucial to achieving your goals. Whether you are structuring to drive awareness or get surgically precise with your advertising, Harvest Group has the expertise and technology to help you get the most out of your campaigns.  

Auction Structure for Digital Marketing – Tiered Services  

One of the biggest differences between the Walmart and Amazon product ad platforms is the auction structure. Amazon features a second-price auction, while Walmart implemented a first-price auction. On Amazon if your competitor bids $2 and you bid $5, you’ll win the bid at $2.01. On the Walmart platform you would pay $5 to win that ad.

You also wouldn’t know that you’re overpaying for that spot when using the Walmart self-serve platform. You bid, you win, you pay. This nuance can be difficult to manage with small teams or without a lot of time to dedicate to the platform. How and when do you know you made the right bid at the lowest cost? On the self-serve platform, you won’t…  

Digital Marketing Campaign Analytics 

Your campaign is running, you’re working to outbid competitors, now what can the numbers tell you? The self-serve platform provides analytics that show a date range and offer an average. You won’t have visibility to every change you made or how it impacted your campaign which makes identifying trends hard to come by.  

Why Is All of this Digital Marketing Stuff Important?  

Digital advertising is tricky, time-consuming, and often difficult to manage without a full team. The Walmart self-serve ad platform is great for giving brand partners control over campaigns without relying on a third party. You get to make decisions when you want to, but how do you know you’re making the right decisions to fully optimize your campaigns and impact your Walmart business overall? With the self-serve platform, it’s often a game of chance and interpretation. This is where having the right partner comes into play for brands managing large product ad budgets looking to understand how digital ads impact overall sales metrics 

Harvest Group x Kenshoo Digital Marketing Approach 

Overall, working with Harvest Group + Kenshoo for Walmart Sponsored Ads provides brand partners with access to deeper insights, enhanced bid optimization, bulk edits, and more. Kenshoo is a leading marketing technology platform and among the first to be named as a WMG Advertising Partner. While Kenshoo is the expert in digital advertising, they recognized the need to bring on a team with deep Walmart expertise, naming Harvest Group a preferred partner. 

As an omnichannel growth agency, Harvest Group offers a managed service for Kenshoo’s Walmart Sponsored Ads technology. Unlike the typical self-serve solution (SaaS), our team of industry experts fully manages campaigns for you. The partnership provides advertisers with the power of Kenshoo’s advanced technology stack along with Harvest Group’s enhanced digital reporting capabilities to tie online sponsored ads back to omnichannel metrics with a team of experts ready to talk. Brand partners will finally have comprehensive data for online digital marketing efforts with the ability to view in-stocks, sales, points of distribution, online sales lift, and more. 

Together the partnership provides an unmatched experience for CPGs looking for closed loop reporting for Walmart business. Working with Kenshoo and Harvest Group is ideal for brand partners implementing Walmart Sponsored Ads who value increased automation, transparency, and revenue growth from omnichannel insights. 

The Overall Benefit of Working with a WMG Digital Marketing Partner 

As Walmart continues to encourage investment into Walmart Media Group, expert management and optimization of advertising spend will be key to get the best value. Further, optimizing your return means you may have more of your budget to spend on other WMG activations, furthering your relationship with Walmart and growing your business. 

Now, getting that level of optimization is easier said than done for two reasons: tech and expertise. If you don’t know how to build a strategic digital marketing campaign, you’ll lose to the competition. If you do know how, but don’t have enough technology in place to make the complex adjustments needed to optimize your strategy at scale, you’ll lose to the competition. Managed services will be crucial in helping suppliers make this work efficiently. Otherwise, you will find yourself wasting time trying to get up to speed, or wasting time trying to make all those adjustments manually. 

Return on Walmart Sponsored Products is all about aligning spend with your goals. Employing expertise to choose and deploy the right strategy, as well as the technology to make the myriad adjustments throughout each day, will be imperative to keeping your strategy on track. 

Michael Turner

Author Michael Turner

Michael Turner is the Team Lead for Digital Innovation at Harvest Group.

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