Vertical Targeting Series: Building Your Retail Strategy

The retail vertical is one that is constantly and quickly changing. In 2013, online sales of CPG products only accounted for 1% of total web sales revenue. However, it’s estimated that by 2025 that number will grow to 20%. As consumers depend on technology more, and online shopping has increased, there has been a major shift in how purchases are made. This requires that brands in the retail vertical alter the way they approach marketing, by not only reaching consumers in-store and on shelves but leveraging the digital space as well.

Retail marketers are now faced with a unique challenge when creating a vertical strategy for online advertising. They need to prove sales lift from online tactics, which means they need a way to connect the digital world with offline behaviours.

The solution? Innovative vertical targeting and the right tools to measure your campaign’s performance.


The retail vertical has an array of targeting options for campaigns. Similar to a sales funnel, it’s easiest to demonstrate the targeting options has customers move from search or research to purchase.

Top Funnel

  • 3rd-party Segments: Segment based on your key demographic (gender, age, marital status, profession, etc.).

Middle Funnel

  • Geo Radius Targeting: Capture users in real-time across mobile apps based on their physical location (state, zip code or latitude and longitude).
  • Custom Segment: Segment based on purchase intent through a user’s online actions (product reviews, articles read, traffic visiting competitors, etc.).
  • Lookalike Targeting: Tag specific users so you can target lookalikes. For example, tag anyone who landed on the landing page of a prior campaign, or any visitor to a specific page on your website.

Bottom Funnel

  • CRM Customer Data: Upload your customer data from your CRM to target customers who have purchased a similar product in the past.
  • Dynamic Retargeting: Take retargeting a step further and show users ads for specific products they’ve viewed on your website with personalized image, headline and copy based on their activity.

This funnel presents a lot of targeting tactics and opportunities! You probably wouldn’t use all of these when running a campaign, but depending on your goals, you will likely employ a combination of them. Let’s take a look at how you could use some of these options for both a Pharmacy and Grocery campaign.

Pharmacy Campaign Considerations

When running a campaign for a pharmacy, demographic targeting is key. You need to make sure you are targeting age, gender and income properly, along with a certain geography. Consider uploading customer data from your CRM to target anyone who has purchased from the pharmacy previously. You can also implement lookalike targeting for anyone who has visited a particular page on your website.

Grocery Campaign Considerations

On the other hand, if you’re a running a campaign for grocery products, geotargeting will play a huge role in attracting users into your brick and mortar stores. First, with 3rd-party data, target individuals who live in a defined zip code, are 30 to 40 years old, with children. Then, create a custom segment showing individuals with buying intent by targeting anyone who has searched for recipes. At the same time, target anyone who has visited your competitor’s location with geo radius targeting. Finally, serve personalized ads to anyone who has visited your website with dynamic retargeting. When you combine all of these targeting tactics, you’re sure to get the most relevant audience for your campaign.


After developing the segmenting and targeting strategy for your campaign, the next step is to measure the results. A successful campaign in the retail vertical typically doesn’t measure results by CTR and CPE. Consumer action, such as footfall traffic, is the measure of success for this vertical strategy.

As consumer attention has shifted online, and more frequently to mobile, you’ll need means to connect the digital world with offline behaviours. There are multiple location intelligence vendors that can be leveraged through your DSP to measure foot traffic lift to your brick and mortar locations. If you’re a StackAdapt customer, you’ll be able to leverage one of our location intelligence partners, Cuebiq, to measure when a customer has visited your business after being served a digital ad.

Cuebiq digs deep to provide metrics for your footfall traffic, giving accurate attribution to your campaigns. By leveraging its proprietary SDK, which is integrated in over 220 apps, Cuebiq is able to collect high quality location data at scale, all within a privacy compliant framework. In fact, all Cuebiq data is anonymous and only collected if users opt-in to location data collection. Cuebiq is also GDPR compliant in the EU.

So why do we feel confident that Cuebiq works for your retail vertical strategy? Let’s take a look!

Is there a baseline or industry average of how well online campaigns drive offline visits?

Cuebiq has measured and identified daily average visit rates across several verticals. Visit rate identifies the number of users who were exposed to your ad and had an in-store visit vs the total number of users reached by your ad.

I have a lot of foot traffic daily, how can I be sure that my campaign is working?

Cuebiq measures Uplift, which is the result of in-store visits driven from ad-exposure. Only those visitors who were served your ad are counted in the Uplift metric provided by Cuebiq, which gives you a clear understanding of your ad’s effectiveness. Cuebiq provides benchmarks for many verticals, which further help to define your campaign’s success.

How do I know if someone just walked by my location, or actually stayed and shopped?

Dwell Time – the amount of time spent at a specific point of interest – determines if a user’s actions resulted in a visit. The Dwell Time measurement ensures that anyone just passing by your location isn’t counted as a visit. Cuebiq has consolidated average dwell times per vertical so you are able to compare time spent in your store with the industry average.

How can location intelligence help me optimize my campaigns?

Aside from understanding if your campaigns are working based on attribution measurements, there are other metrics such as Time of Visit that can help you optimize. Time of Visit provides insight to the time that your ads are receiving traffic, as well as the most popular times people visit a place of interest in your vertical. With this information you can purchase media to reach consumers during those peak hours, optimizing your campaigns for success.

By comparing the metrics a location intelligence platform like Cuebiq provides with your on-location goals, you will have a full picture of your campaign’s performance. If you have a high uplift but low sales, you may need to rethink your in-store experience. Conversely, if you have low uplift, you may need to adjust your campaign strategy – maybe your targeting is off.

In order to stay ahead of the retail advertising game, you’re going to need a strong vertical strategy with well-thought-out tactics. The combination of intelligent targeting and measurement will result in valuable insight giving you success with your retail campaigns.

Want to run exceptional programmatic campaigns? Request a demo to learn more about StackAdapt.

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