Recently, Walmart announced a new partnership with Kenshoo and three additional partners—Flywheel Digital, Pacvue, and Teikametrics.
All four companies are leading advertising platforms with cutting edge ad technology that will enable WMG to expand their ad offerings and capabilities to their existing suppliers.
ClickZ spoke with Nich Weinheimer, GM, Ecommerce for Kenshoo to discuss the specifics of their partnership with the retail giant.
Last February, Walmart took its ad sales and related analytics business in house and created the Walmart Media Group (WMG) with the goal of expanding ad sales capabilities on their site.
Their ad sales business had previously been managed by Triad, a WPP company, who worked with the retail giant’s suppliers to directly place ads on their website.
At the time, Amazon monetized 16% of its website searches while Walmart monetized just 1% of searches.
Image Source: Walmart
Says Weinheimer, “Walmart had all of their media managed by Triad who would manage the marketing dollars that suppliers earmarked in their agreements with them. Triad managed display ads and basic search ads on Walmart.com.”
Walmart built the WMG from the ground up via the acquisition of display advertising technology and created a self-serve auction-based infrastructure for managing search ads.
Kenshoo is an industry-leading digital marketing platform that works with advertisers and agencies to help manage digital campaigns with multiple vendors in one central location.
They will be working with Walmart to open an API ecosystem accessing the self-serve auction environment that the retailer created for sponsored search ads. This is akin to search marketing on the retailer’s website.
Sponsored search results for the term “pet food” — Source: Walmart.com
Kenshoo has been developing API ecosystems with digital advertising publishers like Google, Facebook, and Amazon over the last thirteen years.
In Kenshoo, Walmart saw an advertising partner that could help them scale their advertisers’ ability to engage with their self-serve marketplace for search advertising.
Opening an ecosystem for the retail giant helps them scale their ad business faster than they would be able to with just their own tools.
By bringing in third parties like Kenshoo who have invested millions of dollars to develop technologies that innovate beyond the core available ad units, Walmart can make advertisers scale faster and be more efficient.
“Advertisers want to create synergies across their different programs,” explains Weinheimer, “They want to see all of their business in one place. Platforms like Kenshoo allow them to manage their Walmart spend alongside their Amazon spend and potentially some of their other digital marketing channels.”
The partnership with Kenshoo gives the retailer’s advertisers the ability to manage and measure all their programs across different publishers in one place.
Kenshoo’s platform provides a variety of advanced features that Walmart advertisers will now be able to leverage.
These include customizable dashboards, portfolio optimization, intelligent campaign automation, and advanced reporting and forecasting.
Kenshoo can also forecast budget and spend in the ecommerce space via a technology called Budget Navigator which helps marketers forecast, optimize, and monitor budgets.
“Budget Navigator is a forecasting technology which is based on the historical performance of a campaign,” explains Weinheimer. “It operates across many portfolios of campaigns to orchestrate—down to keyword-level bids—the management of hitting your budget targets and goals. It can also recast relative to new information that comes in.”
Kenshoo’s Budget Navigator — Image Source: Kenshoo
Walmart has 150 million omnichannel shoppers every week. The new platform connects millions of online and offline transactions with billions of shopping behaviors which targets a relevant retail audience that has the highest propensity to make a purchase.
Nine out of ten Americans visit one of the retailer’s store every year and 150 million shoppers visit a Walmart each week. Additionally, 100 million shoppers visit their site each month.
Walmart’s goal with their new platform is to connect the digital and physical retail worlds
The initial API launch will cover sponsored products only (akin to Google shopping). It’s a keyword-based program managed on a CPC basis. The retailer is using a first-price auction model, meaning buyers pay the actual price they bid.
Walmart does have other ad units available across their suite of ad products such as display media which and these can be purchased directly from the WMG.
Walmart advertisers must have an existing relationship with them in order to advertise on their site. That means they need to be a seller in the marketplace or a supplier to the retailer.
They already work with hundreds of advertisers including global top 100 companies, an SMB tier of hundreds of advertisers and a long tail of marketplace sellers.
These advertisers are in managed service contracts, many of which will expire.
In the coming weeks and months, Kenshoo will be working through the process of transitioning them out of their managed service contracts with Walmart onto leveraging the self-serve API access points.
“The way we help advertisers scale and drive better performance is one of the top ways that publishers like Walmart can drive their ad revenue. We can make it more efficient, drive insights and improve performance so advertisers are willing to spend more,” says Weinheimer.
Advertisers don’t have to work with Kenshoo to run sponsored ads on Walmart.com. They can run them directly with Walmart via their self-serve ad portal which is also newly launched.
Says Weinheimer, “Big CPGs and brand manufacturers are becoming more data driven and they want the self-serve control because it provides a lot more data and insight. Advertisers are looking for partners to help them execute and drive new insights and better performance.”
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