Self-Serve Ad Units Level the Playing Field for Emerging CPG Brands

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Large CPG brands have traditionally had a leg up over smaller competitors when it comes to shoppable advertising. With the budgets to spend on managed service solutions, global brands like Campari, Heineken, and Chinet have enabled shoppers to add their products directly to retailers’ online carts, efficiently using digital advertising to grow offline sales at the stores of their choosing. Now, the shopping list marketing platform AdAdapted is bringing that same technology to smaller retailers and emerging brands. 

The company recently launched a new add-to-cart e-commerce ad unit, specifically designed to help marketers create campaigns that enable shoppers to add branded products to retailers’ online carts. The direct-to-cart ad units can be tied to more than 200 retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, Instacart, and Amazon. 

“Add-to-Cart is typically complex and often requires large budget minimums,” says Josh Sukenic, vice president and general manager of AdAdapted Direct. “With the launch of the AdAdapted Direct self-service platform, we’ve opened this tactic up for any brand to use.”

Developing add-to-cart e-commerce ad units that could be used in a self-service capacity wasn’t easy. The newly launched solution piggybacks on the technology developed for AdAdapted Direct, which provides advertisers with on-demand access to an audience of more than 110 million verified shoppers. AdAdapted Direct was launched in the fall of 2021. The company’s new self-service add-to-cart advertising platform takes its existing product offering one step further further. 

“AdAdapted Direct is a unique adtech solution because it connects brands and marketers with verified shoppers and enables advertisers to place branded products directly on a shopping list or in an e-commerce cart at a specific retailer,” says Sukenic. “Many small, emerging brands use self-serve solutions from Google or Facebook, but those tools are mainly designed to drive brand awareness, generally have lower returns on ad spend, and require specialized training to use them effectively.”

With self-serve add-to-cart e-commerce ad units, smaller and emerging brands can now set up add-to-cart ads on their own. The solution is designed to drive e-commerce engagement and purchase intent among target consumers.

The ability to create shoppable mobile ads is something brands and retailers have been seeking out more regularly since the pandemic began two years ago. Forty-three percent of consumers shopped online for groceries in 2020, up 80% from two years prior. Even as pandemic restrictions loosened, online grocery adoption continued to rise in 2021.

That fundamental shift in the way consumers purchase perishable goods—along with the other household items typically purchased at supermarkets—has opened the door for new advertising possibilities for forward-thinking brands.

While the success of shoppable ad units is typically determined based on impressions and conversions, AdAdapted actually shares how many consumers have added products to their shopping lists or digital carts with its advertising partners. That gives brands more insights into how consumers are responding to their campaigns, and more detailed insights into how increases in ad spending are changing the likelihood of consumers purchasing promoted products.

A results-oriented emphasis isn’t the only key differentiator that Sukenic sees between AdAdapted’s new platform and other shoppable ad solutions. Sukenic says AdAdapted is also unique in its ability to give brands a way to run campaigns designed to grow sales at specific retailers of their choosing, not just their own websites. 

“AdAdapted Direct is a lower-funnel solution allowing marketers with relatively limited digital expertise to launch highly effective campaigns and ensure every dollar they spend actually works to grow their business,” he says. “[Brands] recognize the value in targeting verified shoppers instead of generic demographic or psychographic attributes.”

​​Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.