How to Boost Your Fall and Holiday Campaigns With Purchase-Based Data

By Jennifer Pelino, Media Center of Excellence, IRI

As media planners, buyers and marketers consider their fall and winter campaigns, better audience targeting should be a primary area of focus. A media strategy built on a foundation of purchase-based data can be the gift that keeps on giving for your organization through the holidays and beyond.

Industry research has consistently found that media activated with purchase behavior-based audiences achieves stronger sales lift (3-4x) and at least a 20% higher return on advertising spend (ROAS) than media activated through other channels.

With purchase-based data such as that provided by IRI Lifestyle Verified Audiences, you can more effectively target households based on their purchase behavior in the weeks leading up to holidays and other events. We can tell you what your customers have been buying and what they were buying last year during these same holiday occasions.

This doesn’t mean that other, more traditional data sources are without value. Having the ability to blend purchase data with other high-quality data sets, such as location data, social affinity, first-party data and advertising data, will maximize the flexibility, accuracy and granularity of your insights and activation. But you will get the best results if purchase-based data is at the core of your efforts.

Purchase-based targeting picks up small signals that demographic, contextual and other behavioral data doesn’t. Take the example of two Caucasian couples who both are in the 36-65 age range, have one child, like baking recipes and frequent movie theaters. It seems like these people are in the same target audience.

But purchase data may show that one couple is 1.5 times more likely to buy salty snacks, while the other is twice as likely to buy non-chocolate sugary snacks. If you’re a snack manufacturer, this is game-changing, essential information that can supercharge your marketing.

Purchase-based data is also accurate — far more accurate than even consumer self-reporting of purchases and behaviors. Research has shown that when you ask consumers what they buy, how often they buy it and how much they buy, they get the details wrong as much as 40% of the time.

Not all purchase-based data is the same, either. When you look to a data provider for this information, be sure to ask these essential questions:

  • Does their data come from a trusted source? Your provider should be able to tell you where the data is coming from, and that data should be from trustworthy and consent-based sources. Many data providers using the term “purchase-based targeting” fail to disclose the sources and collection techniques they use. IRI harnesses the power of data from more than 500 million first-party shopper loyalty cards, 120 million of which are exclusive to IRI.
  • How current is their data? The more current the information, the more likely it is to be accurate and to be reaching consumers at their moment of need for your products. But some data providers also fail to disclose the recency, frequency and consistency of their data. IRI provides weekly purchase data and even daily data when available across all outlets covering 21 million UPCs, 220,000 brands and over 300 categories, even the more complex and elusive ones.
  • How long-term is their data? Current data is critical, but so is a longer-term view. IRI can tell you what’s in consumers’ baskets today, but also what was there two years ago during these holiday buying occasions.
  • Does their data sufficiently cover the audiences and markets you are targeting? Your provider should be able to give you visibility into the exact number and percentage of real buying households that are used to compile your data, as well as where that data comes from. The bigger the sample size, the more accurate and actionable the information. IRI has data for 85% of all U.S. households, data across all 50 states and data in 95% of all DMAs.
  • Can they tailor audiences to your needs on your timeline? Optimizing your campaigns quickly and even in-flight can significantly increase media relevancy and results. IRI can create custom audiences and push them to media partners such as Facebook within days.
  • Does their solution integrate easily with your other tools? To maximize the potential of this valuable information, you need to integrate this information with the other technology tools you rely on. IRI Lifestyle Audiences can be uploaded and activated through several of our trusted partners — including LiveRamp, Experian and Neustar — as well as your preferred data management system, or even your CRM database.

IRI Verified Lifestyle and Holiday Audiences gives you everything you need to target households based on their purchase behavior in the weeks leading up to holidays and other events, as well as unique purchase patterns they exhibit throughout the store. Whether you’re looking to sell more Halloween treats, Thanksgiving meals, holiday stocking stuffers or winter essentials, our purchase-based data and insights can help you reach your target audiences with offers that connect this holiday season.

If you’d like to know more, reach out to your IRI representative or

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