By Nick Cosentino, Epsilon, and Darrell Jursa, Media Center of Excellence, IRI
CPG brands saw a massive increase in sales during COVID-19. With consumers sheltered at home, they found comfort in traditional products and brands and discovered new brands when their favorites were out of stock. As most CPG categories experienced double-digit growth in 2020 – and CPG overall grew an unprecedented 11% - brands also saw an influx of new customers.
On its face, it’s a good problem to have. But once you have these new customers, how exactly do you keep them? One key for brands is to make their marketing work smarter. By utilizing the media ecosystem wisely, you can focus on the best connection points to meet your campaign and brand objectives efficiently and retain your recent customer gains.
During the pandemic, several brands successfully tapped into Epsilon and IRI’s partnership to drive results by combining the strength of Epsilon’s marketing solutions and IRI’s robust verified purchase data and granular measurement. These CPG brands are benefiting from targeted persistent connections that reach the highest-value consumers with more relevant, efficient campaigns. The results are driving more efficient spending and better performance.
Epsilon delivers ads across display and mobile, online video, connected TV and native channels. Each is aligned to a people-based CORE ID, the industry’s most accurate, stable and scalable identity solution to recognize and reach 200M+ U.S. consumers in a privacy-safe way.
Epsilon’s CORE ID is integrated with IRI’s purchase-based data which is fueled by over 500 million multi-outlet retailer loyalty cards (covering 93% of U.S. households, including 117 million unique households. Epsilon matches 95% of IRI’s household IDs to robust profile data that is made up of broadcast and digital video consumption, web browsing, location data and demographics. Together, this information gives you the insights you need to know and accurately connect with the consumers who are most important to your brand.
Epsilon’s ability to reach over 75% of those matched individuals online enables you to connect each person with the right message, at the right time, and on the right device with accurate frequency control to maximize unique reach and drive higher return on ad spend/ROAS.
Finally, IRI’s Lift solution is leveraged to quantify the household sales uplift resulting from the campaign, offering closed-loop measurement of campaign effectiveness. Because of the direct connection between IRI and Epsilon’s datasets, we often measure over 90% of the impressions served and connect those ad exposures to actual in-store sales.
Three campaigns were put through this rigorous closed-loop process to understand the effectiveness of accurate targeting using purchase-based data from IRI, Epsilon’s CORE ID execution of media and IRI Lift measurement. In each case, these brands were focused on the ability to maximize unique reach in the most qualified audience.
Case Study #1: Adapting to Rapid Shifts in Consumer Behavior
Challenge: An energy drink brand saw declining sales because its normal customers—convenience store shoppers—were stuck at home. The brand wanted to drive conversions, defend market share from competitors, reach people who were still out shopping and keep them coming back.
Solution: Epsilon leveraged its direct-match integration with IRI to build a people-based audience strategy focused on current, lapsed, competitive product buyers and convenience store shoppers. Personalized messages were then delivered to the most qualified individuals, across the right devices and formats.
- 9% lift in household penetration
- $23 million incremental sales
- $15+ incremental ROAS
Case Study #2: Retaining New Buyers Acquired During the Pandemic
Challenge: A leading ground coffee brand wanted to drive repeat purchase/retention from buyers who were new to its products during the pandemic. The brand wanted to do this through cross-device messaging while guaranteeing 70% viewability and driving high CTR.
Solution: Using a focused audience strategy, Epsilon targeted new brand buyers who were at risk of switching back to their “typical brand.” This audience was identified using IRI’s verified new COVID buyers. It looked specifically at households purchasing the product between early March 2020 and the end of August 2020 who did not purchase the product in the prior 21 weeks.
- 30% lift in household penetration
- $8 million incremental sales
- $15+ incremental ROAS
Case Study #3: Driving Lift Against New Buyers and Gathering Insights for Future Creative
Challenge: A spreadable snack brand wanted to drive reach, awareness and repeat purchase from new brand buyers through cross-device messaging.
Solution: To do this, Epsilon targeted individuals who were new to the brand during COVID and who hadn't purchased in the 21 weeks prior. The brand also used Epsilon's design services to build out multiple versions of the creative to avoid audience fatigue.
- 21% lift in household penetration
- $3 million incremental sales
- $8.5 incremental ROAS
The Keys to Optimizing Future Campaigns
CPG brands have a difficult challenge since approximately 90% of all products are purchased offline. They can’t rely on web-based metrics to understand a purchase and how that translates to campaign performance like a D2C brand can. The best and most accurate way to understand the habitual purchase behavior of consumers is through understanding their past behavior.
Verified purchase-based data sets are the easiest and most accurate way to reach the people who have bought a category or brand and are more likely to purchase again. These audiences have proven to provide up to 3-4 times the sales lift of other targeting tactics like contextual, behavioral and demographic audiences.
These purchase-based audiences not only allow a brand to understand what consumers are buying, but also who is purchasing. With this data, brands can create granular segmentations at scale to connect the right audiences more precisely with more relevant and persuasive creative.
This strategy also allows for an efficient delivery of your media. When you eliminate waste, you spend less. By focusing on only the most qualified individuals, you avoid expenditures on individuals who are less likely to convert. You can also fine-tune your efforts to connect with prospects more efficiently since you can control messaging frequency at an individual level across devices and formats to reach more unique buyers more effectively.
Finally, you must close the loop with reporting that provides real-time performance at the campaign, format, creative and ad-size level along with other sub-campaign diagnostics. These results will allow you to continuously optimize campaigns and enhance performance.
Join us on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 for a webinar on how the three brands mentioned above were able to drive exceptional return on investment for their pandemic retention campaigns. Learn more and register here.