Advertisers Can Target Kroger Audiences Through Yahoo's DSP With New Partnership

It's the first RMN deal for the tech platform since it launched its commerce media team in January

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Yahoo Advertising struck a data-sharing deal with retail media network Kroger Precision Marketing, ADWEEK can exclusively reveal. This will let advertisers target the national grocer’s audiences programmatically through Yahoo’s demand-side platform.

The partnership marks KPM’s second DSP partnership since last fall and ushers in a new focus on commerce media for Yahoo Advertising.

It is also the latest sign of the growing connections between retailers and media platforms. With the U.S. retail media market projected to reach $64.73 billion this year, according to market research firm Advertiser Perceptions, retailers and adtech firms are clamoring for a bigger slice of the pie.

“Collaborations like this one will define the next phase of growth in retail media as retailers recognize the limitations of monetization on their owned digital properties and seek incremental growth by expanding offsite,” said Sarah Marzano, principal analyst at eMarketer. “For advertisers, the delayed but still impending deprecation of third-party cookies continues to underpin every decision regarding digital advertising spend, so solutions that safeguard their investments against that eventuality hold increasing appeal.”

Creating a DSP-agnostic portfolio

KPM has been working with The Trade Desk’s DSP since November, but it sees this new partnership with Yahoo as a way to build a “DSP-agnostic portfolio,” KPM senior vice president Cara Pratt said: “Many brands have preferences within the DSPs that they are operating in, and the relationships that are born through different DSPs vary.”

Established in 2017 after Kroger acquired cross-channel media solution 84.51°, KPM has become a leader in the RMN landscape. Working with a second DSP in a matter of months expands its reach across the adtech ecosystem.

“We’re bringing performance layer into the digital ad ecosystem to a much sharper grain than has ever existed before,” Pratt said. “That’s going to allow media buyers who are good stewards of brands’ dollars to be optimizing for performance—to be optimizing for business results.”

A new focus on commerce media

For Yahoo, integrating its identity solution, Connect ID, with first-party data from Kroger’s loyalty program allows it to “match and merge” in a way that is “new, unique and different,” Mike Brunick, senior vp and head of commerce media at Yahoo, said. “There’s an analytics and insights engine that we can then bring back to Kroger, as well,” he explained.

Connect ID—which draws on years of data from Yahoo’s consumer-facing owned and operated properties like Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Mail and fantasy sports—offers access to more than 205 million authenticated users in the U.S., Yahoo claimed. Its wider suite of identity solutions has been adopted by 48,000 publisher domains.

Yahoo formed a new commerce media unit within its DSP in January, which Brunick leads. It wouldn’t share the headcount of the new team, describing it as a “cross-functional combination of experts across sales, product, engineering, strategy, partnerships, operations and marketing functions.”

The ‘race to data’

The Yahoo-KPM partnership is indicative of a broader “race to data” that is happening in the industry, noted Beth Ann Kaminkow, global chief commerce officer at VML. As retailers aim to compete with the dominating forces of Amazon and Walmart, finding unique data sets and data sources is key, she added.

While Yahoo has had relationships with several RMNs, including Lowe’s and Best Buy, since 2021, the integration with Kroger’s RMN is the first since the new commerce media team was established. Brunick said there will be more to come later this year, including more connected TV integrations.

“We’re in active discussion about [CTV] right now with a handful of different partners,” Brunick added. “What it comes down to is making sure that we can do the data connection correctly, be able to demonstrate that impact and have it be in a way that that is going to be future-proofed.”

This story has been updated to reflect that Yahoo has had relationships with RMNs, including Lowe’s and Best Buy, since 2021.

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