The LiveRamp-Catalina Partnership Promises to bring Data-Driven Marketing to CPG Brands

The couple could be a boon for brands seeking online action from offline stores

In recent months, major retailers have taken cues from the world of ad tech to better track and target customers in-store as easily as they do online. Now, those insights will be a little easier to interpret across platforms and stores, thanks to a partnership between LiveRamp and the shopper-intelligence platform Catalina.

The partnership will see Catalina rolling out its bevy of tailored audience segments across digital programmatic pipes that LiveRamp plugs into—which span platforms from connected television to social media. CPG marketers, retailers and agencies that team up with Catalina will be able to target those segments across any of those digital screens and will help media buyers measure—in near-real time—exactly how their digital ads are driving in-store shopping.

“We’ve seen all sorts of data targeted by CPG companies—everything from some transaction data to location data and demographic data,” said Grant Ries, CEO of LiveRamp’s b-to-b arm. “But Catalina’s data is much richer, because it’s happening in real time, inside stores; it’s actionable, and there’s intent there. And now, they can target that data in a cross-channel way.”

Translating in-store intent into online action is something of an Achilles’ heel in the current CPG market, which constantly has to keep pace with ecommerce behemoths like Amazon. It’s a hurdle that those in the CPG sphere need to overcome in order to tap into a market that’s making more and more purchases online: A recent report from the market research company IRI found that 11% of the market, nearly $60 billion worth of packaged goods, was bought through digital channels in 2018. The consultancy firm Kantar predicted that by 2021 Americans will be spending an equal sum just buying food and alcohol through the open web.

“Frankly, there’s so much variety from brand to brand in terms of where they’re at and their ability to use data and target those audiences,” Ries said. He added that part of the reason for this partnership was giving these marketers not only a newfound data store but also the flexibility to funnel into whatever targeted channels they want to through their own programmatic networks or to combine it with their own first-party or partner data. This, Ries said, is an ability that the marketers wouldn’t have otherwise and will help them keep pace in the burgeoning ecommerce market.

Catalina, thankfully, has data—and at scale, from the roughly 170 million ID’s of shoppers that frequent the company’s partnering retailers. According to Kevin Hunter, Catalina’s chief product officer, those consumers collectively make 700 “off-the-shelf” audiences based on what they purchase in-store. These syndicated audience segments, he went on, aren’t just focused on life events like “possible new mother” or “pet owner,” but they can even be tailored to the very ingredients in the groceries a consumer buys—meaning that Catalina’s insight tools can pick up on a gluten-free consumer or one who is trying to cycle meat out of their diet.

Insights like these, Hunter explained, offer CPG brands the chance to target new audience segments that they would otherwise miss out on.

“All CPGs want to know where the new buyers are, and they know they can come to us for that,” he added.