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    Expert Column: How Grocers Can Leverage Consumer Data for Marketing ROI

    Integrating data from search engines, social networks more narrowly targets audiences

    By Chris Moreno, ZOG Digital

    Grocery marketers have a tremendous opportunity right now to capture additional sales using paid advertising targeting capabilities. They have the ability to integrate data from search engines and social networks to more clearly identify their audiences and inform digital marketing tactics. There are many data sources marketers can leverage on both search and social platforms including loyalty program data, the location of consumers, and third-party purchasing data.

    Sixty-seven percent of marketers say the integration of search and social marketing is a significant trend. By using data insights to inform digital marketing, marketers can create customized advertising content geared specifically to appeal to target audience segments, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

    Below are some examples of the data sources that grocery marketers can integrate beyond Facebook fans and branded keyword searches in order to improve the effectiveness of digital ads.

    Put Current Customer, Including Loyalty Program Data, to More Use

    Grocers can integrate data from loyalty cards and email subscriptions into search and social advertising campaigns to target current consumers. Information such as phone numbers and email addresses can be uploaded directly to Facebook; in return, the social network will send back matching user profiles. Advertisers can use this information to cultivate current consumers into brand advocates with specialized deals and insider tips.

    Focus on Local Customers with Local Deals

    Grocers rely on local consumers for sales, making geo-targeting one of the most effective ways to locate potential consumers who live near a store. Advertisers can target specific geographic areas even more accurately with Facebook’s new Local Awareness Ads, which were unveiled in October.

    The geographic markers set up by grocery advertisers can be as wide as a state or as small as a zip code or city. Grocery marketers can use this to their advantage by creating content that specifically applies to local customers such as regional sales specials or local product promotions, thereby improving the personalization and relevancy of each ad.

    Different Demographics Demand Unique Content

    Data from search and social channels such as Google and Facebook have the ability to determine demographic details about users including age, gender, marital status, education and employment. Advertisers can leverage this information by directing ads toward groups that are most likely to become customers. Also, if there are multiple target demographics that differ on age, gender or other factors, grocery marketers can create pieces of advertising content that appeal to each specific group, instead of having one piece of content that is seen by every demographic. For example, grocers can target men with ads for steaks and bratwurst before football weekend and women with children's ads for baby food, increasing the chances of the user being influenced by the ad.

    Track and Target Website Visitors

    Advertisers can monitor the actions of website visitors to gain insights into their interests and behaviors. For example, marketers can use Facebook Pixel technology to track which specific webpages a user visits and how much time is spent on each one. If that user focuses on the deli section of the website, then the marketer can push deli-focused advertising content toward that user.

    Turn Third-Party Data into Shopper Insights

    Facebook’s Audience Insights uses third-party data from sources like Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon, which are all leaders in consumer data tracking. The companies provide marketers with information on consumers such as offline and online purchasing behavior, which categories consumers are most likely to buy in, and location data that may help identify where to run special promotions or host events. While cookies and social data give insights into what products and brands consumers visit, this third-party data gives hard information into the exact products that consumers buy.


    While each of these targeting options are powerful on their own, when combined they give grocery marketers enormous power to create and deliver targeted content to specific consumer audiences. Grocers that are able to create personalized content and then target small groups of potential consumers have a good chance to see increased results from online advertising campaigns in the form of sales and ROI. 

    By Chris Moreno, ZOG Digital
    • About Chris Moreno Chris Moreno is the director of paid social for ZOG Digital, a leading digital marketing and technology company. With more than five years of experience in the digital space, Moreno is an expert in paid social, paid search, mobile and retargeting.

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