The Polar Report

The Polar Report: Industry Insights #8

March 16, 2022

Welcome to The Polar Report, a curated view of what’s happening in the world of digital Monetisation, Audience Development and Measurement. This week we dive into TikTok and Marin’s integration, Walmart’s ad offering, and the appeal of health and wellness placements to non-endemic advertisers.


Walmart is using digital advertising to offset price pressure

Walmart is making big moves in the advertising space, increasing its efforts there in a bid to weather market forces that are affecting its margins, such as inflation, supply chain disruption and the costs of operating its stores.

It recently reported its ad revenue at $2.1 billion worldwide as it looks to grow its ad platform Walmart Connect. As advertising is a high-margin business, it has provided Walmart with the buffer it needs to keep prices low on the commerce side, while also establishing the future of the business.

In particular, Walmart sees getting involved in digital advertising as a way of growing itself as an e-commerce retailer, developing customer relationships and gathering data that will aid the business on its digital journey.

We’ve already seen this trend where retailers are evolving to be more like media publishers. Data is a huge part of it, especially as rules around cookies change. Their large pools of first-party data are incredibly valuable, but from what we’re seeing now, Walmart’s step into advertising is about more than building its reputation as a digital retailer.

Advertising has become a crucial revenue stream, diversifying the business to be more resilient against forces that are impacting their other revenue streams. It’s a logical move.

Full article on AdExchanger

Audience Development

Are D2C advertising strategies drifting away from Meta?

Facebook has had a rocky time in recent years and as a result there’s been a lot of reflection about its position as a major digital advertising platform. That being said, Omaha Steaks, a US-based food retailer, has retained Facebook and Instagram as the dominant presence in its social media advertising mix.

Yet while Meta may still be a valuable tool for advertisers with its significant user base, in this Digiday article Hudaina Baig highlights that brands should be cautious of heavy reliance on social media, implying it is inevitable that strategies will have to be diversified. As such, brands like Omaha Steaks have been experimenting with TikTok and other marketing channels.

Indeed, change comes with time and it’s unlikely the industry will look the same in two years’ time as it does today.

It’s also important to remember that while social media platforms are valuable for showing immediate numbers to demonstrate returns on investment, these are ultimately short-term numbers. Brand is built up over time on many different channels. If a brand is to become resilient to time, it must hold itself up on multiple pillars so that even if one pillar falls, the rest of the structure will not crumble.

Ultimately, businesses will go wherever their customers are, and if that leads them away from Facebook, then that’s what will happen. This is why businesses experiment with different channels: should they ever need to adapt. For the time being however, Facebook remains a key element of performance marketing.

Full article on Digiday

Health and wellness categories are growing in popularity with advertisers

Digiday reports that advertisers are increasingly looking towards targeting health and wellness publishers such Well + Good, Health and Mindbodygreen, regardless of whether their content is an obvious match for these placements.

Non-endemic advertisers – such as those in the e-commerce or automobile industries – accounted for eight out of the ten largest deals done by Well + Good in the past year, and alcohol brand Bacardi was a sponsor of their podcast.

This pattern likely results from the increased societal awareness of things like self care, healthy lifestyles and mindsets, giving such ad placements increased appeal for advertisers. Spend in these categories is expected to increase throughout 2022.

The ultimate takeaway from this is that audiences aren’t always watching the content you expect them to. Value may be found in seeking them out in markets that are not clearly associated with your product, for a significant proportion of potential customers may be engaged in a variety of markets outside your own, especially when those markets are topical in current society.

Naturally, it’s a risky strategy if you don’t have assurances that the audience you want to reach is watching the content you choose to advertise on. Without planning and research into audience behaviour, it’s the equivalent of throwing coins off a roof into an empty street and hoping they hit someone. But done right and with the budget to test and experiment, you may find surprising results.

Full article on Digiday


MarinOne integrates with TikTok to improve ad optimisation

Marin Software’s ‘MarinOne’ platform has integrated with TikTok Ad Manager, providing better reporting and performance.

TikTok is becoming an increasingly important platform for advertisers, so having better ability to manage campaigns there assures advertisers that they will have the tools to operate effectively.

Optimisation is key to ensuring a campaign is achieving the best potential reach. If a targeting category is not performing well, its budget can be allocated to a vertical that is returning stronger results. Ease of doing this will be a key attraction for advertisers considering using TikTok in their strategies.

TikTok’s advertising arm is still in its relative infancy and many still hesitate to use it, however as its relevance grows and the platform adapts to user demands, it’s likely we will see it take a larger share of marketing budgets. Already we’re seeing TikTok increase its dominance amongst Gen Z audiences and while competitor YouTube has approximately double the amount of monthly users and a solidified market position, it cannot be denied that TikTok is a rising force to pay attention to.

Full article on MarTech Series