In early 2021, the adtech industry gained a major new player that many might not have seen coming: Walmart.
Unlike more dynamic forms of media (e.g., social), search engines have owned online ads for ages, which is why the entrance of Walmart came seemingly out of nowhere.
In many ways, this move shows that Walmart is still in hot pursuit of Amazon. After the latter turned ecommerce on its head with rapid delivery expectations and the strategic acquisition of Whole Foods, Walmart responded by creating its own marketplace, fragmenting the ecommerce goods space, and creating more inventory for advertisers to invest in.
The TLDR version? The adtech industry is continuously evolving, and both advertisers and brands will have to stay on their toes to get the results they seek.
Another Brick In the Wall
There’s no doubt that new adtech does more than create another platform to leverage—it complicates the industry. When new partners come on the scene, you have to send additional RFPs to these partners. You also have to navigate optimization variability across the various platforms and in reporting.
This means presenting a clear, holistic picture across your full campaign—but that only becomes harder as the space gets more crowded.
Fortunately, new adtech has more than a few redeeming qualities. The reach of a company such as Walmart gives advertisers new ways of connecting with their brand’s target audience, possibly allowing them to reach entirely new groups or tap into valuable subsections of existing audiences.
New adtech also offers your brand additional targeting capabilities based on geographic signals, online behaviors, contextual signals, predictive analytics, lookalike audiences, and more. A fresh take on the space is also liable to produce targeting evolutions we haven’t yet imagined.
Throw in new types of ads, new creative formats, and the price elasticity created when a new competitor enters the market, and it’s clear that the tech could easily shake things up in a good way — provided you’re ready for the change.
Ingredients for Peak Performance
When new adtech platforms pop up, there will always be a few mandatory ingredients for putting together a successful campaign. Before you commit any advertising dollars to the latest tech, take these four steps:
Put In the Training Hours
If you’re planning to launch a campaign on a new platform, you should arm yourself with the proper training and certifications. Go into a platform blind, and you will likely overspend, underoptimize, and miss your intended target entirely.
Each platform will generally have its own educational materials, such as the Google Analytics Academy or Facebook’s BluePrint Certification. For more general education, try a resource like Coursera or Udemy.
Take advantage of these training tools, and you’ll be able to tell the difference in your campaigns.
Get a Rep
Even if you consider yourself an expert with a specific platform, the company’s representatives probably know it even better. Platforms such as Google Ads and the Walmart Marketplace are complex, with sophisticated capabilities that can differentiate between a home-run campaign and an underwhelming flop.
Reps can troubleshoot your settings, get campaigns approved quickly, and vet your ideas based on their knowledge and experience. If you don’t have a rep, you’re missing a valuable resource. It’s worth noting that not everyone can get a direct support rep or team—this is a perk of working with an agency that already has established those direct relationships.
Test, Test, Test
All platforms are different, and they’ll each reach your audience in different ways. The only way to know which ones best fit your business is to try them out and see.
An effort is only a failure if you don’t learn from the results, and trying out different platforms can be one of the most informative ways to find the best marketing tools for you.
Start with a small budget to get your campaign’s footing. You can them embrace what works and pull back from anything that doesn’t seem to be clicking.
Stay Tuned for New Developments
Never get complacent—your most successful platforms and strategies could be old news in the blink of an eye.
Take Apple’s new privacy rules on iOS, which allow users to opt out of being tracked. Not surprisingly, users say “no” to tracking about 75% of the time, which is having serious implications for advertisers that once relied heavily on tracking data.
Most new developments in adtech aren’t quite as drastic, but you could still be leaving effectiveness or efficiency on the table by failing to watch for innovations that affect the way new adtech platforms work.
The world of adtech moves quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends and developments. particularly when new players are constantly stepping in to create their own advertising ecosystems.
But even though the most popular tools to achieve success are constantly evolving, the playbook for success stays the same.
Follow the four steps above, and you’ll get results no matter which advertising platforms you incorporate into your adtech stack.