FMCG brands have, up until now, been reluctant to shift too much of their budget online because they have yet to see hard proof that online provides an uplift in sales in the same way traditional media such as TV and print.
Sainsbury's consumer reward card Nectar teamed up with Yahoo to create a targeting product that merged Nectar's retail data with Yahoo's online user data to show that online advertising leads to increased sales at the shopping tills.
The solution was Consumer Connect, an innovative "banner-to-barcode" solution that married the two databases: the Yahoo UK and Ireland database of 23 million registered users and their online behaviour with Sainsbury's Nectar Card database of 12 million registered users and their purchasing behaviour.
A target audience is selected from the merged panel based on their offline purchasing behaviour as recorded by their Nectar card. Yahoo then segments their online behaviours, looking at their favourite channels. The model is extrapolated over the rest of the Yahoo user database to identify similar consumers with similar web habits and those users are targeted with tailored advertising messages. The uplift was then measured by comparing the offline purchase behaviour of exposed consumers to a control group who did not see online advertising.
Consumer Connect was used in beta testing by a health and beauty brand in a mature category t that wanted to react to a competitor's increased marketing activities. It wanted to protect their own brand loyalists and target non-loyal users. As a result of this campaign, sales for the advertiser brand rose 19% in the aftermath of the campaign, even though they were being outspent by their competitor.
A refrigerated food brand trying to grow against a very dominant competitor asked the Consumer Connect team in the States to help them build brand awareness and promote trials of their product amongst heavy category buyers and competitive loyalists. The advertising message focused on awareness and the features of their product. Against a control group of those not exposed to the Consumer Connect driven advertising, sales rose 11% with the main competitor losing five share points against their prior period.
After highly successful beta testing, Consumer Connect launched in the UK in February 2010. Of the 400 campaigns to date, there was an average short term sales uplift of 31%.