Carrefour links its shoppers to CPG brands every day in its stores, and now the predominantly European retail behemoth is investing in new ways to make those connections in the virtual realm. The company has worked with Acxiom-owned LiveRamp for the past two years to turn purchase data from its large pool of 13.7 million active loyalty card members into targetable information for digital ads delivered across the web on behalf of the brands that sell in Carrefour stores.
LiveRamp officially introduced its data onboarding services in France and the U.K. about a month ago, expanding the ability for companies to use the data they gather offline to aim ads directly at customers online.
For Carrefour, which has a media division handling ad campaigns for brand partners, reaching its loyalty card members can have a significant effect. Around 85% of its transactions in France come through customers using their loyalty cards, according to Michel Bellanger, head of marketing for Carrefour Media.
"The goal of our partnership with LiveRamp is to monetize our audience outside of Carrefour," said Mr. Bellanger.
"The sheer amount of store transaction data that they have is phenomenal," said Travis May, president and general manager of LiveRamp.
The retailer ran a campaign aiming ads on Facebook for a well-known rum brand to people who had purchased liquor at Carrefour in the past, using the loyalty data that LiveRamp transformed for online targeting. In eight weeks, the campaign achieved 1.5 million ad impressions with messages suggesting buying rum for popular cocktails such as minty mojitos and Cuba Libres. The ads linked to landing pages hosted by Carrefour Media.
"We can create very specific segmentations based on the different purchase behavior," said Mr. Bellanger.
Executives declined to identify the rum brand.
With many such campaigns, measurement is as important as the initial targeting. When Carrefour gauged the effect of the rum campaign eight weeks after the ads ran, it found an offline sales impact of 50% among those exposed to the ads compared to those who were not exposed. The company only ran the rum ad campaign in digital media, said Mr. Bellanger.
"This is very hard to connect with all our clients digitally," he added. "For us it's a guarantee of [return on investment] to be able to connect with all the clients in the channel they prefer."
Data onboarding companies including LiveRamp and Datalogix match offline databases to online data, often making the connection by using registration information gathered by travel, dating or news sites, or gaming system partners. They can also link cookies representing a user's visitation to a partner site to information in CRM databases. For privacy purposes, personal data is stripped once connections are made, and before data is delivered to ad targeting or site optimization systems. LiveRamp works with around 100 ad and marketing platform partners in Europe and more than 300 in the U.S.
LiveRamp has grown rapidly since its acquisition by Acxiom for $310 million in May 2014. The company in July 2015 said it was connecting 20 billion consumer records representing individuals or households each month, up from 3 billion customer records it brought to the web in March 2014.