Grocery Shopping Network FAQ’s
- What is Grocery Shopping Network?
- How do you measure your audience?
- What category of display advertising is GSN?
- How do you compare to MyWebGrocer?
- What are the demographics of your network users?
- Do your Grocery Store Website users buy my product category?
- What sites are in your network?
- Why do consumers use the grocery websites?
- Why do grocers provide this service?
- How do you generate traffic to the network?
- How do you measure the lift of my campaign?
- What ad units do you accommodate?
- What is an Add To List ad, and why should I care?
- Can you accommodate a frequency cap?
- What testing do you offer?
- Can you help me with my reach and frequency objectives against my target demographics?
- What advertising works best on GSN websites?
- What about user privacy?
What is Grocery Shopping Network?back to top
Grocery Shopping Network (GSN) is made up of the websites of a large cross section of America’s mainstream grocers. The traffic to GSN is a large sampling of the traffic to America’s grocers. It is biased only by the self-selection of users who are computer savvy, which tends to skew toward the higher education and higher income segments.
How do you measure your audience?back to top
We have the industry’s most accurate internal data on shopping behavior and the connection of advertising to shopping results via our internal measurement.
Our ad delivery is via DART for Publishers, and is therefore fully measured by a third party recognized for accurate delivery.
Our sites are tagged for Quantcast, which we believe runs the largest sample for measuring traffic characteristics online.
We are 100% focused on serving the needs of the grocery shopper. Therefore, we are passionate about the ‘behavior’ and the ’context and agnostic to the demographic of the user.
The ‘mom’ may be the ‘dad.’ The bachelor or bachelorette may be an avid grocery planner and home cook. The senior couple can be ardent consumers of brands that are ‘mainly’ for families.
We reach a group of people who are ‘behaviorally’ similar – they are using web services to plan their shopping trip. Their motivations are mixed – save time, save money, be creative with recipes, plan a better pantry – but their behavior is largely the same: They are using the grocer sites on our network to actively plan their shopping.
And, all the sites on our network are ‘contextually’ identical: They are all about the items that are for sale at their favorite grocer, and about tools to help them identify and use those products.
What category of advertising is GSN?back to top
GSN is in an growing new category of Grocery Store Websites that serve as tools for consumers to plan their grocery shopping trips.
These include any and all of the grocery websites and the networks that serve advertising to them, as well as the leading sites for couponing.
In our role as a consumer tool, GSN websites function like search engines. Our sites are powerful applications that consumers use to sort through information and arrive at purchasing choices.
Your advertising is closer to the consumer’s intent and decision than on many interesting but ultimately informational ‘content’ and ‘awareness’ sites.
That user intent why advertising on the grocery website translates into such extraordinary lift at the cash register.
How do you compare to MyWebGrocer?back to top
GSN and MWG are very similar. Both power grocer websites and include other grocer websites in their ad networks. They are highly complementary, as they serve different grocers. If you want to have a full buy against online people who are using websites to plan their grocery shopping trip, you will need both.
GSN has a number of features that are different than MWG, in particular the depth of our recipe and video content, our targeting, our lift reporting and our A/B Cash Register testing.
The GSN powered websites focus more on the in-store shopping experience, whether for home delivery or the much broader group who use the grocery store site to plan their store shopping trip. The MWG powered websites are more focused on the fraction of online shoppers who want home delivery.
What are the demographics of your network users?back to top
Our network sites are tagged for measurement by Quantcast, which we believe is the most accurate and broadest measurement system for online sites; you can look up on Quantcast for our network the match of our demographic to your target demographic.
We have initial data back from our partnership with Quantcast. These two graphs are illustrative of age and gender trends we are seeing across the GSN network.
A word of caution, however. ‘Classic’ media planning involves translating objectives (reach people who are buying in my category) to common denominators (women 25-54 with children).
GSN allows you to target directly to your real objective (people who are shopping in your category) which often is a larger group than you would reach with the large common denominators.
Question: Would you station an executive at the checkout register to stop someone from buying your product because they don’t fit your demographic target?
Do your Grocery Store Website users buy my product category?back to top
Our network users are a pure cross-section of America’s grocery customers, and as such they are all attractive prospects.
We offer excellent targeting within the network as we are able to identify consumers by their behavior or purchases or pantry who are in your category, and we will work with you to best define that ‘select.’
This, in turn delivers unrivalled CPM effectiveness against people who are shopping, with intent, in your category.
What sites are in your network? back to top
Here is a full list of GSN partner chains. Collectively they reach six million unique visitors per month across 75 million page views. GSN powers regional chains that collectively represent over 6,000 stores.
Why do consumers use the grocery websites?back to top
- Just as with email and browsing, grocery sites fill a variety of needs. But the dominant goals of our users, and their drivers, are:
- Manage a large component of the family budget as efficiently as possible.
- Take advantage of sales and offers and coupons easily.
- Plan shopping for the pantry easily.
- Find relevant recipes that will be fun and tasty and build the weekly menu around them.
- Save time and trips to the store by capturing the week’s purchases in one trip.
- Look for new ideas, new food offerings, new products.
- Explore nutritional information and carefully manage the family’s special dietary needs.
- Learn cooking techniques to make various recipes.
- Shop the aisles and see what’s new.
- Have fun.
Why do grocers provide this service? back to top
Grocers compete to win and keep the best customers.
This means serving customers in the way they want to be served.
Consumers who are active online are accustomed to a high level of customization, convenience, and information from online services when they shop. This is learned at eCommerce merchants like Amazon and Barnes&Noble, when they shop for travel, when they shop for homes. They are coming to expect the same level of service, information, and helpful tools when they shop at their grocery.
Grocers enjoy a number of benefits from providing useful web and email tools to their customers:
- Consumers who shop with GSN lists are the heavy buyers.
- Grocers who offer digital shopping function are able to get a larger ‘basket share’ from their customers.
- Consumers who use printed coupons are a profit center for the stores; easily redeemable coupons are an aid to the store’s bottom line.
- Stores have an average of 5,000 ‘store specials’ at any given time, and it is increasingly difficult (if not impossible) and expensive to expose those to consumers in print. Our top grocers have cut their print expenses by 80%.
- Online ‘targeting’ makes it easy for the consumer to find the specials that are relevant to them, which improves sell through.
- Recipes that help the user remember all the ingredients they need to buy improve the cart size.
- The list, printed in aisle-order, makes the shopping experience more fun and convenient for the consumer. It also enables the grocer to pick the products on the list and deliver (about 1% of the market). However, grocers like the fact that the shopping cart that goes through checkout is generally 25% larger than the GSN list that the consumer brings to the store.
- Their customers love it.
How do you generate traffic to the network? back to top
The grocery stores and chains point their customers to use the websites.
Our more experienced and digitally aggressive grocers find that they can get as much as 50% of their customer base to touch the website to help plan their shopping purchase.
Our grocers are learning how to improve their website usage, which in turn grows our traffic of buyers who are using online tools to plan their trip to the grocery store.
We don’t have any junk traffic or funky little websites or domain redirects or any of the other perils of ad networks.
Our traffic is all grocers’ customers who are visiting their grocer website to plan their shopping trip.
GSN is 100% grocer websites that consumers use to plan their shopping trip at their grocer.
We use a large subset of these sites as our ‘panel.’ Because of the size and breadth of the panel, and because the lift data is from actual purchases and not consumer recollections, we believe our data set is the most authoritative measure of the impact of your digital advertising on our network and the GSN consumer’s shopping behavior.
For our analysis, we have three ‘classes’ of our websites.
- FullDataGSN. GSN-powered websites at grocers where we have Loyalty Card data (the consumer registers at the website) and POS data from the grocery chain. This allows us to know exactly what happens at checkout to people who are exposed to your advertising. This number is constantly growing, and now represents 1,700,000 households, which is by far the largest sample in the measurement universe.
- PartialDataGSN. These are GSN-powered websites at grocers that do not use Loyalty Cards, but offer the same functionality as FullDataGSN. Without individual user registration, we cannot match the user behavior to the store POS results. We ‘normalize’ the shopping lift from the Full Data GSN sample to the Partial Data GSN group using click rates on ad campaigns. This class now represents 800,000 households.
- PartialData3rdParty. These are grocer websites that are powered by other services, such as ShopLocal. The websites offer similar functionality in enabling the consumer to plan their shopping trip (we do believe our web services are best in class). As with PartialDataGSN, we project the buying lift of the FullDataGSN sample by normalizing (via click rates) as we cannot match the users to their Loyalty POS data. This class now represents 800,000 households.
What ad units do you accommodate?back to top
We run IAB standard units and can work with you to create informational landing pages onsite, or ads that drive people to click your product directly to their shopping list.
A popular unit (among grocery shoppers) is our Hosted Landing Page. This is a pop up page that comes from an ad click, and which enriches the shopping experience without removing the shopper from their task. The pages can offer nutritional information, recipe ideas, new product information, testimonials, coupons, specials.
What is an ‘Add To List’ ad, and why should I care?back to top
The bigger the shopping cart the more likely the customer comes to the store with a list. GSN enables the consumer to build a ‘smart list’ that they can use to manage their store trip.
Unlike most lists and iPhone list apps, our lists are mapped to the store aisles, so that the shopper goes through the store in ‘aisle order’ to complete their trip.
(Even with that efficiency, our measured shoppers who come to the store with a list leave with a cart that is 25% larger than the list they bring in.)
Our data shows that if a consumer clicks an item to their shopping list, it gets through the POS at the store over 90% of the time.
So the most important ‘uberclick’ for you is to get the consumer to click your product onto their shopping list, which is a feature that GSN offers as part of your ad buy.
If you care about your advertising delivering a return on investment, then you care that it causes people to buy. If you want the busy shopper who is building their list to buy, get it on their list. More important, adding an item to the shopping list is an indication of engagement that is more valuable to you than having a shopper peruse your rollover or visit your website.
Frequency capping is important if you value click through rates, and we accommodate.
We highly recommend that your campaign incorporate multiple ad units that highlight different benefits of your offering, though. In the ‘traditional’ media world, you want to identify the ideal message for the ideal target audience and focus on that combination. Conversely, in the highly fragmented world of online interactivity, though, you have a better chance of snagging a consumer if you offer them multiple angles to become interested in your product. So rather than run one unit six times to a consumer, better to run three units with three different benefits twice each.
Further, studies in frequency capping show that if your ads all look alike, consumers quickly learn to ignore ads that are not relevant. If you show your consumer an ad unit that stresses nutritional benefits and they tune you out, showing the same unit with a headline change for flavor benefits may break through the ‘tune out’ barrier that is the cause of ad fatigue.
(The click rate for ads has a historically proven bathtub curve – if a consumer is going to click, it is going to happen on one of the first three exposures.)
Brand advertisers may want to test higher frequency to ensure that the brand message gets through.
Our Lift Analysis lets you test the real world impact of clicks versus checkout behavior, a measurement that is unique to online consumer package goods advertising.
GSN offers a number of standard and unique testing functions.
- Exposure, reach, frequency. We have standard DART reporting.
- Click-throughs. We can measure click-throughs to landing pages hosted on our network or to your website. Click-throughs are a strong measure of engagement, and lead to opportunities for the advertiser to use that engagement to inform and persuade.
- Add -to-list. GSN sites measure how often shoppers click an ad to go on their shopping list. This is much more powerful than a click-through to a landing page or website. We believe a ‘click-to-list’ is ten times as valuable as a ‘click-through,’ since our data shows that 93% of items added to a consumer’s list are actually purchased at the store.
- Lift at retail. GSN can measure the actual lift in sales of your advertised product across our network of grocery chains. Our advertisers generally find that lift comes even from users who did not click or add to list, but who saw the ads. We can separate the buyers who saw the online ad from those who did not. We can show the POS data for the universe as a whole for the results of an entire campaign, and isolate the users who were exposed to ads on the Grocery Shopping Network.
- Split Runs. We can offer advertisers the ability to do split runs to test offers and creative executions, and to measure the offers and executions for clicks, add to list, and retail lift.
Can you help me with my reach and frequency objectives against my target demographics? back to top
We can help you target to the buyers of the food categories you serve. As our network is a cross section of the American shopper, we reach your broad shopping demographic, resulting in a skew to women 25-54 with children.
Our value to the consumer package good advertiser is the impact we deliver against shoppers at the Moment of Decision (when they are using grocer websites to plan their store visit) and for our ability to show you the actual impact of your advertising on purchase behavior.
What advertising works best on GSN websites?back to top
Our grocery websites are tools consumers use to plan their shopping trips, build their menus, fill their pantries. You want engagement? Our users are all fully engaged in shopping – planning what to buy at their grocery.
To communicate with them, think of our grocery websites as a ‘virtual shopping’ experience. Sometimes, an attractive reminder of a familiar brand and its appeal is enough, but more often, the shopper wants to look at the package information to make a decision.
For consumers, using the Internet to research purchasing decisions has become a habit across virtually all product categories, and grocery shopping sites, where consumers are researching exactly what they will put into their carts, are the ideal opportunity for you to tell your product’s story at the time when people are most keen to hear it.
Effective: Advertising that helps the consumer to make their decisions works best.
- Appetite appeal. Make them hungry and get them to click you onto their shopping list.
- Recipe and meal ideas that help them visualize your product in their family’s meals.
- Information about your product’s nutritional values or other benefits.
- News about new products to try and add variety to the menus.
- Rich media and hosted landing pages that deliver information, meal ideas, nutritional data.
- Rollovers that expand the ad and give instant information gratification.
- Ads that have a strong, appealing benefit and ask for the order.
Not as effective:
- Advertising that takes the consumer away from their task, such as to go to outside sites and register.
- Advertising that takes too long to get to the point, or takes too long to load. Our consumers will dig deep into your product information, into recipes, into cooking ideas, but not if you make them wait or travel too far to do so.
- Advertising that relies on borrowed interest to attract attention. Consumers who are making their shopping decisions and using the 30 minutes they have online to make them don’t respond to attention getting devices that aren’t about their goals . These may work very well on content sites that aren’t about the specific task of planning what to purchase at the grocery store.
We do not reveal individual grocer data. We do not reveal or disclose any PII on individual users.
Users with Loyalty Cards enjoy extra benefits from the GSN web services, because we are able to populate their online ‘pantry’ with their purchase history. This enables them to re-order items easily and enables us to better filter ad messages for relevancy and benefit to the consumer. Their individual purchases, identity, and online behavior are never disclosed.