Instacart’s ad platform hits adolescence, with new managed services and bid data

Two years after Instacart made its first major push into advertising technology, the company is launching more products that follow playbooks written by other major online advertising platforms.

Two new tools called Bid Optimizer and Bid Landscape were launched on Tuesday

The Optimizer product is Instacart’s first managed service offer Advertisers can turn it on and rely on Instacart to serve ads and conduct campaigns.

Advertisers who run their own campaigns provide more data to inform bid landscape bidding strategies, such as a specific keyword conversion, say, or season change if a particular keyword loses or sharpens its edge throughout the year.

“We are a mature advertising platform,” said Ali Miller, VP of InstaCart Advertising Product Management. Since Instacart itself has learned over time what works and what doesn’t on its advertising platform, it will turn those lessons into commercial products.

Most ad optimization technology or self-service advertisers configure future costs based on post-promotion performance rather than InstaCart’s predictive approach. One reason that the method does not work well in food is that the cost is extremely seasonal.

If users spend a lot of time searching for cinnamon baked goods in December, most platforms will ask the brand to prioritize that keyword even more in January. But are cinnamon baked products actually sold only in December? Perhaps the same brand in January might be better off promoting healthy alternatives to dieters before eating chocolate in February.

Over the years, the Instacart advertising platform has seen how bids change from season to year, and other ways to find value and efficiency on the platform based on grocery patterns.

Hometown Foods (which owns Pillsbury among other baked goods brands) worked with shopkeeper data company IRI last year on a marketing overhaul and determined that the company was losing market share in ecommerce and online grocery orders, says CEO Dan Angelmeyer (former). Main).

Hometown Marketing Review takes the company to Instacart after checking almost every grocery ad platform in the market.

“We wanted to have the ability to experiment and learn flexibly,” Engelmeyer said. Hometown Foods was the pilot partner of InstaCart’s bid optimization-driven services product.

But Instacart’s young platform brings more control to the brand’s needs. According to Engelmeyer, the key is the ability to target margin management and a certain return on advertising costs.

Other large retail advertising platforms have “forbidden” minimum spending commitments, he said. “It looked like they were trying to lock us into a number and the results would be damned.”

Hometown noticed that InstaCart’s bid optimization was not working for its smaller regional bakery brands, which could not outperform the larger brands despite marketing costs. A large retailer manages margins and continues to push that cost regardless of the outcome. So instead of dipping lost dollars into those brands with the help of InstaCart, those dollars are diverted to other products or search terms that meet the brand’s targeted profitable returns.

“We wanted to add more gas to the fire in terms of investing in ecommerce sales,” said Engelmeyer. “But we wanted to make it work.”

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