Walgreens Partners With OpenAP For TV Advertising IDs

What if you saw TV ads inspired by what you recently shopped for at Walgreens?

To bring its shopper data to a new channel – advanced TV – Walgreens Advertising Group (WAG), the retail chain’s ad tech subsidiary, will integrate Walgreens’ first-party identity data set with OpenID, an advertising ID backed by linear broadcast networks through their consortium, OpenAP.

It’s OpenAP’s first direct ID integration with a retail media platform, said David Levy, CEO of OpenAP. Its remit includes broadcast data onboarding to enable audience targeting on TV.

Neither the WAG business unit, which launched late last year, nor the weeks-old OpenID product have had much time for integrations. But Walgreens was a flagship OpenAP partner as a brand advertiser, Levy said. So, it was a natural next step to integrate for WAG’s managed service advertising.

With the OpenID integration, Walgreens can guarantee audience reach across linear and streaming TV networks for bespoke targeting segments, said Luke Kigel, Walgreens’ VP of integrated media and head of the WAG business.

For example, brands can target specific product categories (like cosmetics) or even subcategories (like Walgreens customers who shop for specific kinds of lipstick). By contrast, linear advertisers are accustomed to audience guarantees based on a percentage of, say, men aged 25-45 years old in a certain TV market.

Kigel said that retail advertising platforms are still shoehorned into shopper marketing or specific retail media advertising siloes at brands and agencies.

“Quite frankly, I believe that’s going to evolve in the next 12 to 18 months,” he said.

An important driver of that evolution will be the loss of third-party cookies and third-party identity data.

Today, digital advertisers match ad campaigns directly to ecommerce transactions via third-party cookies or first-party ad platforms such as Amazon’s. But most of those programmatic connections rely on a third-party cookie, Levy said.

Walgreens’ customer data base includes 100 million users who can be matched to the OpenID identity set using Nielsen and Comscore for linear TV audiences and device IDs to match streaming viewers. Once Chrome deprecates third-party cookies, such first-party data sets will be the only way to deterministically match advertiser and publisher audiences.

The OpenAP partnership should extend WAG’s retail media value prop beyond endemic Walgreens shopper marketing – which is often forced into channels like affiliate marketing or social platforms like Facebook, where there are first-party IDs for CRM matching.

Plus, non-endemic brands can use WAG and OpenID to build custom audience segments. A travel brand, for instance, might target Walgreens customers who recently purchased travel-size toiletries.

“If there's a valuable data asset that's going to help improve your targeting as a CPG or otherwise, then why not explore it?” he said.

Non-endemic advertisers haven’t used retail media platforms as general marketing data assets yet, Kigel said. But with the data-matching product for TV, WAG is vying for national branding campaigns, not just shopper marketing.

“Retail media isn’t top of mind when advertisers are thinking about advanced TV,” Kigel said. “But why not?”

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