Nestle Canada’s Programmatic In-House Strategy Thinks Global, Acts Local

Nestle Canada is exercising more control over its programmatic and first-party data practices, said Melissa Savage, the food and drink company’s programmatic activation manager in the country.

But unlike within an ad agency holding company, which tries to centralize programmatic knowledge, brand transformation must occur regionally.

Take the company’s plan to ramp up native video advertising. Scaling up following a successful test can be difficult, Savage said, because native video inventory outside of social networks is limited in Canada.

Nestle Canada works with Sharethrough, which has good Canadian supply, via an Adobe integration. But good supply in Canada is relatively rare because a lot of data sets that work globally or even in the United States aren’t effective in Canada.

And on the other hand, Savage – who joined from the GroupM programmatic platform Xaxis – said companies that specialize in data and audience segments in Canada often lack the scale a brand like Nestlé needs to move its business.

The result has been a more region-based examination of first-party data and ways to scale that data within the market. For instance, Savage said second-party data deals with Canadian grocers and other grocery brands are exciting opportunities to grow the company’s programmatic business.

Some technology makes sense to manage at a global level, she said, like Nestle’s measurement and verification deal with Moat. But for something like dynamic content optimization, inventory partnerships and even choosing DSPs, the company must be flexible to unique demands of the market.

Canada may be the closest market to the US, but it doesn’t have Amazon Prime Now, a factor that could make subscription revenue or some ecommerce lines a less pressing concern than driving brand awareness and store buys, Savage said.

“The exciting thing is that what we’re learning is much more precisely about our customers,” she said. “But that only makes it more distinctly Nestle Canada.”

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