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Disney Taps Walmart Connect To Bring More Shopper Data To Streaming

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Advertisers are demanding proof of performance to justify their streaming investments.

In response, streamers are inking deals with retail media partners that promise closed-loop attribution.

The latest example is a partnership between Disney Advertising and Walmart Connect that will allow Walmart advertisers to match the retailer’s shopper data to Disney’s audience graph for targeting and measurement.

This pair-up, announced Wednesday, is part of a trend. Just this week, Instacart and NBCUniversal struck a similar deal whereby NBCU advertisers will be able to target and measure campaigns using Instacart’s first-party data.

“Shopper data has recently started to expand into streaming [media],” said Jamie Power, SVP of addressable sales at Disney Advertising.

But, according to Power, scale is what makes Disney’s deal with Walmart stand out. It marks the first time Disney is using retail data to support ad sales on Disney+, not just Hulu, and the availability of programmatic bidding adds another layer of scale, Power said.

The partnership is launching as an invite-only beta test with advertisers in select verticals, including consumer electronics, consumer-packaged goods, beauty and automotive. Disney declined to name specific advertisers, but says it expects at least 10 brands to test the partnership this month.

The plan is to make the capability available to all advertisers in June.

Retail media meets streaming

This link-up with Walmart isn’t the first time Disney is marrying streaming with retail data, however.

Disney announced a partnership with Kroger Precision Marketing last year for shopper data access to help advertisers attribute their TV campaigns at the household level. But that pairing launched as a managed service and remains limited to Hulu inventory.

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With Walmart Connect, buyers can bid on both Disney+ and Hulu inventory via private marketplace deals, which should allow campaigns to scale faster, Power said. (Disney announced combined Disney+ and Hulu campaigns earlier this year.)

Advertisers will have the ability to match Walmart’s and Disney’s first-party data through a clean room integration between the two.

Matching is based on synthetic IDs Disney creates for household-level matching. There is no identifiable information attached, so advertisers can’t build their own profiles of Disney customers. The technique is similar to Disney’s integration with The Trade Desk, which makes Disney’s first-party data available programmatically as UID2 identifiers.

In this case, the ad buying happens through Walmart’s DSP.

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From Disney’s perspective, the integration with Walmart addresses both targeting and attribution.

Because clean rooms support first-party data matching with privacy safeguards in place, they produce higher match rates for advertisers compared to using third-party data, Power said. More accurate targeting enables more accurate attribution, and vice versa.

Attribution is “a key piece” of this integration, Power said, because linking outcomes to streaming ads helps advertisers plan future campaigns.

The availability of shopper data will also allow brands to reengage customers who haven’t made a recent purchase (as opposed to reaching first-time customers) and to adjust frequency caps for certain audience segments based on which ones are driving more results, Power said.

It all comes down to “allowing clients to activate on the data that matters to them,” she said.

And these days, that means shopper data.

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