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Sam’s Club Member Access Platform (MAP) Advertiser’s Guide

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Sam’s Club Member Access Platform (MAP) Advertiser’s Guide

As the cost of groceries and other goods continues to climb, shoppers are increasingly looking for reliable ways to save money. The everyday value offered by member-based warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club have made them a consistently popular choice for consumers, with today’s economic climate making them an even more important space for advertisers to improve visibility.

With today’s far-reaching inflation concerns, even high-income shoppers are increasing their warehouse club shopping trips for savings in-club, online, and in the parking lot—for example, Sam’s Club offers savings on fuel as one of its membership benefits. As seemingly everything gets more expensive, the up-front membership fee may become less of a concern for many consumers thanks to the overall savings potential. That can translate to more members’ feet on the ground in-club, more purchases on SamsClub.com and in the app, and more opportunities for your brand to be front-and-center for in-club and online shoppers.

“Wholesale clubs still account for more than 15% of US membership revenues. Costco and Sam’s Club hold a strong share after years of taking on new competition from many digitally forward retail memberships. These retailers, along with smaller players like BJ’s Wholesale Club, have proven the resiliency of the wholesale model, even in the era of subscription fatigue.”

eMarketer

In this article, we’ll unpack the Sam’s Club advertising opportunities available through their Member Access Platform (MAP), including key capabilities and best practices. Let this guide be your compass to successfully navigating Sam’s Club MAP and finding golden advertising treasures along the way!

What is Sam’s Club Member Access Platform?

Source: https://map.samsclub.com/capabilities.html

Founded in 1983, Sam’s Club is owned and operated by Walmart, Inc. In fact, Sam’s Club is named after Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton. Sam’s Club Member Access Platform—often shortened to MAP—is the proprietary retail access and advertising platform for the now 40-year-old membership warehouse club.

MAP is designed to help advertisers, ad tech platforms, and agencies like Tinuiti effectively reach Sam’s Club’s exclusive member base with targeted, personalized ads and widely appealing in-club experiences.

With a laser focus on members, the ad options available through MAP are designed to be a true value-add for shoppers, enhancing their Sam’s Club shopping experience.

“With MAP, our journey will always start FIRST with our member. Next, we will create and give partners experiences, tools, and opportunities that help members discover new products at the time they need and want them.”

Sam’s Club MAP

MAP helps advertisers reach Sam’s Club members in a number of ways, including through:

  • In-app and on-site Search & Sponsored Products ads
  • On-site display ads
  • Programmatic off-site display ads
  • In-club member additive experiences

Thanks to their extensive and valuable trove of real-time, first-party member insights, MAP provides advertisers an opportunity to optimize ad spend and glean learnings to improve their Sam’s Club advertising strategy.

Increasing visibility and sales of your product through advertising can also improve your organic product ratings, with increased engagement translating to stronger organic rankings.

Key Capabilities of Sam’s Club MAP

In July 2023, Sam’s Club Member Access Platform released new design, targeting, and user experience tools to help omnichannel advertisers create effective ads and memorable touchpoints. Below, we unpack some of the key features and capabilities of MAP today:

  • Target audiences based on their demographics, behavior, transaction history and more, including the option to target online shoppers who will be picking up their purchase in-store. Behavioral targeting leverages real-time, first-party member insights.
  • See how much revenue their Search and Sponsored Products ads bring in across both online and in-club sales, giving a more accurate read of campaign impact. “Sam’s Club is among the first and possibly the only retail media platform to connect search and sponsored product ads to offline sales.” (source) “For Sam’s Club MAP advertisers, overall ROAS has increased an average of nearly 30% since adding in-club sales to the attribution mix.” (source)
  • Enable members to add products to their cart directly from an ad.
  • Use Brand Amplifiers, a Sponsored Products placement, to target category or “browse” pages in addition to search/keyword targeting.
  • Highlight “hero” products or new offerings in ads.
  • Leverage advanced display retargeting ads—eligible to show across tens of thousands of sites—to reach members using real-time, first-party member insights, advertiser data, and Sam’s Club’s AI-based behavioral insights.
  • Understand incremental return on ad spend (iROAS) at the tactic level.

How Sam’s Club Member Access Platform Works

Thanks to Sam’s Club’s incredible real-time insights into their members’ search and shopping behavior, MAP provides omnichannel reach with closed-loop attribution—no extrapolations required.

For example, you’ll never have to piece together a reporting puzzle to (try to) determine whether a member who made an in-club purchase saw an ad placement for that product when browsing SamsClub.com; with MAP, you’ll know.

Sponsored Products: Automatic and manual bidding options

MAP offers automatic and manual bidding options for sponsored products campaigns:

Automatic — Allows advertisers to place a CPC bid at a SKU or ad group level, with Sam’s Club choosing the most relevant keywords based on your SKU set and its details. These ads are eligible to show on all pages; targeting Specific Page Type or Placement type is not an option.

Manual — Allows advertisers to place individual CPC bids for each keyword related to the SKU set. These ads are eligible to show on search results pages only.

MAP Ad Placements

Available in-app and on-site MAP ad placements include: Search Grid; Category Carousels; Recommendation Carousels; Buy Box; Brand Amplifier; and additional on-site display placements.

Search Grid

Sam's Club MAP Search Grid placement

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

Available for both automatic and manual campaigns, the Search Grid placement serves on the search results page in positions 1, 5, and 10, sending customers directly to your product page on the Sam’s Club app or website. These placements require that that advertised product organically ranks in the top 48 product results for the respective search.

Sam's Club Search Grid ad placements example

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

Sponsored Products will not move item placements to a lower slot than you rank organically.

Recommendation Carousels: Homepage, Cart, and PDP ads

Sam's Club MAP recommendations carousel ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ads appear in positions 1 and 4 and are targeted based on a member’s category and browsing behavior. Unlike Search Grid placements, these high-visibility homepage, Add to Cart, and product page ad placements don’t have organic ranking requirements.

Sam's Club MAP recommendations carousel ads example

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ad types are only available for automatic campaigns, not manual.

Category Carousels: Category Pages

Sam's Club MAP category carousel ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

Sam’s Club’s Category Carousels give advertisers the opportunity to entice members with a dedicated product carousel on contextually targeted category pages. Available for automatic campaigns only, a strong organic ranking is not required to purchase these high visibility ad spots.

Buy Box: Product Description Pages (PDP)

Sam's Club MAP Buy Box ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ads enable advertisers to showcase their items to high-intent members on Product Description Pages (PDP). Members can add items to their cart directly from the ad or visit the product page to learn more.

These ad types are only available for automatic campaigns, not manual.

Brand Amplifier

Sam's Club MAP Brand Amplifier ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ads enable advertisers to reach members at the top of search and browse pages, grow share of voice, and drive incremental sales through basket building.

Advertisers can surface their brand logo, tagline, and one to four items, and enable members to add items to their cart directly from the ad or visit product pages to learn more.

These ad types are only available through MAP’s Managed Services and select technology MAP Partners Club partners.

Additional On-site Display Placements

Advertisers can also leverage on-site display placements with Sponsored Products to reach members at every touchpoint.

These ad types are only available through MAP’s Managed Services.

In-Club MAP advertising options

There are currently ~600 Sam’s Club warehouse locations across the US and Puerto Rico for members to shop in or pick up curbside orders from, with members also having the option to shop the extensive online catalog at SamsClub.com 24/7. Sam’s Club plans to meet growing demand with 30 new US stores slated to open in suburban areas in coming years.

To reach members shopping at one of Sam’s Club’s brick and mortar stores, available options include:

  • Scan & Go™ and Instant Savings offers (for app users)
  • Reach members on their mobile devices as they browse within a club location

Conclusion

Sam’s Club is a leading membership warehouse club offering advertisers a unique and valuable audience. For the fiscal year ending January 2022, Sam’s Club generated $73.56 billion in net sales. When comparing which retail membership services US survey respondents pay for in August 2023, Sam’s Club came in second place—behind only Amazon Prime.

Insider Intelligence survey results showing which retail membership services US adults pay for in 2021, 2022, and 2023

Source: https://chart-na1.emarketer.com/264258/which-retail-membership-services-do-us-adults-pay-for-of-respondents-feb-2021-aug-2023

Sam’s Club MAP aims to improve advertiser capabilities and visibility, help boost sales, and ensure your product is being promoted at the right moment in the member’s journey. Contact us today to learn more about Sam’s Club advertising opportunities for your brand, and how our Connected Commerce team can help guide your strategy.

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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