Bazaarvoice Spins Its Product Review Network Into A Data Play

bazaarvoice imgCPG brands are among the highest-spending advertisers, but are at the mercy of e-commerce and retail companies that own the data.

Bazaarvoice, a hosted platform for ecommerce ratings and reviews, is now ramping up a data collection business to provide those insights-impoverished CPG brands with new ways to measure and target consumers.

Bazaarvoice doesn’t sell or serve ads itself. Rather it segments audiences based on their previous online sales and browsing activity, as expressed through product reviews and other activity on Bazaarvoice's platform.

It then sends those segments to a client’s DSP where it monetizes via a CPM charged for any ads that leverage one of its segments. Bazaarvoice partners with Oracle’s Crosswise to identify users across websites and devices.

Perhaps the most interesting use case for Bazaarvoice's data involves capping retargeting campaigns across all media platforms once a conversion is detected on a Bazaarvoice partner site.

Geometry Global, a WPP Group-owned shopper-marketing agency, has begun incorporating Bazaarvoice data into media plans for just that purpose.

“A retailer can tell if someone you targeted converts on their site, but Bazaarvoice knows if that person converted elsewhere, which is important to be able to cap those campaigns," said Todd Szahun, Geometry Global’s head of digital.

Killing a campaign at the right time has become more important with efficiency-minded CPG clients prioritizing return on ad spend (ROAS) over traditional metrics like CPMs or single-site conversions, Szahun said.

The Bazaarvoice data asset may also help CPGs identify new shopper segments.

For instance, a premium dog food company is probably better off finding new customers by tracking organic food shoppers for signs of a new pet, since someone searching specifically for organic pet food typically has a brand they’re already loyal to, Szahun said. “Clients are trying to think outside of their category for new market entry points.”

Responding to the needs of digital media planners has reshaped Bazaarvoice’s partner contracts. For instance, Bazaarvoice had to renegotiate data rights with its retail and ecommerce network to include a conversion-tracking pixel.

Bazaarvoice wouldn't provide the number of online retailers who have agreed to its enhanced data rights or cite any individual retailer in the pool. Company CMO Sara Spivey said the opted-in sites reach more than 160 million shoppers.

Geometry Global also has run multiple tests where CPG companies take Bazaarvoice digital reviews and ratings and turn them into in-store signage.

“If you buy ads with Amazon you can use five-star Amazon reviews to get customers to Amazon, which is an effective but closed ecosystem,” Szahun said.

“We’re finding a conversion effect applies for ratings visible at shelf level, but the reviews themselves have been very tightly owned by Amazon or individual retailers, whereas Bazaarvoice has opted-in reviews a brand can lift out for themselves.”


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