It’s been a few years since Walmart Media Group rebranded, becoming Walmart Connect. In their rebranding announcement, Walmart shared that the punchier name “reflects the company’s unique ability to accelerate the connection between brands and its 150 million weekly customers.”
With a goal of becoming “one of the top ten advertising platforms in the US,” Walmart Connect said they would maintain focus on 3 top priorities: growing offerings across their digital properties; launching innovative in-store experiences; expanding offsite media opportunities at scale.
As for how well Walmart kept their promise? Let’s just say they were good on their word. In 2022, their ecommerce sales climbed ~11%, coming in at $47.8B.
On the digital front, major advancements have included:
- Walmart launching their own DSP in partnership with The Trade Desk—heavily ticking that ‘expand offsite opportunities at scale’ box
- Introduction of Variant-Level Bidding
- Moving to an advanced second-price auction for Sponsored Products
- Search-relevancy enhancements for Sponsored Products
- Growing offerings across their own digital properties with the launch of Walmart Display Self-Serve (DSS)
We’ll also dive into a recent change on the Walmart DSS front—Display auctions—and how you can leverage them to realize more efficient ad spend while increasing your visibility.
What is Walmart Display Self-Serve (DSS)?
Walmart DSS is a nimble, self-serve platform that gives advertisers total control over their onsite Walmart display advertising efforts, to include building, activating, managing, optimizing, and measuring campaigns.
The platform delivers the same omnichannel impact as historical, Walmart-managed campaigns, but with greater speed, control, convenience and automation, opening up the door for more brands and sellers of all sizes to take advantage of Walmart’s digital ad inventory.
Walmart DSS Benefits
- Walmart integrated automation IP and technology into their Display self-serve platform, reducing the time and resources needed to go from ad planning, to set up, to go-live
- Advertisers can leverage Walmart’s robust behavioral, contextual, and keyword targeting to reach the most relevant Walmart shoppers. Custom audience targeting is also available
- Walmart’s Creative Builder allows for easy and efficient creative control through automated templates
- Walmart’s Creative Library allows you to manage creatives across campaigns
With no budget minimums, access to Walmart’s robust 1P audiences, and full management control, this Walmart self-serve ad platform offers a streamlined way to build, publish, and optimize your onsite ad efforts at scale, providing a perfect complement to your search campaigns for a full-funnel approach.
Walmart DSS Levels the Playing Field
Prior to the release of DSS, onsite Display ad opportunities were exclusively managed by the Walmart Connect team. Due to the high minimum spend Walmart-managed Display campaigns command, many smaller and mid-size brands and sellers were priced out of participation.
But brands new to Walmart Display aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit.
Even larger brands who could fit Display into their Walmart advertising budget prior to DSS will realize unique advantages working with the self-serve ad platform offers—namely, the ability to have full, on-demand control of your onsite ad efforts. Walmart-managed campaigns offer brands in-flight insights through a performance dashboard, but limited ability to act on those insights. With the introduction of DSS advertising, those levers are now available to pull, making adjustments and optimizations in real-time.
Post-flight reports are still valuable.
To be certain, Walmart’s post-flight, closed loop reporting is still incredibly valuable, painting a clear, comprehensive picture of your holistic omnichannel impact. This reporting continues to play a major role in informing strategy and execution for future campaigns, complemented by the ability to make in-flight changes without having to wait for ‘next time’ to fully maximize each ad dollar spent.
Walmart Display Auctions
Walmart DSS campaigns have operated on a guaranteed placement model since their launch, with the recent addition of Walmart Display Auctions expanding options for advertisers. Display auctions allow DSS advertisers to bid on unreserved ad inventory—the ‘leftover’ ads after managed serve and guaranteed campaigns have reserved their inventory.
These ads are typically available at a lower CPM than guaranteed campaigns offer. The downside, naturally, is that a lack of guarantees means your total impressions can vary based on how much ad inventory is available. With that in mind, we recommend setting a foundation with guaranteed display placements, and reserving some budget for the more cost-effective display auction to see how it performs for you.
Display Auctions Targeting and Features
Targeting options for Walmart Display Auctions, and campaign features, include:
- Behavioral targeting (including brand, category, in-market, lapsed buyers, and propensity)
- Contextual targeting
- Persona targeting
- Custom audience targeting
- Keyword targeting (broad or exact match, negative keywords allowed)
- Run of site (ROS) – Ads can appear and rotate on any site page except the home page
- State level location targeting (note that for guaranteed placements, location targeting options also include
- city and DMA level)
- Optional frequency caps
- First-price auction
You may notice that ‘Category reach’ is greyed out; this is intentional as macro-contextual targeting is not currently available for Display Auction campaigns. For that level of control, you’ll still rely on guaranteed placements.
Display Auctions Bidding and Reporting
Similar to guaranteed Display campaigns, on-demand, in-flight reporting and end-of-campaign reporting is available for Display Auctions. Advertisers choose between setting a daily or lifetime budget—and a minimum and maximum bid (no bid multipliers currently available)—with Walmart automatically pacing accordingly depending on your start and end dates to ensure your budget doesn’t exhaust too quickly. If your in-flight reporting shows opportunity to grow, or you want to narrow the time window, the end date can be adjusted.
Walmart Display Auctions are available with no minimum spend, though it will be necessary to have ~1,000 daily impressions for reporting access. Reporting will typically begin populating 24-48 hours after a campaign or line item launch.
Unique to Display Auction is the Bid Performance Report. Exportable metrics you can find and analyze here include:
- Valid Bids
- Win Rate
“With the release of Display Auctions, Walmart is allowing sellers to tap into additional Onsite Display inventory at a more flexible spend model, allowing you to expand your reach while better controlling costs and performance at scale.”
— Stuart Clay, Director of Marketplace Strategic Services at Tinuiti
Why Partner with Tinuiti for Walmart DSS Campaigns?
Tinuiti has all the expertise, tech and relationships in place to create the right media mix that maximizes performance across Walmart’s digital properties.
- We are one of a few Walmart API Platform Partners, with more than five years of direct Walmart Advertising experience. This partnership has resulted in early, often beta, participation in programs such as Search Brand Amplifiers and Walmart DSP
- Through our relationships with Walmart Connect, we gain program approvals and platform access, and have strategic conversations on goals, budgets, and advertising intent. This enables us to activate and manage campaigns from set-up, and run optimizations and reporting on reach and performance
- We can target Walmart 1P data, including historical segments (past brand or category shoppers), or predictive segments, such as in-market category shoppers. We can also layer contextual and keyword-based tactics to identify and target the right customers
Want to learn more about leveraging Walmart Display Self-Serve’s streamlined platform features to scale your onsite ad efforts? Reach out today to chat with an expert!