Transaction syncing is a simple way for advertisers to exchange custom data with ad tech vendors. Because the mechanics of transaction syncing are flexible, marketers can unlock lots of use cases to solve their brand’s specific marketing problems.
What is Transaction Syncing?
A standard pixel provides only very basic information to an advertiser. Here’s an example of a simple pixel that a retargeting company called Chango places on the Fresh Direct homepage:
When I visit Fresh Direct’s website, this pixel loads, and Chango records the timestamp of my visit. All Chango knows is that I’ve visited freshdirect.com, nothing else.
But when I make a purchase on Fresh Direct, Chango does something much more interesting. On the checkout page, I see a graphic that confirms my order, including an order number I can use in case I ever need to call customer support. I also see the following Chango pixel:
This pixel is a lot more interesting, mostly because of the snippet highlighted in yellow, which sends my order ID to Chango. This “transaction sync” gives Fresh Direct and Chango a common identifier, unlocking information flow between the two companies. Fresh Direct can now send Chango information about my order — the items in my cart, the price of each, and even any issues fulfilling my order. This information flow enables much more precise advertising.
Like most ad tech building blocks, transaction syncing has applications for both targeting and attribution.
Smarter Ad Targeting
One of the most important choices an advertiser can make is what message to present to a customer. Transaction syncing unlocks smarter creative selection.
FreshDirect’s standard ad creative is a message designed to attract new customers with a 15% discount on their first order. With the knowledge that I’m already a customer, Chango can make an informed decision to deliver a retention message instead of the standard acquisition creative. A second and more refined decision is which specific retention message will resonate best, and this is where transaction syncing can be valuable.
Did I buy baby food in my last order? Produce? Pantry items? This can inform a personalized creative choice, driving up response rates and improving campaign effectiveness.
Transaction syncing also unlocks more precise media attribution. By sharing information about the contents of my order, Fresh Direct can refine its advertising techniques in order to reach consumers with specific buying patterns. At the simplest level, Fresh Direct can assign greater value to campaign tactics that drive high value orders. But Fresh Direct can also go deeper — designing and optimizing campaign tactics that drive specific types of purchases. Need to steer a campaign toward consumers who buy high margin private label products? Transaction syncing can help.
It’s Not Just About Groceries
The trick (and the fun) with transaction syncing is that the applications are unique to each brand. Brands in the retail, insurance, and mobile phone spaces have very different marketing needs, but they can all benefit from clever uses of transaction syncing. A few examples:
- An apparel retailer that was sold out of my size can deliver ads with the good news that their stock has been replenished. Just target consumers whose last purchase included a back ordered item.
- An insurance company can optimize campaign tactics to attract safe drivers. Just create an attribution rule that assigns more value to policies with a spotless driving record.
- A sporting goods retailer can promote accessories that are compatible with my new road bike. Just identify product SKUs that complement previous purchases.
- A mobile phone operator can design a campaign to drive new family plan account sign-ups. Just assign greater attribution value to multi-line accounts.
The use cases are just beginning to emerge. It’s a fun time to be a digital marketer.