“It’s a very fair question,” says Ali Miller, Instacart’s VP of product management for ads, on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks.
“Everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon,” Miller says. But “it has to come back to value … it’s not hype if there’s actual value behind it.”
Instacart has been investing in its ad platform since 2019, when it released paid search on its site. The following year, Instacart added self-serve capabilities. Today, it has sponsored product ads, shoppable video, the ability for brands to create custom product landing pages and an option (recently launched in beta) for brands and retailers to offer coupons and promotions.
But campaign measurement, including incrementality testing, is what underpins the whole system.
Value is directly tied to results that brands can trust and insights they can use to grow their business. “That’s really shaping a lot of our strategy,” Miller says.
When Miller joined Instacart in mid-2021 after nearly 17 years at Google and YouTube, she was skeptical that a grocery delivery service could prove its ads help drive incremental sales. When people come to a grocery delivery app, they’re pretty low on the funnel already.
But online grocery shoppers can be as susceptible to advertising as they are to an end-cap display in a retail store or eye-level products on a physical store shelf.
“They come into an online grocery experience thinking, ‘Okay, I need my stuff for the week, I’m gonna build my basket, I have my staples’ … but then, there’s that moment of ‘Oh, right, I do need sausage’ or ‘Right, I can actually buy my laundry [detergent] alongside fresh groceries,’” Miller says. “It just shows that power of visibility [to show] even lower-funnel ad solutions can drive significantly incremental results.”