Programmatic at METRO
Insights, Programmatic

Programmatic Advertising at METRO Cash & Carry: Conversion Rate Increases by up to 800 Percent

Gradually METRO Cash & Carry Austria is saying goodbye to conventional display advertising. The wholesaler relies on a lifecycle approach developed together with adverserve. The results achieved by METRO with programmatic and the use of real-time data speak for themselves: Conversion rates for customer card applications have grown sixfold and eightfold for newsletter registrations. This is made possible by accurate user targeting and programmatic campaign management.

About one year ago, METRO Cash & Carry Austria entered programmatic advertising with support from adverserve. The retail giant wanted to address its target groups with individualised advertising messages along the entire lifecycle in areas where conventional display advertising has so far failed. Rigid retargeting approaches should be replaced by dynamic advertising concepts that are significantly more efficient and generate noticeable added value for users. Together with adverserve, METRO has significantly expanded the programmatic share of its online advertising since the beginning of the project.

Users in Focus: Advertising from the User’s Perspective

Instead of focussing on standardised advertising messages aiming to reach target groups based on predefined and less flexible criteria, METRO has opted for a user-centred and dynamic approach reflecting the wholesaler’s brand promise: METRO sees itself as a partner for independent entrepreneurs and always tries to view the world from the perspective of its customers. Advertising messages should be relevant and signal to customers that METRO really understands their business. Regarding customer lifecycle management, programmatic advertising offers the possibility to address users with individual messages at the right time, via the right channel and at the best possible price. This makes it relevant for METRO’s target groups and results in considerably better conversion rates and a significant saving in advertising costs through media buying and precise controlling of advertising messages.

Starting with user-centred programmatic advertising begins with choosing the appropriate technology. Together with adverserve, METRO opted for its own ad server in order to have sovereignty over all data. In the next step, the first target groups are jointly defined which are to be addressed with programmatically controlled campaigns. In contrast to conventional targeting approaches, however, no detailed information is initially needed. This is because campaigns are optimised continuously anyway through the programmatic advertising approach.  New insights and learnings emerged from ongoing campaigns are again feeding the current campaign cycle in real time and ensure a considerable increase in performance.

Learning by Doing: Improving the Target Group Approach Step by Step

In the next step, METRO, together with adverserve, selected online domains on which the target groups are available and placed them on whitelists of the preferred inventory sources. In the first campaigns, METRO and adverserve set their sights on reaching the needs of users in detail. The principle of the programmatic campaign cycle is continuous optimisation in real-time. Just like an open-ended learning process, campaigns are continually improved to increase accuracy in targeting. Those who are not afraid to explore new horizons and implement new ideas will ultimately be rewarded by maximum success.

adverserve always aspires to have complete transparency. For this reason, an own ad server was implemented for METRO, managed by adverserve. METRO therefore has full data sovereignty, as well as complete access and control over how the collected user data is used.

More Efficiency: Increasing Programmatic Share to 100 Percent

In order to address the target groups with individualised advertising messages, the most important touch points, in which users come into contact with METRO, are integrated and segmented. For example, if a visitor sees the product world “fruit and vegetables” on the wholesaler’s website, it is marked with a cookie. If the visitor leaves the website and visits another online domain on the whitelist and is programmatically available, METRO will bid for this advertising space and promote the fruit and vegetable offer through an individualised banner. METRO achieves its objective if the banner leads to an action and the user opens the flyer.

Further goals include registration for METRO’s newsletter and registration for the METRO customer card. As mentioned at the beginning, according to first studies the conversion rates for newsletter registrations could be increased eightfold through programmatic advertising when compared with conventional display campaigns, and increased sixfold for customer card registrations. Whilst formerly the budget for display campaigns was rapidly depleted, METRO now benefits from high cost-efficiency thanks to programmatic advertising. The costs for acquiring a new customer have halved, and METRO cuts its cost by 75 percent via online campaigns instead of sending out flyers by post.

To sum it up: METRO Cash & Carry Austria and adverserve have undergone a steep learning curve since entering programmatic advertising a year ago. Today, METRO addresses its target groups with individualised advertising messages along the entire life cycle, and benefits from high conversion rates and more efficiency. This is always with the goal of converting pure customer interest into real brand loyalty.

Are you thinking about using programmatic advertising to address your target groups more precisely and to use your advertising budget more effectively? We would love to advise you and support you to enter the programmatic advertising world successfully. Write us at

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