What is Commerce Data?

Commerce media doesn't work without commerce data. Learn what it is and how you can use it to drive commerce outcomes.
Updated on September 26, 2023

In our What is Commerce Media post, we define commerce media as a new approach to digital advertising that combines commerce data and intelligence to target consumers throughout their shopping journey and help marketers and media owners drive commerce outcomes.

The thing that makes commerce media unique from other forms of digital advertising is the application of commerce data.

But what exactly is commerce data?

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Definition of Commerce Data

Commerce data is a set of purchase and intent data that gives insight into consumer behaviors and journeys. It typically includes, but is not limited to, information such as demographics, location, pages and products viewed, last product purchase, offline sales, and other intent signals such as ad clicks. Commerce data can also include contextual data from publishers, such as URLs, contextual categories, and keywords.

When combined with artificial intelligence (AI), commerce data can identify interest and intent patterns to enrich audience targeting and create predictive models to improve product recommendations and bidding. It can also help media owners enhance their own audiences for monetization purposes.

AI requires massive amounts of data in order to learn and optimize. Therefore, the bigger the commerce data set, the more understanding you can achieve.  For the most meaningful insights, it should span a wide variety of businesses, product categories, and individual products, and see millions or billions of dollars’ worth of transactions per day.

As we approach the deprecation of third-party cookies in 2022, first-party data will be increasingly important. This means that along with scale, commerce data that is based on first-party data will be vital for continued personalization.

What Can Commerce Data Do for Me?

Commerce data increases the efficiency and effectiveness of advertising. It helps marketers reduce waste by focusing on in-market audiences. It increases conversion by delivering the right experience (right products, right ad creative, right place, right time) for each person. And it enables smarter bidding, by informing the value calculation of each user.

A marketer has data on customer interactions within their properties (what they looked at, what they bought). But that’s usually where the story ends. Commerce data can tell them what else customers are looking for and buying throughout the open internet, to provide a much richer picture. At the same time, commerce data trends and modeling can predict what they’re most likely to be interested in next, what ad they’ll respond to, and what bid to set.

Marketers can also build lookalike audiences from the larger commerce data set, expanding their reach and growth opportunities.

When a media owner enriches their first-party data with commerce data, it allows them to offer more audience targeting options to their advertisers, and in turn, earn more ad revenue.

Examples of Commerce Data in Action

As we mentioned above, commerce data requires intelligence to gather, analyze, and apply it. Together, commerce data and commerce-focused AI:

  • Know when someone is in-market for a certain product, and when, where, and which ad will get the highest engagement
  • Know which products to recommend, and what bid to set based on the value-to-cost ratio of every impression
  • Can build audiences that look like your best customers to reach new prospects more likely to convert
  • Can build audiences of people actively in-market for certain products
  • Can identify the contextual categories and domains that will have the most impact for contextual advertising

Where Can I Activate Commerce Data?

Commerce data exists in varying levels of scale and granularity in demand side platforms, retail supply side platforms, Amazon, and some social networks. Criteo has the largest set of commerce data on the open internet and is the only platform on the open internet where both marketers and media owners can tap into our commerce data to deliver commerce outcomes.

Are you an agency marketer? Download the Agency Edition of The 2021 Digital Advertising Manual: New Opportunities to Drive Client Growth for data and advertising strategies that will help you serve your clients in new ways.

Ann Pyle

Ann revels in finding the simplest and clearest way to convey a thought. Her favorite word is 'moxie', which she tries to embody whenever possible. She's been developing content strategies and writing for the tech and B2B space for more than a decade. This, along with her SEO and advertising agency ...

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