The Shopper Media ROI Wheel

Thought piece:

The Shopper Media ROI Wheel

Lara Hamilton, Senior Planning Executive

There are a whole host of KPIs beyond short-term sales uplift that brands can use to measure the success of their shopper media campaigns. However, in today’s tough environment, there is one KPI that most brands almost always prioritise – return on investment.

Whilst a brand’s base sales directly impact ROI (our data shows that when products have base sales of over £1,000 per week per store, a positive ROI will be achieved more than 50% of the time), there are other ways that both big and small brands can incrementally affect it. There’s much more to getting a positive pay-out than just efficient use of budget and optimal channel selection – in fact, that’s just one part of a complex puzzle.

What are the key components that can contribute to a strong ROI?

Insight-led decisions

American Engineer W Edwards Deming once said, “without data you’re just another person with an opinion”. Utilising insight from data-giants like YouGov creates the opportunity to build detailed shopper profiles that gives us a clear view on likely socio-demographics, attitudes, behaviours and more. Nowadays with data and information all around us – in our heads, on sales reports, on Google (the Holy Grail for many of us) – there’s no longer an excuse for making decisions based on experience or gut feeling. However, this data needs to be relevant and have direct shopper implications for the brand; “insight without action is worthless”.


The communication strategy should be a single-minded positioning with a clear messaging hierarchy across the path to purchase, and importantly, it should have an idea at the heart of it. Having a clear communication strategy is key to driving action, and gathering insights should help you understand what resonates best with your target shopper. For example, we’ve discovered that calling out a price promotion on your media contributes towards a higher sales uplift around the store vs front of store or at the fixture.


Once the shopper communication strategy has been defined, it’s now important to bring this to life with creative that will cut through the noise and catch their attention. With so much subjectivity around creative, it’s good to put some principles in place to help with this. At Capture we have built in-house tools to enable us to identify, create and assess good shopper creative, measuring against things like disruptiveness in a store environment and level of branding present. Without the right creative approach, even the most well-designed media plan won’t deliver.

Media mix

The shopper media landscape is complex and in grocery alone there are over 250 media channels to invest in. Building a media strategy and selecting media that have the right criteria should mean you end up with a campaign that reaches the right shoppers at the right time with the right message. Understanding the performance of those channels should also guide this choice. Our trademarked technology PlanVault gives us access to over 1,000 campaign results across 39 categories, meaning we can understand things like which channels contribute towards the strongest ROI for your brand and how their performance differs by retailer.

Retailer nuances

When building the media mix, it’s also important to allocate the right budget to the right customers. There are several variables that may influence this including JBPs, shopper-fit, media estate opportunities, and whether it’s important to invest in the relationship with that customer. Where relevant it can also be important to align to their retail strategy with the campaign. It’s not just a one way street, however – by better leveraging shopper spend to unlock commercial gains, the chances of a positive ROI are significantly increased.


Lastly, channels with strong compliance levels should be chosen in order to be as efficient as possible and to get the best value for money. The reality (as much as we won’t like it) is that on some channels, compliance will always be challenging – the aim, for now, is to track it closely and strike up a conversation if the results are behind expectations.

Most importantly, a successful shopper media campaign needs all of the above components to work seamlessly together.

Shopper marketing is admittedly a challenging environment and trying to get a strong ROI can be hard enough without skipping one of these steps. It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on one part of this puzzle, often to the detriment of another. For example, you could have the most beautifully designed creative but it won’t perform properly if it’s not in the right places and being seen by the right shoppers! Keeping every cog in the wheel connected can help with this, as well as making sure the right collaborative support is in place internally and with agency partners.

Sources / Links (numbered references): PlanVault 2019.