Adtech giant The Trade Desk has landed a partnership that aims to solve one of advertising’s biggest challenges in the $80 billion retail media space: getting timely data on how their ads are driving sales across multiple retailer sites and stores.

Advertisers will be able to access information on billions of US consumer transactions, both online and offline, through its exclusive deal with commerce measurement startup Attain.

Chicago-based Attain, founded in 2019, pulls its data from its consumer app Klover. The app offers users interest-free access to cash advances up to $200, points for watching ads or surveys, and budgeting tools in exchange for linking their bank accounts and loyalty cards. The company says it uses “military-grade 256-bit” encryption technology to keep consumers’ data private.

Klover has grown to around 5 million users who made more than 5 billion transactions worth $200 billion last year, Attain cofounder and CEO Brian Mandelbaum said. The startup has raised around $90 million in debt and equity and has 80 employees.

The partnership, which will enable advertisers to access real-time data through The Trade Desk’s ad-buying platform, was around six months in the making, according to Mandelbaum.

It comes amid the explosive growth of the retail media sector, as major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy and apps like Uber and DoorDash are quickly spinning up advertising businesses.

“Where the lightbulb went off was answering how we create an unbundled retail media approach where marketers can get real-time signals back and optimize within days of a campaign launching, versus waiting for a wrap report,” Mandelbaum said.

“Kroger and Walmart have incredible data on their customers, but a marketer needs to see what’s happening across all retail,” he said, adding that the Klover data also gives Attain access to purchases like insurance, streaming service subscriptions, and hotel bookings.

Attain, which will charge advertisers on a CPM, or cost-per-thousand-impressions basis, will offer The Trade Desk advertisers metrics including sales, return on ad spend, and conversion rates.

“Marketers are very attuned right now to how every dollar spent is a dollar earned, and the number one metric we hear over and over is: ‘how do I ensure return on ad spend in omnichannel?’,” Mandelbaum said.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley recently singled out The Trade Desk, as well as rival adtech firm Criteo, as two of the biggest winners in the growth of retail advertising, outside of Amazon.

The Trade Desk works with retailers like Walmart and Tesco to use their data to power programmatic ads beyond their own e-commerce sites and is expected to have a 5% market share by 2025, per Morgan Stanley. The Trade Desk is the largest independent adtech firm, and the company’s moves typically indicate where the industry is investing.

“Retailers realize that they cannot maximize the value of their shopper data by building walls around it,” said The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green on the company’s February earnings call. “They stand to drive much greater growth by opening their data up to advertisers in a privacy-safe way.”

The Trade Desk is set to release its latest earnings report on May 10.

Simon Andrews, founder of the mobile marketing agency Addictive, said that the arrival of new measurement services that give an aggregate view across various retailers and merchants signals a further maturation of the retail media market.

“But what sort of people are on the panel? If they’re on there to get cashback and coupons, it’s a certain demographic that might work if you’re Heinz Beans, but less so an upmarket brand,” Andrews added.

Mandelbaum said Klover’s userbase tilts toward a younger, middle-class demographic but because of its size, it also captures a volume of upmarket consumers. Attain is also testing new apps focused on rewarding upmarket and other unique demographics to further grow its audience panel, he said.

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