The competition for paid promotions in online search results just got a little more crowded.
Instacart is reportedly rolling out a self-serve ad platform. According to Search & Performance Marketing Daily, brands and agencies can use the platform to purchase search ads, set goals and advertising budgets, and manage bidding. Major CPG brands including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Pepsico are said to have piloted the service in recent months.
Ads are served up to consumers on a personalized basis to match their specific search requests and history.
Steven Boal, CEO of digital promotions, media and analytics company Quotient, cautioned that retailers could feel negative impact from Instacart's new ad offering.
“By offering this self-serve ad platform, Instacart is positioning itself as an alternative to the retailers it is servicing," said Boal. "They are now directly intermediating between shoppers and retailers, and taking ad dollars away from those retailers.”
Major retailers and tech companies including Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Walmart all have existing robust targeted online search ad programs. With Instacart bringing on 250,000 new shoppers as its order volume and average customer basket size surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, the on-demand delivery provider may prove a worthy new participant in a field of tough challengers.