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08/25/2021

Target taps Google exec to run in-house digital ad network

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Target is naming a new president of its Roundel division.

Target Corp. is naming Sarah Travis as president of Roundel, the retailer's in-house media company. 

Travis joins the company Sept. 13, 2021, and will report to Cara Sylvester, Target's executive VP and chief marketing and digital officer. Travis brings significant media experience to Roundel, having previously served as managing director of retail at Google. In her 13 years with Google, Travis held multiple executive roles in marketing and sales.

Target launched its Roundel ad network in 2019 as a tool for CPG brands to create personalized digital ad campaigns aimed at Target customers. Roundel helps advertisers connect directly with Target's customers through personalized, relevant marketing messages across Target's owned platforms and hundreds of brand-safe, off-platform channels.

Roundel, a “reimagining” of the in-house media company Target launched in 2016 (roundel is a synonym for bullseye, the Target symbol), is designed to create what Target calls “smart, personalized” campaigns using Target insights.

"Sarah has deep media expertise and a proven track record of creating and maximizing connections between brands and their core audiences," said Cara Sylvester. "She has a clear passion for the media industry and a strong understanding of what it takes to break through in today's incredibly dynamic environment, and I'm confident that her leadership will position Roundel for continued success."

"I've long admired Target's ability to understand and connect with its guests in a meaningful way, including the company's unparalleled shopping experience and its innovative approach to marketing," said Sarah Travis. "I'm looking forward to building on Roundel's strong foundation and working with the team to drive additional growth for Target and its many partners."

Roundel – a closer look

One key feature of Roundel is that in addition to pushing out targeted, timed messages on Target’s own platforms, it can deliver personalized promotions via more than 150 external partner platforms. These include Pinterest, PopSugar and NBC Universal. Target says that other businesses which align with the needs of its customers, such as providers in the financial services, automotive, and travel verticals, can leverage Roundel’s customized promotional capabilities.

Target has invested significantly in enhancing Roundel's products and capabilities over the last several years, including the introduction of new offerings related to programmatic advertising, closed-loop measurement and self-service performance tools. The media company has consistently outpaced its revenue goals since 2019, and remains a growing and profitable segment of the retailer's business.

Beginning in May 2021, Roundel became accessible from the CitrusAd platform. This provided CPG brands with the the ability to seamlessly launch and manage their Target product ad campaigns via CitrusAd’s self-serve platform. Roundel advertisers also have the option of utilizing the CitrusAd managed services team to drive and optimize digital media activity. Target product ads activated on the CitrusAd platform will go live on Target.com and the Target app within 24-48 hours. 

In addition, CitrusAd provides robust, real-time reporting dashboards designed to provide advertisers full transparency of the performance and analytics of their media at a product SKU level, including flagging campaigns with low click-through rates. The platform also offers more flexibility in search term selection, as well as a one-click "automated campaign" feature that automates steps including keyword, category targeting, bidding strategy, and product selection.