Unlocking the Retail Advertising Opportunity: The KeyMe Story

Explore KeyMe's journey from key duplication innovator to advertising powerhouse in our interview with Chief Experience Officer, Samantha Jahnke. Discover how KeyMe is transforming retail environments and unlocking new advertising potential.
An Interview with Samantha Jahnke, Chief Experience Officer

In the vibrant ecosystem of digital advertising, a revolution quietly unfolds within the familiar spaces of America's most frequented retail environments. At the heart of this transformation is KeyMe, a key duplication innovator turned advertising powerhouse, reshaping how brands connect with consumers at critical decision-making moments.

KeyMe is not just redefining locksmith services but is carving a new frontier for advertisers seeking to captivate audiences with precision and poignancy. At the helm of this innovative approach to enhancing the consumer experience through advertising is Samantha Jahnke, the recently appointed Chief Experience Officer. 

In a candid interview, Jahnke sheds light on KeyMe's journey, the untapped opportunity for advertisers, and the exciting future ahead.

A Mission Born from Necessity

"KeyMe's origin is rooted in solving a real problem," begins Jahnke, reflecting on the company's mission to address the inefficiencies in the locksmith industry. "KeyMe was founded in 2012 by Greg Marsh, after his wife had a terrible experience being locked out and price gouged by a locksmith." 

Jahnke went on to describe how the founder dropped out of business school on a mission to make the locksmith industry better. Marsh recognized how often the necessity of keys being made arised, and how the locksmith industry was long overdue for an innovative overhaul. 

KeyMe was born at the intersection of necessity and technology, and has forever changed the way Americans access homes, cars, offices, and more. They have revolutionized the key-cutting industry with a self-serve kiosk that outperforms trace cut keys. KeyMe copies thousands of different types of residential, commercial, RFID keys, and car keys.

At the same time, they have built a marketplace for urgent residential and vehicle lockout services to improve the experience for both consumers and locksmiths.

Consumer-Friendly Retail Environments

The innovation of KeyMe extends far beyond the robotics technology that powers its key-cutting kiosks. From the outset, a deliberate strategy was implemented to introduce these kiosks into retail environments where consumers frequently visit, yet where key duplication services were traditionally unavailable. 

"The introduction of our kiosks into grocery stores, convenience stores, and beyond represented a strategic shift from the conventional hardware store model," Samantha Jahnke explains. This strategic placement has made key duplication more accessible and convenient, aligning perfectly with the consumer's routine shopping experiences.

This approach has resulted in KeyMe's impressive expansion, with over 6,000 kiosks now located in a diverse array of top U.S. retailers, including not just grocery and convenience stores, but also mass, gas stations, hardware, malls, pharmacies, and large retail chains. 

"Our presence in these high-traffic retail locations is a clear indicator of our commitment to bringing solutions directly to where consumers are already spending their time," Jahnke emphasizes. This strategic distribution not only meets consumers' needs with unparalleled convenience but also weaves KeyMe's services—and the accompanying digital advertising—naturally into the fabric of the everyday shopping journey.

Unlocking Advertising Potential

The conversation shifts to the unique strengths KeyMe offers to advertisers. Jahnke is enthusiastic about the opportunity for advertisers, especially given the kiosk’s placement in environments ripe for decision-making. 

The kiosks are located in high-traffic areas, with over 80% near checkout or entrance/exit. KeyMe’s vertical oriented screens are eye level and native to the machine, not a bolt on top, which allows advertising on the screens to not only be easily seen, but to be seamlessly integrated into the customer experience. 

This non-intrusive approach, coupled with sound-off screens and retailer-specific content, underscores KeyMe's commitment to complementing the shopping experience. When visually compared to other ad units in retail environments, the high-impact visibility of the kiosk sets the ad product apart. 

KeyMe Retail Advertising

Buying KeyMe advertising inventory is simple for media buyers, offering direct or programmatic transaction avenues, streamlined for ease through a longstanding partnership with Screenverse

"This collaboration has not only scaled our advertising capabilities but also enhanced the quality of our offerings, making us a top choice for media buyers," Jahnke remarks, praising the partnership that has significantly expanded KeyMe's advertising reach and impact.

High Value Audiences At Scale

"Our kiosks offer a moment of engagement with consumers when they're already in a mindset to consider new products and services," Jahnke notes, pointing out the effectiveness of reaching new movers and impulse purchasers through KeyMe's full-funnel advertising capabilities.

In-store audiences are still 70% larger than digital retail media audiences, per data from and Comscore Media Metrix Multi-Platform, giving advertisers the ability to target specific marketing messages to shoppers and improve the chances that their product ends up in the customer’s shopping cart. With a reach of over 900+ million monthly impressions across 49 states, KeyMe represents the opportunity to deliver advertising right at the point-of-purchase.

KeyMe Retail Advertising

In recent brand studies, KeyMe has seen +45% lifts in purchase consideration, in addition to double digit lifts across all other metrics measured. This highlights the fact that though place-based DOOH media can be seen as primarily an awareness tactic, the reality is that KeyMe introduces the solution to drive bottom of funnel tactics as well, directly in store.

The diversity of KeyMe's audience reach is a testament to its broad appeal and effectiveness. From household decision-makers and affluent shoppers to college students and military families, KeyMe engages with over 128+ million monthly impressions, offering advertisers a direct line to highly sought-after segments. 

The users of the kiosk include highly sought after audience segments: 

  • Household Decision Makers: 128+ Million Monthly Impressions
  • Impulse Purchasers: 135 Million Monthly Impressions
  • New Movers: 500k+ New Movers Each Month
  • Affluent Shoppers: 75 Million Monthly Impressions
  • College Students: 174 Million Monthly Impressions
  • Military Families: 38 Million Monthly Impressions

This engagement is bolstered by KeyMe's excellent service reputation, highlighted by over 110,000 Google reviews with an average 4.6 / 5.0 rating, enhancing the appeal of the ads displayed on its screens.

Setting Standards in Quality and Impact

KeyMe's commitment to quality is evident in its adherence to high standards, including store-specific ad scheduling, human-reviewed content, and strategic kiosk placement. 

KeyMe has recently become Vistar Verified, a program to ensure the programmatic marketplace maintains the highest standards of inventory quality. Vistar’s ‘Verify’ solution is illuminating for brands, helping them demarcate and focus investment within premium and impactful contexts for their campaigns. 

KeyMe’s ad inventory is also PerView audited, and boasts screens that are live over 99% of the time, due to advanced health monitoring systems keeping kiosks available for key duplication and screens live for advertising. Advertisers can trust in not only the audiences KeyMe enables them to reach, but also the quality of the campaign they are able to deploy.

Future-Proofing Through Innovation

As KeyMe continues to innovate and expand, its story is not just about a revolutionary key duplication service but also about setting new benchmarks in retail and digital advertising. 

In the dynamic world of retail media, KeyMe emerges as a key player, bridging the gap between physical retail experiences and digital engagement, and heralding a new era of convenience and connectivity. Looking ahead, KeyMe is poised for continued growth, both in terms of its network expansion and the development of new advertising products.


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