As consumers do more shopping, watching, and listening online, brands are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a digital advertising channel. Campaign strategies that rely on familiar ad channels can be strengthened by embracing the opportunities retail media networks present. On-platform placements like sponsored ads and recommended products provide direct access to motivated customers, while the first-party data provided by marketplaces activity allows for precise campaign targeting.
Maximizing return on ad spend (ROAS) is a matter of understanding how retail media networks are evolving and what features to look for. In this article, we’ll review some of the top networks and what they have to offer.
What are retail media networks?
Traditionally, the term “retail media” refers to in-store advertising placements within brick & mortar retail locations. Today, a retail media advertising network is a collection of channels that a digital retail entity has on its website, app, or other platforms within its organization. A network might span a single site or several digital properties and typically includes ad inventory on key locations along the buyer’s journey, such as the home, category, search, and product detail pages. Because their ecosystems include both shopping and purchasing activities, they’re an excellent source of rich data about customer buying patterns.
Retail media networks can include channels such as ecommerce sites, OTT platforms like Roku, connected TV and more, making them beneficial for any size business in any industry.
The MOLOCO Retail Media Platform
Are you a digital marketplaces looking to implement your own retail media network? At MOLOCO, our Retail Media Platform was designed to help digital retailers of all sizes tap into valuable new ad-powered revenue streams. Our APIs power self-service campaign management built on proven adtech infrastructure and deliver the highest ad revenue by using machine learning for automatic campaign optimization.
Want to know more about how MOLOCO can set you up for success? Contact us to get started.
Retail media network examples
Amazon is far and away the biggest player when it comes to retail media networks. The online retail behemoth commands a whopping 89% of the retail media ad spend in the US. With 200 million Amazon Prime members worldwide, Amazon’s access to deep transactional data is unsurpassed. In addition to its Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands placements, Amazon Advertising offers multi-channel advertising opportunities, including shoppable livestreams, audio ads on Amazon Music, and videos on its OTT brand, Fire TV, as well as the popular streaming platform Twitch. As an added value, Amazon Advertising offers vendors a free multipage store on the Amazon marketplace.
Walmart’s retail media network is second only to Amazon’s in terms of volume and revenue, with 150 million customers visiting either Walmart or its online portal every week. According to Walmart Connect, 35% of shoppers research items on Walmart.com before buying them in a brick and mortar store. Walmart’s omnichannel approach, which closes the loop between the app and physical stores, enables brands to more accurately attribute in-store conversions to digital campaigns. Walmart has also made a series of strategic acquisitions and partnerships to better compete with Amazon in the retail media advertising space. Gen Z/Millennial-focused brands like Modcloth, Jet, and Bonobos appeal to demographics that typically prefer shopping online to visiting brick-and-mortar stores, giving advertisers access to new audience segments.
Walgreens launched its Walgreens Ad Group (WAG) network as part of the company’s ongoing digital transformation to take advantage of the first-party data collected from the more than 100 million members of its myWalgreens loyalty program. The company has dedicated the resources to making its network a high value for advertisers, adding an in-house team of data scientists to optimize campaigns. As of May 2021, WAG also offered OTT, CTV, and linear TV inventory, sourced from more than 100 apps and 10 supply-side platforms.
Instacart has had a managed retail ad network since the service first launched, but added self-serve capabilities in 2020 as the pandemic fueled explosive growth for the grocery delivery app. As of this writing, the company is focusing on CPG advertisers to better leverage its first-party data from its estimated 9.6 million active users. Although it targets the same consumer cohorts as rival retail media networks from the likes of Kroger and Target, the nature of Instacart’s app, which requires increasingly specific demographic and behavioral information from the user, makes its data highly qualified.
Home Depot is the largest home improvement supplies retailer in the US, reaching 45 million customer households online and in 2,200 stores nationwide. Unlike Walmart Connect, which stresses its online/in-store synergy, Home Depot’s Retail Media+’ puts its focus squarely on HomeDepot.com, which attracts 2.2 billion visits a year. The retail media network claims “partners see more than 2x return on their ad spend,” on both on and offsite ads. The Home Depot Content Lab also helps brands create enriched assets for their ads, with options including 3D models, demo videos, and even product copy.
eBay Ads brings two key values to its retail media network. The first is that the data on its more than 100 million monthly unique visitors is connected to user IDs, and therefore well suited to cookieless marketing. eBay Ads is very proud of its data, which is based on “real shopping intent signals.” The second point in the retail media network’s favor is eBay Advanced Audience Technology (eAAT), which they claim leads to increased reach without sacrificing precision. eBay performed A/B tests last year comparing a campaign run through eAAT against one using a traditional DMP integration. According to the site, eAAT led to a 31% increase in overall impressions as well as a 7% increase in CTR.
Retail media network advertising will only increase in importance as consumers continue to shift their purchasing habits online. Getting the most out of ad spend is a matter of mastering data to match the right offers with the right consumers. Helping digital businesses unlock the power of their data has always been MOLOCO’s mission. To learn more about how MOLOCO can help your business connect with shoppers, contact us today.