Stay-at-home restrictions and safety concerns during the pandemic meant that shopping increasingly involved scrolling through the search results on an app rather than browsing the aisles of a store. And during that time, online shopping brands soared.
With that increased online shopping came the rise of the retail media network, which allows brands to boost their products to the top of search results or offer special promotions across thousands of different platforms, from Amazon Ads, Walmart Connect, Instacart Advertising, and scores more. Wherever a brand sells products online, there’s likely a retail media marketing option for earning more attention and boosting sales.
A Merkle report recently stated that “every one to two months a new retail media network is born”, so this is something marketers should be paying very close attention to for the next few years.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting started advertising on retail media networks.
What is a retail media network?
To understand how retail media networks operate on the most basic level, think about the product placement, in-store signage, and special promotions in circulars retail outlets have always offered brands in their physical locations. As more and more retailers also offer their customers an online shopping experience, those advertising opportunities have moved online via digital ad space to feature sponsored products on websites and apps.
Amazon Ads is perhaps the biggest example of a retail media network, giving sellers and brands quite a few ways to feature their products at companies in search results, banner ads, and even on competitors’ pages. However, in recent years many other businesses have entered the retail media network fold.
For example, Instacart, the grocery delivery app that saw unprecedented growth during the pandemic, is set to boost that growth even more with its retail media network, which, like Amazon, allows brands to place their products at the top of search results and offer in-app coupons to shoppers. The move is set to increase Instacart’s ad revenue by $700 million in 2022.
Benefits of a retail media network
While it’s undeniable that retail media networks are great for retailers, what exactly is in it for advertisers?
Well, according to Amazon, retail media network ads are useful not just for brand discovery but also for sales. A recent study found that 68% of its shoppers had discovered a new brand on its platform. So it stands to reason that placing sponsored products directly in search results when shoppers are looking to discover is an effective means of getting noticed. Furthermore, Kantar analysis of mobile campaigns running on Amazon found a 450 percent increase in purchase intent compared to similar campaigns on other platforms.
The main purpose of advertising is ultimately to attract customers, and retail media networks offer consumer insights that other forms of advertising do not. As third-party data becomes more difficult to come by due to privacy regulations, retailers have begun to increasingly rely on first-party data or information that customers give voluntarily. All of those loyalty programs, email lists, and purchase histories to which online retailers now have access mean that advertisers can deliver more accurate product recommendations and special offers than ever before via retail media marketing.
Getting started in retail media marketing
As retail media networks become increasingly common, it can be difficult for brands to choose which ones to use. Everyone from Amazon to Instacart to CVS now offers ad space. Choosing wisely is about looking carefully at where products are the right fit, according to Tim Rogers, SVP and global general manager of omnichannel and CRM at media platform Criteo.
“Painting with a broad canvas, if 25% of my sales go through Amazon, I might put 25% of my investment there and 20% in Walmart and 15% and Target accordingly,” Rogers recently told AdWeek.
Another factor to consider is exactly how and where it’s possible to display ads.
Home Depot, which has also seen business boom due to the popularity of home renovations during the pandemic, offers many different ways for its advertisers to connect with its customers. The retailer’s advertising branch, called Retail Media+, offers not only programmatic ads utilizing Home Depot’s first-party data, but also social via platforms like Pinterest and Facebook, and even Google Shopping options. These expanded offerings come in handy for seasonal advertisers whose sales increase during Home Depot sales events such as Spring Black Friday.
With so many options for retail media marketing, developing strategies for managing, optimizing and automating campaign creation and execution across thousands of retailer and marketplace websites is an ever-increasing challenge for most advertisers. That’s why Skai has partnered with a growing list of retailers in order to help advertisers create and measure retail media campaigns across channels on a single platform.
Contact us to see how your brand can get started or grow your retail media marketing strategy.