Retail Media Networks 2022

 What are the latest trends and best practices in the Retail Media Networks space?

Every company wants to be, and stay, relevant. When it comes to Retail Media Networks, this is especially important, especially at a time where purchase behaviors have changed significantly over the last few years.

Merkle stressed this, writing, "RMNs, which have gained significant traction among retailers and brands in the past few years, are advertising platforms set up on retailers' websites or digital properties. Well, that was the definition. We now define RMNs to include the monetization of first-party data, insights, and out-of-home or in-store tactics, which were previously held by retailers' merchant organizations.

This new definition shows just how quickly the industry is evolving. Part of the reason for the expansion of services is that it benefits endemic and non-endemic brands that are buyers of this service; it allows them to get closer to shoppers and the point of purchase through retailers' first-party data."

Essentially, all roads lead back to the consumer. And, of course, companies should do so seamlessly and easily, regardless of size. According to eMarketer, "After a banner year in 2021, we expect retail media advertising to rise to $52.21 billion by 2023. Dozens of retail media networks have launched over the past few years, with virtually every leading digital marketplace, mass merchandiser, national grocery chain, category-specific retailer, and delivery provider getting into the game."

Moreover, Boston Consulting Group explained that company size shouldn't be a barrier, stressing: "Companies of all sizes need to devise a retail media offering as both a defensive strategy (to hold their proportional share of historical trade dollars) and an offensive strategy (to capture the new money on the table)."

The following resources discuss trends and best practices in the Retail Media Network space.

Best Practices and Trends

  • Capitalizing on the Retail Media Boom: 5 Tips to Maximize Value for Retailers and Brands. Retail Touchpoints, April 2022.
    In an interview with Retail Touchpoints, Jon Flugstad, Associate Partner at McKinsey, said, "We're seeing something like 15 retail media networks launched in the U.S. alone already. Next year, [retail media] will be about $50 billion in media spend, which is about 25 percent of all digital media, and we're seeing forecasts of around $100 billion by 2024."

    Retail Touchpoints also lists these key aspects that retailers should consider as they build out an RMN offering:

  • The State of Retail Media 2022. Skai/BWG Survey, March 2022.
    To get a better understanding of retail media trends, Skai and BWG Strategy surveyed mid-level and senior-level decision-makers who spend a key portion of their week involved in retail media. Nearly 80 percent allocate at least 11 percent of their total marketing budget is retail media:

  • How Retail Media is Reshaping Retail. Boston Consulting Group, March 2022.
    Top retailers are tapping into the high-growth, high-margin business of retail media to aggressively fund strategies that boost their priorities and competitive position. In so doing, they are not only disrupting the digital advertising industry, but also transforming the retail landscape.

    So far, large companies have led the way in retail media, creating urgency for companies of all sizes to seize and maximize this opportunity, or risk losing out to the early adopters. BCG partnered with Google to examine how companies of all sizes can position themselves to capture growth opportunities in their retail media business, and some of the success they can see:

  • Why Retail Media Networks and Automation are Essential for Success. ANA, March 2022.
    As we transition into an endemic era reliant on omnichannel shopping experiences, RMNs have become a critical marketing component for all brands and retailers. RMNs offer retailers an additional revenue stream via the monetization of their first-party consumer data. Partnering brands can use this data to optimize their campaigns with personalized ads targeted to different audience segments, measure ROI more accurately, and ultimately boost their bottom line.

    As third-party cookies are eradicated and the collection of robust first-party data becomes vital to modern marketing success, the essentiality of RMNs for retailers and brands will only continue to grow. RMNs offer a scalable solution for promoting growth and future-proofing businesses in today's fast-evolving marketing landscape, where retailers must be able to meet shoppers wherever they are to succeed. RMNs provide that reach while maximizing first-party data usage and unlocking new revenue streams. Automation and RMNs are no longer niche tools for brand and retail marketers — they are absolute necessities.

  • Retail Media Networks Roundup. eMarketer/LiveRamp, March 2022.
    Retail media advertising had a banner year in 2021 — one that will be hard to top. U.S. retail media ad spend looks to rise 31.4 percent this year to $41.37 billion, up from $31.49 billion. eMarketer has curated this roundup of insights, articles, and interviews to offer a closer look at the retail media landscape across key areas such as top retail media networks, emerging consumer behaviors, and what we can expect to see in the future. It also includes eMarketer's first-ever rankings, showing how the 11 retail media networks ranked overall and according to key attributes:

  • The 5-Minute Guide to Retail Media Networks. LiveRamp, February 2022.
    One in eight digital ad dollars will go to advertising on e-commerce properties, proving that Retail Media Networks (RMNs) are the next biggest thing to happen to advertising since open exchanges. Retailers can develop greater competitive advantage and diversify their revenue streams by focusing on building infrastructure that gives them more control over the customer experience and better visibility into their actions and trends. This guide discusses three steps to building a retail media network, including:
    • Define success
    • Invest strategically
    • Perform a data and technical audit
  • Planning to Invest in Retail Media Networks? It Pays to Sweat the Details. AdExchanger, January 2022.
    Before evaluating which RMNs are most suited to a brand's goals, those goals must be clearly defined. Is the aim to win back lapsed brand buyers? Promote a limited distribution item? Attract new buyers? Or launch new products? From there, depending on the overall mission, there are six RMN attributes brands should consider:
    • Shopper targets: Can the network surface purchasing-behavior-based targets that align with the brand strategy and the goals of the campaign?
    • Data management capabilities: Are the technical capabilities and processes of the RMN integrated across all network channels, including owned and operated, CRM and offsite? Is exposure managed across the network to control frequency and optimize cross-channel amplification? Is data available to optimize creative, ad placement and frequency?
    • Support: Is the RMN staffed to provide the technical support the brand is likely to need? This may include self-service tools that allow the advertiser to do their own pre-campaign analytics and build their own target groups.
    • Creative functionality: Does the RMN give the brand flexibility to execute across ad products such as rich media and video? Can the brand track performance by creative versions to enable optimization?
    • Measurement: What are the measurement capabilities of the network? The network should offer incremental sales views for the total campaign and for each media channel. Ideally, there should be measurement views of other sub-campaign elements as well, such as creative, ad type and frequency of exposure.
    • Post-Campaign Tracking: Some leading networks offer post-campaign tracking and advanced analytics to study ad-exposed customer behavior and enable the brand to develop ongoing relevant messaging. Retailers have unique insight into what customers do after seeing a campaign. This can provide invaluable learnings to inform overall media strategy.
  • The Evolution of Retail Media Networks. Merkle, October 2021.
    The world of retail media is changing quickly, and so are retailers' and CPG brands' needs. This is especially true for retail media networks (RMNs), a relatively nascent and ever-evolving space. Merkle repeated its 2020 retail media research to understand how attitudes toward RMNs have changed, what's motivating brands and retailers to pursue new ecommerce solutions, and how shifts in consumer behavior are impacting the industry. Some major takeaways:
    • If you're a retailer: Know your brand. With the number of new retailers and ecommerce sites launching RMNs, it's easy to become overwhelmed and always feel like you're playing catch up. This can become distracting and may not always result in innovation that's right for your brand and your advertisers. Remain rooted in your RMN's brand values and purpose and follow your roadmap, acknowledging but not always reacting to what other retailers are doing.
    • If you're a CPG brand marketer: RMNs are a big marketing opportunity for brands, but you must have a strategy. The retailer has big goals for its RMN's success and may bring you large investment opportunities – you need to know why one RMN may be better for your brand than another and make investments accordingly.

  • Why More Retailers Have Media Networks and What the Rise Means for Agencies. Advertising Age, October 2021.
    RMN offerings were initially limited to selling a vendor's ads on a retailer's own website and later grew to include some ad inventory outside of their own properties. But now more retailers are increasingly turning to other forms of media offerings, such as in-store digital ads, product sampling and campaigns on connected TV — and that is where experts say opportunities lie for expansion. At the same time, retailers have a chance to improve personalization strategies to better attract shoppers on behalf of brands.

  • 5 Things Brands Need to Know About Finding the Right Retail Media Network. Adweek, July 2021.
    Brands have more options than ever before to reach consumers at not only Amazon, Walmart, and Target, but also smaller, more specialized retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Family Dollar, along with Home Depot, Best Buy, Ulta and Instacart, to name a few. Elizabeth Marsten, senior director of strategic marketplace services at performance marketing agency Tinuiti, conceded that because there are so many media networks to choose from now, it can be hard for brands to figure out the right one to use — but it's not impossible. This article discusses considerations for brands when deciding which RMN to work with.

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"Retail Media Networks 2022." ANA, 2022.