With online shopping more popular than ever before — particularly in light of the pandemic — advertising in this space has never been more important. In fact, in 2021, digital advertising accounted for more than half of global ad spend. While many brands have used old-school techniques like social media targeting and third-party cookies, retail media networks are the new way forward. This is what you need to know about how retail media networks can benefit your brand, and how to compare and contrast the options available.
What Is a Retail Media Network?
A retail media network is any advertising environment that offers space across a retail store’s many platforms, from e-commerce websites and apps to partner networks. Rather than targeting random consumers who may or may not be interested in a product, retail media networks allow advertisers to target prospects actively making buying decisions. This improves conversion rates, making it more likely that the right customers are seeing the right ads at the right times.
The Top 5 Retail Media Networks
1. Amazon Advertising
As with many aspects of online shopping, Amazon is the leader in the world of retail media networks. In 2021, Amazon received almost 90% of total retail media network spend. It makes sense — with around two billion visitors per month, Amazon is a resource for global shoppers buying products of all kinds across virtually all categories.
Part of Amazon’s appeal lies in what it can offer advertisers. Those placing ads with Amazon can expect access to resources like:
- Sponsored products on home, category, and product pages
- Brand sponsorship on the homepage when relevant
- Display advertising on partner sites and third-party platforms, like Twitch
Amazon may be the undisputed e-commerce leader, but Walmart is an equally well-known name in the average American home. With a wide range of affordable products and an up-and-coming web presence, Walmart’s omnichannel retail opportunities are quite compelling — to the point that Walmart now offers the second largest retail media network in the US.
With its retail media network, Walmart is looking to combine in-store and online shopping for a seamless customer experience. This includes app enhancements to ease in-store shopping, like helping customers find products throughout the store, as well as incorporating online reviews and product information on store shelves — benefiting all shoppers, no matter their buying preferences.
3. Target Roundel
Target hasn’t shown the same growth in the retail media network space as other similar brands, but its slow and steady strategy offers plenty of opportunity for advertisers. Target’s Roundel platform provides numerous outlets for advertising, including many in the display realm. This gives premier customers access to first-party data in addition to in-house data and access to Target’s programmatic platforms, like The Trade Desk and DV360.
Target’s strategy embraces social channels as well, like Pinterest, Facebook, and Google Shopping, in addition to its partner publishers, to ensure maximum visibility for its users.
4. Retail Media+ Home Depot
Home Depot doesn’t have the same name recognition or reach as Amazon or Walmart, but the store serves a key function for millions of homeowners. With a focus on home renovation and DIY projects, Home Depot serves a unique subset of the marketplace — one that saw growth during the pandemic, no less. With over two billion online visits annually, there are lots of ways to gain customer attention using the Retail Media+ platform. Offerings include:
- Onsite Advertising, embracing ad placement in a way that entices physical and virtual store visitors
- Offsite Adverting, giving advertisers a way to reach customers who viewed their products via retargeted ads on third-party platforms
- Email Advertising, showcasing sponsored advertiser products in Home Depot promo emails
5. Kroger Precision Marketing
Unlike many of the other big players in retail media networks, Kroger operates in a specialized space: groceries. But that’s not all. In the past years, the company has been busy, growing its advertising opportunities in countless different facets of its operations. This means branching out from the basics, like onside ads, partnerships, and private marketplace access. Kroger-specific opportunities include:
- Expansion of third-party fulfillment and delivery opportunities with Mirakl
- Online partnerships with Bed, Bath & Beyond
- The launch of Instacart Convenience, making grocery delivery fast and easy for Kroger customers
- Sponsored product opportunities and banner availability through PromoteIQ
While still unable to compete with the biggest names, Kroger’s dedication to growth promises big things for the future.
Getting Started in Retail Media Networks
For those stuck in the old-school realm of online marketing, the time to make a switch is now. Retail media networks are the future of digital advertising, particularly as Google continues to phase out third-party cookies. While not all networks will be right for all brands, with so many well-structured avenues available, there’s something for every company looking to best position itself in front of buyers. From harnessing the power of Amazon to leaning into the DIY space with Home Depot, there are more opportunities than ever to target customers as close to the point of purchase as possible.