The pandemic disrupted the business landscape worldwide, and one such disruption was the accelerated growth of the global retail e-commerce industry.
Retail e-commerce sales experienced an average year-on-year growth of close to $400B between 2014 and 2019, but from 2019 to 2021, the average YoY growth was $800B, twice the average of the previous five years. (Statista)
This growth in sales, of course, stemmed from an exponential increase in site traffic. Global e-commerce website traffic increased from 16B visits in January 2020 to 22B in June 2022. (Statista)
The Growing Interest in Retail Media Networks
Online retail stores like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay did not just grab the attention of consumers but also of marketers and advertisers. Because retail e-commerce stores were attracting a huge number of visitors, it made sense for companies to run advertisements and promote their brand and products on these online retail stores.
This brought about the surge in retail media advertising. In fact, Forbes, in an article, stated that 74 percent of brands have dedicated marketing budgets toward retail media advertising.
So, What is a Retail Media Network?
A retail media network is an advertising service that provides marketers with advertising space across a retail store's many assets (the website, apps, brick-and-mortar store, partner networks, and so on).
This allows the brand that is running advertisements to reach a wide audience across multiple channels owned by the retail media network. Amazon, for example, will let you advertise across their site, app, and Amazon Fire TV.
The primary benefit of going through a retail media network is access to the huge collection of first-party data that retail stores collect as consumers go about their shopping journey. This helps brands better target their ads for enhanced digital advertising ROI.
Examples of Retail Media Ads
1. Product promotions on the homepage of the retail e-commerce store
Amazon promotes sponsored products on the homepage.
2. Ads across category pages
Sponsored laptops show up on the first row of Wallmart's laptop category page.
3. Ads on specific product pages
Amazon promotes sponsored products relevant to the product being viewed (which in this case is a Meta Quest 2 VR headset).
4. Search results page
Walmart promotes a sponsored brand on the search results page for the keyword 'mobile phone.'
These are just examples of ads shown within the retail brand's store. Targeting via a retail media network platform, however, is not limited to their own store but expands to partner sites and social media platforms as well.
The Top 7 Retail Media Ad Networks You Must Try
It's evident why running ads on retail media networks is beneficial - they use first-party data to tailor the ad for the user. In addition, retail media networks use programmatic advertising to show ads that are relevant, either contextually to the page or based on the user's past interactions.
If you are looking to advertise your brand on a retail media network, this list is for you. We have curated a list of the top 7 retail media ad networks that brands can leverage for best results and increased marketing ROI.
Amazon garnered the lion's share of retail media advertising in the US in 2021 and received a whopping 89 percent of the total spend. This makes sense considering the fact that Amazon gets close to 2 billion visitors a month on their website and app alone.
Amazon provides brands with advertising space across multiple areas, and you can run ads for:
- Sponsoring individual products that will be shown across product and category pages and also on the homepage for users who match your targeting filters
- Sponsoring your brand and a list of products across the homepage, product category pages, and product pages
- Display advertising on the Amazon store and partner sites like Twitch and other third-party platforms
Walmart was the second largest retail media advertising platform in the US in 2021, second to Amazon (Statista).
In 2021, Walmart received a little less than a billion visitors a month, making it an incredibly lucrative site for brands to advertise their products. Similar to Amazon, Walmart has a huge repertoire of categories, from groceries to technology.
Brands can place ads in different locations across Walmart's stores and its partner sites:
- Product and brand promotions on the homepage, search results page, category pages, and product pages
- Display ads based on audience targeting across Walmart's pages
- In-store ads on TVs and screens located across their physical stores
Close to 8 million consumers visit Walgreens (online and in-store) every single day.
In 2019, Walgreens launched its own retail media network Walgreens Ad Group (WAG). WAG leverages first-party data collected from the myWalgreens loyalty program that has over 100 million members and also from visitors to their 9,000 plus physical stores.
Brands can run display and video ads via WAG, and the platform also provides analytics and reporting capabilities.
eBay was one of the first online e-commerce sites to be launched, and even though it may have lost the popularity contest to Amazon, eBay continues to be a go-to location for consumers. In fact, eBay had 187 million users worldwide in 2021.
eBay has its own Promoted Listings Standard platform that allows users to promote products listed on eBay and also run display ads across the site. It also comes with an inbuilt dashboard that gives various ad measurements like impressions, clicks, sales, etc.
Promoted Listings Standard can also be used through third-party listing platforms like Auctiva, ChannelAdvisor, and Frooition.
5. Home Depot Retail Media+
Home Depot allows brands to run ads through their digital advertising solution, Retail Media+ which connects all of Home Depot's assets. The platform enables you to target the website, its 2200 physical stores, and also partner sites.
Homedepot.com receives over 2.2 billion annual visits, and companies can greatly increase brand visibility by running ads across the website. Ad placements include carousel ads, top-of-the-page banner ads, and in-grid ads.
Retail Media+ is not just limited to Home Depot's assets, and ads are also posted on external channels like social media platforms.
6. Target Roundel
Target rebranded its retail media network to Roundel in 2019 and launched a whole new solution for advertising.
Roundel is a programmatic advertising platform that leverages the consumer data collected by Target's online and physical stores to run ads across multiple platforms like the Target.com store, Target's physical stores, social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat), their influencer partner network, and so on.
7. Kroger Precision Marketing
Similar to Target, retail brand Kroger launched its own advertising network Kroger Precision Marketing. It leverages the consumer data acquired by Kroger's e-commerce site and vast multi-department network to run ads across Kroger's own and partner networks.
Kroger Precision Marketing allows brands to run email campaigns, targeted ads on Kroger.com pages, ads on product listing pages, and also create a dedicated brand page on Kroger's site.
We have covered the evolution of some of these retail media ad networks while choosing the top picks of the months for our previous blogs - Mar-22, Jan-22, July-21, and Mar-21.
Advertising on Retail Media Networks
Major retail stores (online and offline) like Amazon, Target, and Home Depot have loyal customers and collect tons of consumer data daily. Through retail media networks, they make this data available to brands, and that is a benefit very few ad platforms can match.
This also gives small and mid-sized businesses a level playing field in a competitive market where acquiring data is extremely challenging. The availability of data and affordable pricing make retail media networks a must-use advertising platform for every brand.