Blog Article

Retail media: the ultimate guide

, Moloco

August 31, 2021

Retail media implementations unlock valuable revenue opportunities for digital marketplaces while giving sellers the tools they need to succeed.

Since COVID-19 swept the globe, consumers’ browsing, shopping, and buying behaviors have shifted dramatically to the online world. In today’s landscape, brands and businesses are turning their focus away from traditional media models toward more digitally-minded strategies, and the next evolution of retail media has materialized as a result.

Contemporary retail media environments unlock valuable new revenue opportunities for digital marketplaces and content publishers while helping advertisers place their products within reach of consumers already intent on making a purchase. Brands can use retail media placement to increase their visibility, boost sales, and drive conversions wherever consumers shop or think about shopping, from websites and online marketplaces to apps and streaming platforms.

This article provides an overview of the retail media ecosystem, including a look at the networks and platforms that support retail media advertising.

Jump to a section…

What is retail media advertising?

  • Retail media advertising channels
  • Why retail media advertising matters today

What are retail media networks?

  • The retail media networks shaping the future of online advertising

What are retail media platforms?

  • The best retail media platforms for monetizing digital marketplaces

How MOLOCO can help you create a winning retail media strategy

What is retail media advertising?

Retail media advertising is when businesses pay to have their products highlighted in purchasing environments in order to capture customer attention and drive sales. The practice originated in the world of brick and mortar stores; brands would pay retailers to display their signage, branding, and promotional materials toward the tail end of the buyer’s journey, when shoppers have already expressed their intention to make a purchase in that product category. Retail media advertising in the digital world is similar; advertisers pay to have their products showcased either at or near the point of sale.

Retail media advertising channels

In the online world, retail media advertising has historically taken place on digital shopping platforms, marketplaces, and websites. As digital spaces expand and evolve, so do opportunities for marketers looking to leverage retail media advertising online. Other modern retail media advertising channels include:

  • E-commerce mobile apps like Uber Eats
  • Streaming services like Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN
  • Over-the-top units like Roku and Fire TV
  • Connected TVs that access content over the internet

Why retail media advertising matters today

Retail media advertising is a crucial part of any modern marketing strategy. The onset of the global pandemic in 2020 heralded a permanent shift in consumer behavior. Every aspect of life moved online and behind a screen, from work to play and everything in between. As consumers acclimated to shopping for anything and everything online, their expectations about digital experiences grew exponentially. Meanwhile, growing privacy measures from tech companies like Apple and Google are introducing new limits to what platforms are able to track when it comes to consumer data.

Retail media networks address those changes by creating a tight feedback loop that uses on-platform customer behavior to inform advertising visibility. Changes in digital privacy have made first-party data highly desirable, and by enabling highly specific targeting, that first-party data helps marketers increase their effectiveness exponentially. In today’s digital ecosystem, retail media networks increase brands’ overall marketing effectiveness and help map out a path to high return-on-ad-spend (ROAS.

For more about how to make retail media advertising work for your business, read our guide “What is Retail Media Advertising?

What are retail media networks?

Retail media networks are channels or groups of channels maintained by a single retail entity across its website, apps, or other platforms. Marketplaces like these use retail media networks to control ad inventory and ad placements at various points along the buyer journey. These systems can combine huge stores of first-party consumer data, including shopping patterns and buying behaviors, all sourced from the company’s owned digital ecosystem.

The retail media networks shaping the future of online advertising

The more time consumers spend online, the more chances brands have to reach them in new ways. Retail media networks augment traditional advertising strategies with on-platform placements focused more on encouraging specific sales than on driving awareness. These are some of the top retail media networks that can help brands and online retailers reach their ROAS goals:

  • Amazon: Leverages data from 200 million+ Prime members
  • Walmart: Bridges the physical and digital experiences of 150 million+ weekly customers
  • Walgreens: Crunches first-party data from 100 million+ loyalty members
  • Instacart: Provides increased demographic specificity around 9.6 million active users
  • Home Depot: Promises 2x ROAS across 2.2 billion annual website visits
  • eBay: Connects 100 million+ unique monthly visitors to user ID information

To continue reading about retail media networks and the leaders in the space today, check out “6 Retail Media Networks Shaping the Future of Online Advertising.” 

What are retail media platforms?

Retail media platforms are the infrastructure that supports the on-platform advertising experiences of retail media networks. These platforms often combine various elements — like customer databases, targeting algorithms, recommendation engines, and transactional APIs — to ensure high quality ad placements and drive up ROAS for sellers.

The best retail media platforms for monetizing digital marketplaces

Partnerships with retail media platforms can make a big difference to digital marketplaces that wouldn’t otherwise be able to invest the time and resources to build those platforms themselves. These are today’s top retail media platforms providing increased accessibility to the tools and services that enable retail media success:

  • Moloco: Access retail media advertising powered by unmatched machine learning algorithms with minimal financial risk
  • Amazon Personalize: Apply Amazon’s machine learning tech to shopping platforms
  • Criteo: Focus on ease of use and fall back on end-to-end support
  • Crealytics: Monetize all major channels through sponsored ad solutions
  • Epsilon: Minimize effort with a turnkey platform and managed services

To learn more about today’s top retail media platforms and what they can do for your business, read “The 5 Best Retail Media Platforms for Monetizing Digital Marketplaces.” 

How Moloco can help you create a winning retail media environment

The online and digital purchasing habits that consumers developed during the pandemic weren’t a temporary change; they’re part of the new normal. That makes retail media advertising all the more important for businesses and publishers of all sizes experimenting with new ad-based revenue streams. Moloco's carefully trained algorithms help businesses leverage their data to connect their customers with the right products at the right time. Want to learn more about what Moloco's Retail Media Platform can do to help your business unlock valuable new revenue opportunities? Get in touch.

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