Riding the Retail Media Wave into 2024

By Thought Leaders Archives
Cover image for  article: Riding the Retail Media Wave into 2024

The tides of digital advertising have shifted and the little ripple that was retail media has grown into The Big Wave everyone wants to catch. Whether you're an advertiser, an ad tech partner, or a consumer, you're in for a wild retail media ride next year and beyond.

As we head into 2024, here are my predictions–on the journey into cross-retailer audience standardization, the orchestration of multi-RMN activations, and the data-driven future of retail.

The Rising Data Tides

Advertisers understand the power of top retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart (among others) to reach consumers on an almost daily basis, ensuring the success of new products launched by appealing to shoppers at the point of purchase. Retailers have also awakened to the vast sea of rich data they possess, brimming with revenue potential through advertising activation. However, the challenge lies in unraveling the mystery of defining audiences like ‘high spenders’ or ‘primary purchasers’ consistently across diverse retailers, since audience definitions are not analogous across retailers.

In 2024, marketers will not just be interested in acquiring audiences, but in understanding the duplication that occurs across these retail behemoths, acknowledging that the path to purchase is often non-linear. Leaning into multiple data sets for planning to understand the consumer deeply will be required to make sound media investment choices.

Surfs Up on Standardization

Standardizing anything in media takes collaboration, time, and patience. However, standardization is on the horizon. In 2023, a movement to standardize RMN measurement gained momentum with the release of retail media measurement guidelines by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which opened up the guidelines for comment.

In 2024, I expect more progress in this area and standardized metrics across retailers. For example, the disparate constructs and calculations for Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS), arguably the most important metric for RMNs, should be solved holistically. Doing so not only aids advertisers in navigating the labyrinth of retail data but also paves the way for increased adoption, which inevitably translates to more lucrative opportunities for retailers and better outcomes for brands.

Breaking Down Barriers

As we learn to swim in these new oceans of data and RMN optionality, it’s time to call into question the silos that have traditionally separated national brand dollars from shopper dollars, and retailers accepting only endemic vs. non-endemic advertisers. In my opinion, these waves should and will come crashing down. The dichotomy between brand awareness and performance-driven advertising is dissipating, giving rise to a holistic approach. The goal of advertising is clear – marketers are on a quest to find audiences seamlessly across a myriad of channels and touchpoints, spanning both in-store and online.

Ultimately, what matters is that the campaign drove the outcomes intended whether that be awareness or sales, so a variety of tactics should be employed with partners that can provide insights that inform better performant campaign strategies.

Reaching the Crest

Our mission as advertisers and partners is clear – to orchestrate an experience that spans the entire customer journey. Brands can no longer be confined to the aisles or end-caps, but seek attention across every interaction point with consumers. The more the industry aligns itself with this mission, the more retailers and their media networks can capture media and consumer dollars – making it a winning value proposition for all. It’s not merely about driving performance on a singular campaign, it’s about justifying the high expenditures these retailers are seeking across these invaluable media and data assets while stewarding the unique relationships they have with their consumers.

As we sail into 2024, it’s important to remember that the evolution from inventory-centric buying approaches to the data-driven future of RMNs is not just a trend, it's a transformative wave that demands the industry’s attention. Along with navigating the waters of standardization and dissolving the barriers between advertising categories, marketers who will succeed are those who can rely on partners that harmonize their strategies with the evolving landscape of retail media networks.

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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