All Articles Marketing Marketing Strategy Should you cash in on the rise of retail media networks?

Should you cash in on the rise of retail media networks?

Retail media networks are growing faster than social media and CTV advertising. Here’s the latest look at RMNs – and the opportunity.

5 min read

MarketingMarketing Strategy

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Social media advertising has been the golden child for personalized, targeted advertising. And, connected TV is the latest shiny new object for brands and their targeted ads. So, can we call media retail media networks … the latest matte object for brands???

Where the ad dollars are flowing

Social ad spending is expected to top anywhere from $63 billion (Oberlo) to $80.67 billion (Statista) in the US this year and is expected to slow from nearly 25% annually during the past five years to around 10% annually for the next few.

CTV advertising is expected to account for $21.16 billion in advertising this year (Insider Intelligence) and increase 14.4% in 2023 (IAB).

While retail media networks have received their share of props, I think they’re unheralded in the potential for brands – all brands, not just consumer packaged goods. 

Estimates for media retail advertising in 2022 range from $33 billion (GroupM) to $40.1 billion (Insider Intelligence), and the “growth should generally outpace all other major forms of digital media in the years ahead,” says GroupM in its “2022 E-Commerce & Retail Media Forecast.”

More & more retail media networks

Amazon is usually the first company that comes to mind when talking retail media. However, that space has heated up and grown in the past year as many of the top brick-and-mortar retailers are looking to get in on the retail media network action.

Amazon, reports Tinuiti, has more than 200 billion unique monthly visitors to its site. Walmart’s in-store and online audience make it an up-and-coming challenger, with 1.07 billion combined average monthly in-store shoppers and unique monthly visitors to its site.

Other top retailers that have created an RMN include Lord & Taylor, Kroger, Target’s Roundel, Home Depot’s Retail Media+, Dollar General’s DG Media Network, Macy’s, Ulta, CVS and Walgreens. 

Omnichannel is where it’s at

The growth of retail media networks, in part, echoes the rise in the importance of omnichannel marketing. “The modern-day shopper weaves between offline and online channels, moving from initial purchase consideration to the checkout,” said Teresa Aprile, co-founder and CEO of Brandcrush, which offers turnkey software to retailers that allows them to manage their in-store, online and out-of-store media.

“For retailers, this hybrid behavior is driving a focus on the shopper experience at every touchpoint in their omnichannel ecosystem. For brand marketers, there’s a growing need to seamlessly identify and align advertising mediums that drive the greatest conversion, in-store and offline,” Aprile said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated consumers’ e-commerce habits, 80% of consumers’ grocery shopping journey still occurs in-store, Aprile said. 

The increased digitization of in-store media – think POS and digital screens, in-store audio – combined with traditional means such as in-store coupons open plenty of opportunities for brands.

“Brands that command attention in-store can significantly increase the probability of being chosen over a competitive brand on this final purchase leg,” Aprile said.

While in-store is where the journey ends, online and out-of-store marketing is where it usually begins.

Eighty percent of consumers engage with print and digital circulars, which help drive in-store shopping, according to Aprile.

For online efforts, brands can take advantage of retailers’ first-party shopper data for targeted sponsored products and other ads on retailers’ websites.

“These media channels are driving the most efficient form of closed-loop reporting, making it an easy choice for ROI-obsessed marketers,” Aprile said.

Personalized email, which tends to offer ROI twice that of other digital formats, also is effective for brands, Aprile added.

Nearly every shopper, everywhere

The rise of traditional brick-and-mortar stores in the retail media network realm has greatly expanded the potential pool of shoppers. No longer are consumers limited to driving distance to take advantage of offerings from the big-box retailers.

“The digital revolution means that the Walmarts and Amazons of the world have theoretically expanded the reach of all kinds of products and services to very remote places,” IMGN Media’s Noah Mallin told SmartBrief in July.

Not just CPG brands though

While CPG brands are seemingly the prime beneficiaries of RMNs, they’re not the only ones. 

“Non-endemic brands, including telcos and power companies, can use retail media networks to reach super-targeted audiences online and offline,” Aprile said.

“Think of a streaming service that wants to engage shoppers during the launch of a new release – it can get in front of consumers as they shop for groceries. Any company that sells products or services to consumers could be a potential buyer of retail media network space,” she added.

To answer our question above … Yes you should cash in. Retail media networks are rewriting the rules – and opportunities – for retailers and brands alike. With the ability for highly targeted marketing, it’s an opportunity no brand can ignore.


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