Retail media advertising is exploding and the space is evolving so rapidly that it’s hard for brands to keep pace. Listen to Ben Taylor, EMEA Head of Omni-channel Commerce at Publicis Commerce and Mandy Critchley, Customer Success Director at e.fundamentals taking a deep dive into exactly what retail media is, how it has evolved and what tools & services are available to retain category leadership.
This post is based on an episode of The Digital Shelf Cast featuring Julia Glotz. For more conversations like this one, subscribe to The Digital Shelf Cast on Apple, Spotify and everywhere else you listen to podcasts.
📝 The show notes
03:52 Ben gives a quick description of what retail media is and the retailers and marketplaces he currently counts as leaders in this space (Amazon, Criteo and white label solution Citrus Ad).
“So, I really like to try and simplify this because people try and make it complicated. Retail media is just advertising spaces that appear as you shop on a retailer. This is very simple.” Ben Taylor, EMEA Head of Omni-channel Commerce at Publicis Commerce
04:57 Ben brings us up to speed on what has changed in retail media over the past 18 months. Globally, retail media is very large in China, the second biggest market is in the US. Europe seems in the midst of a transition with some retailers offering new approaches to retail media that has good targeting and good performance data.
“Retail media growing like a tidal wave and hitting the shores of other countries gradually around the globe particularly in Europe.” Ben Taylor, EMEA Head of Omni-channel Commerce at Publicis Commerce
07:03 Mandy explains that for CPG brands, there are some really big advantages inspecting their media budget directly with their retailers and being able to influence shoppers at the point of purchase. Retail media is very highly targetable and highly measurable.
11:54 Ben explores format and strategies that are delivering good results for brands in the UK and US markets. Two stand out: 1) The increasing delivery of real time performance data for onsite media in mainstream retailers. The availability of clearly attributable ROAS data makes retail media really compelling in comparison to bigger channels like TV, social etc. which are telling brands about awareness and desire. ROAS is far more meaningful figure to a commercial marketer 2) Developments in offsite media. This doesn’t have the same level of performance data as onsite media but it’s growing e.g., with Amazon DSP.
13:29 Mandy explains how brands should be looking to use analytics to identify the best opportunities and make the most of their investments. It’s key to understand all of the different levers available to promote one’s products within a specific retailer and tying them all together.
“In terms of the analytics, many of the critical methods allow for an almost real time understanding of which creatives and targeting is working. Brands can see where they’re being outbid by competitors and what adjustments are needed in real time. In addition to these real time analytics CPG brands can take a step back to ensure that they’re planning campaigns that meet all their objectives, rather than necessarily being led by the technology.” Mandy Critchley , Customer Success Director, e.fundamentals
17:38 Mandy highlights the key challenge for brands is understanding the impact of the role of their media versus their other paid for activities but it’s really necessary to ensure that all of the different elements are working together. There’s a lot of upscaling and collaboration between marketing and media agencies needed.
20:32 Ben considers two things challenging: 1) organizational design and whose responsibility is to run media campaigns resulting in lack of clear ownership 2) the idea of the classical marketing textbook that prevents an understanding of the opportunities of something like offsite, driving traffic to the page in order to drive sales.
22:17 Ben iterates some of the reporting problems or lack of transparency for brands. The old-school challenge of retail media is you’re giving some money to a retailer and then if you’re lucky, six months later, they might come back to you and tell you how well it did That’s changing but left bruises on CPG teams. Also, sometimes retailers will manage services where clients and their agencies don’t get to ‘look under the hood’ of what’s happening. Ultimately, the full potential of return media exists when all retailers aspire to provide transparent real time data.
25:37 Mandy and Ben are looking ahead to key opportunities for brands and retailers around retail media in the next 2-5 years. For Mandy, the key opportunity is about the extent to which retailers increase transparency, collaborate, and share their data. There is huge potential for brands and retailers to collaborate. Increasingly, both have sophisticated data lakes which will allow them to put together campaigns across retailer sites but also offsite.
Ben thinks we’re going see more retailers become more sophisticated. In terms of formats and in innovation, live stream shopping is taking off on Amazon in the US and in China. In digital commerce in general, the dream of greater connection between brand experiences and purchase will become tighter (e.g., via DTC and social commerce) . Finally, the advent of the metaverse and retail media will evolve in this environment.
31:25 Mandy and Ben share their one essential piece of advice for winning in retail media as a CPG brand. For Mandy the most important thing is to set a strategy and not to work independently across different marketing and media teams internally.
Ben suggests investing where the performance data is strongest. When you think about your brands, think about your business strategy, and choose partners that are really developing their retail media offers because all retail leaders are not creatively.
👋 People and references
- Nestlé Purina PetCare
- Tesco, Sainsbury’s
- John Lewis, Waitrose, Ocado
- Pacvue, CitrusAds, SKY