Retail Media Networks: An Advertising Alternative

Catrina P. Smith

You’re No Longer Your Store’s Primary Customer… The Brands You Buy Are.

As we continue looking at non-Facebook/Google advertising alternatives, an interesting trend has developed as retailers large and small have followed Amazon’s lead and launched their own Retail Media Networks. Retailers like Walmart and Dollar General, grocers like Kroger, and even surprise entrants like Lyft have launched and are now expanding their own Retail Media Networks (RMNs). A recent AdWeek report stated that 74% of brands have dedicated budgets for Retail Media Networks this year.

For brands selling into retail, this email doesn’t come as a surprise. Buying RMN inventory is often a critical bargaining chip when a brand is angling for larger orders, better payment terms, or an endcap within the retailer. The evaporation of clarity from Facebook and Instagram ads has only fueled the fire when it comes to reallocating budgets to Retail Media Networks.

So what are RMNs? Here’s a quick synopsis:

RMNs are digital platforms owned and operated by retailers giving brands coveted access to the retailer’s first-party data as well as a platform to reach the retailers customers via the retailer’s website, app, display network, or even connected TV in some cases. But more on CTV next week.

This is why, for many retailers, shoppers are no longer the store’s customers, but instead have become the product for brands looking to engage customers that have become harder to track across the internet after the iOS 14.5 update.

Should your brand be leveraging RMNs? If you sell into retail, RMNs are table stakes in Q4 and will remain an ad staple in Q4. RMNs, when used properly with great creative, storytelling, and a solid retargeting strategy, enable measurable increases in retail turns, which are the lifeblood to growth for any brand in the retail channel.

After all, you can’t rely exclusively on DTC. That’s why DTC brands are flocking to retail shelves after the pandemic. We’re betting that this is one trend that’s here to stay, and Retail Media Networks will play a critical role in those brands’ respective staying power.

Now, more than ever, Omni-channel is the way.

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