Retail Media Networks

Courtesy of Walmart

Note from the editor

After gaining traction for years, retail media is now generating billions in revenue for companies that can deftly spin their troves of shopper data into robust advertising networks. Driving the groundswell has been the acceleration of e-commerce under the pandemic and the looming deprecation of cookies, which has pushed CPG brands reliant on the digital ad-targeting tactic to look to alternative methods of engaging consumers.

At the same time, retail media technology is maturing and relying more on automation. Walmart is scaling up a demand-side platform, Kroger is implementing a private programmatic marketplace and Walgreens has its own data clean room.

As the space gets more crowded and complex, new risks rear their heads. Platforms are saturated with sponsored product listings that threaten to deprecate the user experience. Retail media networks have promised to break with the insular approach of established digital players like Google and Facebook, but some CPG brands just see more walled gardens in their way.

Below, Marketing Dive has collected the most substantial developments in one of digital's busiest categories, including:

  • Whether retail media network owners can avoid repeating digital marketing's past mistakes
  • Walmart's emerging lead among traditional retailers, with an ad business topping $2 billion
  • How agencies like Publicis are using M&A to capitalize on climbing demand for related services

As retail media's growth is unlikely to cool in the near term, staying up to date on these storylines will be crucial for marketers in CPG and elsewhere. Marketing Dive hopes this serves as a useful guide in the months ahead.

Peter Adams Reporter

Can retailers grab more CPG ad dollars without repeating digital media's mistakes?

While firmly in a boom time — U.S. spending on retail media doubled between 2020-21 — the category increasingly contends with saturation and bumpy transitions.

• Published Jan. 25, 2022

Kroger's new private programmatic marketplace courts CPGs with 'pre-optimized audiences'

Cara Pratt, of Kroger Precision Marketing at 84.51°, tells Marketing Dive about why the platform enables brands to use their DSP of choice.

• Published Oct. 21, 2021

Walgreens bolsters retail media network with self-serve programmatic, clean room

• Published Feb. 17, 2022

Publicis goes all in on retail media with CitrusAd buy

• Published July 19, 2021

Walmart's ad business hits $2B as automation plays larger role

• Published Feb. 18, 2022

Data marketing spend tops $29B in US as cookie deadline looms

• Published Jan. 24, 2022

Lowe's enters retail media fray as home improvement continues to engage shoppers

• Published Oct. 13, 2021 • Updated Oct. 13, 2021

The advertising transition to retail media platforms

Retail media is now generating billions in revenue for companies that can neatly spin their aggregation of shopper data into advertising networks. Companies like Kroger and Walmart are attracting CPG marketers that seek to closely tie advertising messages to the point of sale and tap into first-party data.

included in this trendline
  • Can retailers grab more CPG ad dollars without repeating digital media's mistakes?
  • Publicis goes all in on retail media with CitrusAd buy
  • Walmart's ad business hits $2B as automation plays larger role
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.