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Why curation can unlock retail media


Ad Tech Ecommerce
Ad Tech Ecommerce

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Terry Hornsby, Group Digital & Innovation Director & EVP at Mantis, urges advertisers to take a curated approach to reach their target audiences across increasingly crowded retail media networks

The retail media network explosion of the last few years won’t have passed many advertisers by. Globally, it is the fastest growing channel, with a 21.8% increase in forecast spend this year alone. This equates to around £110 billion of spend that was committed to retail media – by 2025 this figure is expected to be £130 billion.

This is unsurprising considering the benefits that these networks can bring to advertisers, especially with the cookie set to disappear. Advertisers gain access to the granular first-party data that retailers have on their shoppers in a privacy-secure fashion, unlocking a treasure trove of insights. With consumers already in a shopping mood when they reach these sites, ads are also less intrusive and gain an increased contextual relevance.

With the potential for advertisers to reach consumers with such precision at scale, it is no wonder that global retail giants such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target Roundel have all established their own networks. As more networks emerge and advertisers commit further spend into these environments however, retail media networks will start to become increasingly crowded. As this happens, brands and agencies will need to start asking themselves what they can do to stand out and return value through these networks.


Opening up the offsite

Retail media networks are becoming more than just a selection of ad slots within a retailers’ network. Instead, they are opening up into a world of offsite opportunities thanks to partnerships with publishers. Two-thirds of publishers (69%) have said that they will prioritise retail media in the next 12–18 months, with 83% looking at embedding products on their web pages.

As publishers and advertisers look towards a cookieless world these networks offer a revenue opportunity that is too good to turn down. For advertisers, these partnerships combine the reliability and safety of retail media networks with the reach of the open web. Consumers benefit from these relationships by being served more relevant and targeted ads without unwillingly giving up their data.

This opening up of retail media to off-site ad slots is clearly a positive for every part of the advertising ecosystem.


A curated approach

While retail media networks will be looking to partner with premium publishers to ensure that advertisers can access brand safe and high-quality ad slots, ensuring that ads are highly targeted to your audience could still be a challenge. This is where curation will be a key asset to marketers.

Curated ad inventory divides web pages into niche categories depending on the audience that an advertiser wants to reach. With AI-enabled brand suitability tools able to read the exact sentiment of a page, these premium ad slots can be more effectively classified so that advertisers utilising a retail media network are reaching their audience with great precision.

As more spend heads towards retail media networks and these networks begin to expand, off-site publisher ad slots will become an increasingly powerful way to gain campaign reach while still maintaining the brand safety and targeting efficiency that retail media networks offer. However, the key to maximising both spend and reach will lie with curation of these premium ad slots. By embracing tools that can more effectively classify web pages, advertisers will be able to better reach their target audience across a retail media network.

By Terry Hornsby, Group Digital & Innovation Director & EVP


Mantis is a Brand Safety and Contextual platform built by Reach PLC and powered by IBM Watson.

It is the most powerful and precise approach to brand safety and contextual advertising that is available today.

Posted on: Thursday 6 June 2024