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How can publishers benefit from the retail media boom?

  • Luke Fenney
  • 5 min read

Retail media continues to grow rapidly, with GroupM forecasting that it will grow 9.9% in 2023, and surpass television’s share of advertising by 2028. With many retailers enabling their owned-and-operated inventory, open web publishers must be creative to capture their share of growth driven by retail media networks. Retail media should be an enormous opportunity for the open web as it enables incredible amounts of new data to be connected to addressable open web impressions. 

Retail media is here to stay

You may have seen the IAB UK’s recently-released definitions for the retail media field, or its 101 guide to retail media.

As a quick refresher, retail media networks (RMNs) are the platforms and tech infrastructure that retailers own, which offer advertising opportunities for brands via permissioned access to shopper data, as well as specific ad placements on-site and across the digital ecosystem. Beyond the traditional offline channels, retail media networks include retailers’ website(s), apps, and any other digital properties, as well as new onsite ad placements, and any new formats invented specifically for these retail media networks. 

Within the region, a key example is Boots (Boots Media Group). Boots Media Group packages onsite, programmatic, and social paid media, enabling brands to target audiences based on Boots’ Advantage Card loyalty data – all managed by the BMG team as a one-stop shop. 

Retailers’ key selling point is how well they know consumers. As the critical link between brands and consumers – as well as the owners of the interaction that matters most to brands’ bottom lines, the conversion – retailers hold massive data assets which can be leveraged by the brands on their shelves to fuel brand marketers targeting retail customers. For example, advertisers can benefit from a “closed loop” attribution where they advertise across third-party sites and platforms, and measure customer purchases through the retailer’s channels.. 

How can publishers capture more growth in retail media spend?

As marketers look to increase their spending advertising in retail media networks, they’re often 

As RMNs continue to increase their share  of the global ad market, publishers need to ensure  they’re able to capture their fair share of ad budgets from retailers and CPGs moving forward. Despite the crowding of the field – and retailers competing for publishers’ share of spend, publishers already have the most valuable answer for how to remain relevant and continue capturing their share of advertising spend.

Publishers need not feel excluded from RMNs

While discussions of RMNs immediately conjures retailer + brand marketer collaboration for many, publishers can also create value using RMNs by leveraging their relationships with consumers to enhance brands’ insights and improve business outcomes. Publishers’ deep and valuable insights into consumers’ interests can help to enhance or verify audiences, for example, readers of sports publishers, or readers of travel publishers. Marketers can layer these insights across their retailer data to find the most valuable audiences for them.

Finally, as these consumers convert, publishers can leverage RMNs to access retailer transactional data to showcase how effective their media is at driving incremental sales.

choosing between on-site, off-site, and in-store channels. By making their inventory as valuable and addressable as possible, publishers can capture increasing amounts of off-site advertising spend.

The first, and most critical step, is enabling first-party authenticated inventory. Authenticated inventory is the gold standard: it’s what’s helped the walled gardens to capture more than 60% of digital ad spend, and now RMNs are poised to benefit. Leveraging authenticated identity gives marketers the ability to leverage people-based marketing – marketers targeting real people, and using first-party data to maximise engagement and personalisation.

Once you’ve enabled authenticated inventory, it’s all about courting your audience. That is, brand marketers. Ensuring that your authenticated inventory is available programmatically gives marketers from CPGs and retailers another way to buy it, maximising the value of your inventory by enabling flexibility and fitting into your buyers’ plans in more ways. 

Another tactic to capture RMN budgets is to  create specific ad products or placements for retail media that leverage your authenticated audiences.

Additionally, while many RMNs only allow endemic retailers to run on-site advertising, as the ecosystem grows more sophisticated with its data collaboration, non-endemic brands may soon benefit from using RMNs’ data for better audience targeting on their off-site marketing.  As this surges in popularity, publishers must be able to offer marketers the ability to activate on their data, and engage in people-based marketing to reach the right consumers.

Steps that publishers can take to get ready

Deploying a solution that leverages authenticated identity will handle:

  • The trusted, transparent value exchange where consumers provide their first-party data in exchange for free content, continually deepening the relationship.
  • A connector or identifier that enables authentications to work across all channels, all browsers, and all devices, enabling people-based marketing to real consumers, while also ensuring that authenticated audiences will continue to be addressable beyond signal loss like third-party cookie deprecation.
  • Inherent sustainability from enabling planning beyond signal loss, encouraging marketers to make you a part of their advertising strategies for 2024 and beyond.

Once publishers have selected an identity solution, they’ll also need to make their authenticated inventory available to marketers buying through retail media networks. The right authenticated connectivity solution should enable flexibility for marketers to buy however they want – whether that’s programmatically or directly, through open exchanges, private marketplaces, on every browser, and more. For example, LiveRamp’s authenticated connectivity is integrated with more than 16,000 publisher domains, as well as 165 demand-side platforms (DSPs) and supply-side platforms (SSPs).

Publishers should also continue to fine-tune identity implementations by testing and learning from the authentication strategies that are working best.

Transformative results available today

While marketers may see RMNs as the new must-have inventory, publishers shouldn’t feel like they’re out of the picture. Authenticated connectivity gives publishers the ability to offer what should be considered the new premium inventory, and a tool for them to continue levelling the playing field and recapturing more of marketers’ ad budgets.

To learn more about LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution, and start your transition to authenticated audiences, reach out to [email protected]