Retail media is expected and on track to become the third and biggest wave of change in digital advertising, with as much as $1.1 billion in advertising spend to be transferred from traditional media owners to the likes of Woolworths, Coles and Amazon by 2027.
For retailers, this new wave of change presents an unprecedented opportunity to diversify the revenue base, boost sales, deepen partner relationships and improve customer experience.
Compared to traditional channels — and even social media apps and digital publishers — retail media programs have more and richer user data which will become increasingly important as the third-party cookie depreciates.
But how on earth can you get started with a retail media program?
Getting Started With Retail Media
Setting up a retail media network can take time as well as huge financial and human resources — something that not every retailer is blessed with. Fortunately, if you are considering building out your own retail media network or need to grow an existing one, help is at hand.
Microsoft Advertising has quietly become a leader in the world of retail media after launching a pilot version of its Microsoft Advertising Network for retail in January 2023. In fact, the network has grown to become the world’s largest retail media demand pool.
Retail media is no short-term bet though and, despite the hype around the technologies this year, it can seem as though it would take months — or even years — to get established with a revenue-generating retail media network. Teams across the Product, Engineering, Marketing and Sales functions need to be built and then work together to develop, onboard and grow any retail media program.
Then, you might find advertisers are hesitant to commit their budget to your network through no fault of your own. There are simply so many retail media networks available and advertisers have too little bandwidth to manage all of the different services.
Instead, retailers can leverage Microsoft’s ready-built demand, expansive ad supply and access to high-intent shoppers with its Advertising Network for retail. Ads formats across the internet — from native and search ads to display and CTV ads — can be leveraged to send high-intent shoppers back to you.
Why Retail Media Is An Unprecedented Opportunity
The advent of retail media networks presents a sea change for retailers. It offers retailers the chance to reach high-intent shoppers to drive measurable product sales — flattening the marketing funnel and increasing growth.
With the Microsoft Advertising Network for retail, retailers can expand their reach off-site and tap into new audiences across a range of different properties, including retailer’s websites, owned-and-operated properties like Bing and the Edge browser and premium publishers such as Yahoo! and the New York Times. These ads drive traffic which, in turn, drives more shoppers, leading to more sales and retail media monetisation opportunities.
Over time, advertising budgets are increasingly shifting towards retailers as brands look to capture the measurable results that retail media can deliver. The Microsoft Advertising Network for retail removes the hurdles associated with setting up a retail media program quickly and making it profitable. It also simultaneously gives retailers access to relevant advertiser budgets from Microsoft Advertising’s vast brand advertiser ecosystem.
”We’re excited to bring the full breadth of our advertising business to our retail media customers in APAC. The Microsoft Advertising Network for retailers is a great addition to our existing omnichannel retail media platform, allowing our retailer and brands to reach the customers they care about across our vast network of partners”, said John Harvey Faurholt, Director – Advertising & Retail Media Partnerships, JAPAC and China, Microsoft Advertising.
This shift in the way advertising, retailers and brands transact has been a fair while coming. But the seeds planted years ago by retailers are starting to germinate into revenue. If you feel as though you may be behind the curve — or need to accelerate your revenue drive — the Microsoft Advertising Network for retail is ready and waiting to help.
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