Walmart has augmented its advertising technology prowess with the acquisition of Polymorph Labs in San Francisco, the latest in a series of moves designed to better position the retailer against online nemesis Amazon.
The bricks and mortar giant has been incrementally nurturing its own in-house advertising business called Walmart Media Group but it lags well behind Amazon’s equivalent operations, fueling a desire to scale through acquisitions.
Polymorph has developed a custom technology platform and high-speed ad server which will enable Walmart advertisers to better select their audiences based on past shopping patterns. Quickly distinguishing purchasers of apples and oranges while measuring whether advertising influenced sales.
Explaining the takeover via a blog post Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager of Walmart Media Group, commented: "We can help brands understand if someone saw their ad on Walmart's platform or across the internet, and then purchased the product in-store or online. No one else can do this at scale like Walmart."
Walmart remains coy about its total US ad revenue but Amazon itself is no blushing violet, with eMarketer estimating income of $3.3bn in 2017 alone – equivalent to a 4% share of the total digital ad market. On those trends the giant could grow further to $19.2bn by 2021 with an 11.2% share.
Last year Walmart completed its acquisition of Flipkart in a deal valued at near $20bn.