The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

November 29, 2022 | 8 min read

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Experts from Criteo, Kantar and Wavemaker discuss how marketers can join the dots between retailer data and demand by embracing a new tech architecture based on commerce data. Watch the full session now.

Meet experts from Criteo, Kantar and Wavemaker discuss how marketers on The Drum TV

Criteo, Kantar and Wavemaker discuss how to unlock commerce data on The Drum TV

Retail media is one of the hottest topics and growing areas in media today – but when brands and agencies look beyond traditional retail channels and integrate commerce data across the open internet, there’s room to almost double its potential into a $180bn revenue opportunity.

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First it was search, then social, and now we’re in the next wave of digital media. According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), retail media is set to account for over 25% of total digital media spending by 2026, growing by 25% for the next five years to reach $100bn.

As part of The Drum’s Media Summit 2022, leaders from Criteo, Kantar and Wavemaker joined a discussion on ‘Powering agency success in the next wave of digital media’ to share insights, inspiration, and advice on how to unlock the power of commerce data by embracing new audiences, tech and media owners.

Joining the dots between retailers and demand

The size of retail operations is driving the scale of data – with retail data addressing some of the biggest challenges that marketers face right now: from cookie deprecation prompting the need for new ways of targeting, to closing the measurement loop by connecting ads to sales.

It’s a win-win-win-win situation – a win for agencies because it’s a privacy-first solution in a brand safe environment; a no-brainer for advertisers who can see if an ad at the point of sale has closed a transaction; a new revenue stream for retailers; and an unobtrusive ad format for consumers.

Indeed, that is backed up by research from Kantar which found Amazon to be the most popular ad platform globally. The key attraction being relevance, explained Jane Ostler, executive vice-president, global thought leadership, Kantar: “The targeting and creative is deemed appropriate not intrusive. Being relevant is important for consumers and that’s what retail media can do.”

Meaningful connections at scale

It’s not just retailers turning into media owners but media owners becoming retailers, leading to a broader discussion around the terminology and thinking behind its potential.

“Commerce media is much more of an umbrella term encompassing the wider opportunity of using commerce data to buy across multiple channels,” said Natalie Firth, head of agency UK, Criteo. “When we look at these two trends together, it’s interesting to see that commerce media is a much broader opportunity.”

“The value of retailer data is rising and we’re seeing retailers become much more comfortable using their data in everything from digital OOH to CTV to off-platform display activations,” added Mudit Jaju, global head of e-commerce, Wavemaker. “Fundamentally, retail platforms are built to sell stuff, not advertising, but being able to use that data in clever ways is how we can sell advertising and create those meaningful connections at scale.”

A new media buying approach

Throughout the discussion, the panelists touch on where retail media spend is coming from, the internal education piece, how it fits into a modern multimedia campaign and the importance of measurement.

“A modern multimedia campaign is massively fragmented and so the challenges of effectiveness and measurement get more complex,” said Ostler. “You must test and learn. For clients experimenting in these areas, having a program of measurement and effectiveness is super important to be able to apply the learnings to the next campaign.”

The integration of channels is going to become critical, added Jaju, noting that having a learning agenda is key for the CMO to be able to see how their largest sources of investment and growth can work together rather than in isolation.

That’s why we need to get out of siloed thinking of what retail media is and look at what it can be, added Firth. It’s not just a performance channel. There are broader opportunities with commerce data – for example, diversification in different channels and non-traditional retailers like Marriott and Deliveroo joining the space.

The cross-channel opportunity

Organizing data around the omnichannel opportunity will draw the best out of commerce media. Most transactions are still taking place in-store but the real value will come from knowing how to connect that with the online environment.

Imbuing advertisers and agencies with the confidence to embrace this requires more standardization of measurement and attribution. Joining up the dots between retailers and demand and consolidating into one platform is an important step in unlocking the full benefit of cross-channel, first-party data led advertising.

That requires a rethink on how to look at success in a long-term way, said Jaju: “Being very clear about the long-term impact and moving away from a short-term metric like ROAS to incremental profitability is where it starts really getting traction and will start solving meaningful business problems.”

“Think beyond retail media to what commerce data can do,” concludes Firth. “If you start incorporating commerce media on the open internet in your retail media campaigns as well, this moves from a $100bn opportunity to a $180bn opportunity.”

You can tune in to watch the full session here.

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