Open Mic E-commerce Retail Media

6 experts on what’s changing in retail media



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May 29, 2024 | 5 min read

For The Drum’s Retail Focus, the IAB talk to their Retail Media Group to learn about the latest trends shaping retail media, from the pivotal role of measurement to the emergence of AI-driven storytelling.

A trolley against a yellow background (representing retail media)

Retail media is a rapidly growing channel increasingly loved by advertisers looking for precise audience-targeting, cut-through and conversions.

And with growth, comes change, as its success drives innovation and tech advancements. Here, members of IAB UK’s Retail Media Group break down the changes in the space to help you stay up-to-date and in-the-know.

What’s driving growth in retail media?

Measurement is indispensable

Jack Johnson (head of supplier services, Ocado Retail ltd): “For me, the driving force behind the interest and growth in retail media has always been, and always will be, around measurement. If you take a look at any of the retail media trends at the moment, you see measurement at the heart of it.

"I would call out examples such as: the use of retailer first- party data for targeting offsite, the movement of the digitalization of the in-store environment, and the idea of retail media attracting broader marketing budgets across an FMCG, because all of these are enabled by the ability of RMN's to measure and prove the effectiveness of existing and new marketing spend.”

High-quality, privacy-centric data

Hugh Stevens (managing director UK at LiveRamp): “The retail media boom is not just a shift from analogue to digital but a testament to its unique advantages. It offers a golden opportunity for brands with limited first-party data, enabling them to generate insights across a broader spectrum of media expenditure beyond just those activated through retailer properties.

"The market has abundant access to high-quality, relevant, privacy-centric data. The real challenge (and indeed opportunities) lies in harnessing this data to deliver insights, activation, and incrementality-focused measurement that can drive long term brand loyalty and sales growth.”

Retailers are embracing a different role

Rob Edwards (head of media & digital at Arla Foods): “A change in mentality, simply put retailers are beginning to act like publishers – it feels like a change in mindset, and we are now seeing retailers look to take on both IAB and ISBA rallying calls, which will bring clarity and consistency to the landscape.

"Numerous retailers are looking at brands as clients now and not suppliers, but this still needs more focus as the collaborative mindset will accelerate the impact of retail media further (supported by the simplification of data and measurement).

"Outside of the pure retailer slant, broader media channels buddying up and using retailer data has also added impetus to the growth.”

What are the most exciting developments in retail media right now?

New entrants, new strategies

Debbie Oates (head of customer engagement at Experian Marketing Services): “The most exciting developments in retail media right now stem from opportunities for data collaboration and audience curation. While major players have traditionally dominated the landscape, a wave of new entrants is now emerging, expanding media opportunities for advertisers beyond existing CPG networks.

"Smaller players may face challenges with scale and may lack access to a diverse set of first-party sales data. Nevertheless, there's a growing emphasis on data activation, with new entrants' keen to extend their audiences both onsite and offsite, targeting across channels like social, display, and connected TV (CTV).

"Curated audiences are a key opportunity here, allowing advertisers to fine-tune targeting based on contextual signals and build on this with broader consumer insights and demographic overlays.”

Towards 360° shopper journeys

Tom Priestman (director of client services at Nectar360): "The next phase of retail media is so exciting - moving beyond the focus on lower funnel outcomes within onsite environments, to fully-fledged 360 multi-touchpoint campaigns across the full shopper journey, from social and programmatic to in-store digital activations.

"This has traditionally been difficult to execute, but upcoming developments, integrations and platforms mean we’re now looking beyond the complex and manual to a scenario where we can be more precise, unified, and scalable - where brands can really embrace the opportunity to meaningfully drive their business outcomes."

Using AI for dynamic storytelling

Luis Martinez (UK head of e-commerce at EssenceMediacom): “In the retail and ad tech space, these key trends highlight the synergy between technology, retail, and marketing strategies: artificial intelligence (AI) and non-endemic partnerships.

"Automation enhances efficiency across retail media and business processes, allowing specialists to focus on strategic opportunities and adapt swiftly to market changes. It also uses AI for dynamic, responsive storytelling and brand engagement at scale in content and creativity. Using retail data insights, brands outside traditional marketplaces can target relevant audiences based on shopping behaviors, such as travel companies targeting customers buying holiday-related products on Amazon.”

Open Mic E-commerce Retail Media

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