4 Predictions for Retail Media

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Retail media is among the hottest trends in adtech. The category is expected to account for as much as 20% of digital ad spend by next year. It seems as though just about every major retailer, including Amazon, Walmart, Lowe’s, and more, is getting in on the action.

The adtech company InMobi has a front-row seat to the action. The company is bringing its mobile DSP and SSP smarts to retail media, helping retailers set up media businesses and advertisers access them.

I spoke with Sarah Hughes, head of marketing at InMobi, to get the inside scoop on where retail media is heading. Here are four predictions for the space based on our conversation.

Retailers will try to become destinations, not just transactional platforms

Walmart will buy Netflix. Just kidding. 

But retailers are going to provide entertainment, whether in the form of actual recreational programming or engaging videos, to transform their sites and mobile apps into destinations where consumers linger. This will increase media exposure and the probability of incremental purchases. By transforming themselves into destinations, retailers will drive added value for advertisers and boost their own bottom lines. 

This is an area where InMobi is focusing as it aims to help retailers delight customers on desktop and mobile.

If retailers becoming entertainment companies seems far-fetched, have you heard of Prime Video?

Video will be a big part of retail media’s future

Video will be key to the future of retail media for a couple of reasons. First, as most in digital advertising know, video is an engaging format that helps advertisers grab the attention of shoppers scrolling through cluttered environments.

But perhaps more importantly, video offers a powerful storytelling medium that can help retailers entertain audiences and engage them beyond a transactional context. This will be key to transforming retail media into a full-funnel strategy — not just ads at the point of purchase but top-of-funnel awareness campaigns, too.

Brands will keep coming to retailers for their data

One of the major tailwinds behind retail media has been the surge in ecommerce during and following the peak days of Covid. Shoppers are spending more time online, and digital advertisers want to be there to greet them.

But the other major factor is privacy changes, and those are only picking up steam. Brands need first-party targeting options as third-party trackers such as the cookie and mobile identifiers fade away. Enter retailers, the new fixtures of the sell side. 

Retailers will need to avoid spoiling the shopper experience

Retail media is the darling of digital advertising, but it’s all fun and games until advertisements ruin the shopper experience, which is still the core of retailers’ revenue. As retail media grows, retailers will increasingly have to contend with shopper concerns that their stores are turning into sponsored product hubs.

Similarly, advertisers will question why they need to pay for top product placement. Isn’t producing a great product enough, or is retail media now a tax for the opportunity to stand out on the digital shelf?

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]