retail media networks

LiveRamp on the State of Retail Media Networks

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Lori Johnshoy is head of global retail and CPG strategy at data collaboration platform LiveRamp, which she joined in September 2022. She is responsible for driving global acceleration plans and key performance metrics, including revenue, market penetration, and new vertical-specific pathways for the company. Johnshoy spent most of her career (nearly 22 years) at Target, rising through the ranks to become head of sales and strategic partnerships. She led a sales team that drove $1B+ in revenue in 2021. She spoke with Street Fight to weigh in on the direction of retail media networks.

What is the next sector wave for retail media networks to emerge?

Travel, hospitality, and entertainment are verticals that have rich behavioral insights, and the majority of their customers are authenticated users who want to be “known” by the brand in exchange for discounts and member-only offers. This built-in loyalty and premium inventory not only serve as a differentiator for companies but optimizes marketing spend and is sought after because of the personalization and engagement. Think of checking a rideshare app to see when your driver will arrive and being offered advertising relevant to your destination. Or, when walking into a hotel, local restaurants entice you to dine. In addition to relevancy, placing these ads on a network’s owned, and operated assets is highly profitable, more cost-effective than buying media externally, and serves as a differentiator for partners.

How can retail media networks adapt to evolving consumer shopping behaviors, such as The Fresh Market’s retail media network that offers shoppable ads during a retailer’s live stream broadcast?

The pandemic left retailers with a newfound urgency to fulfill shifts in consumer shopping behaviors by testing channels and strategies. Retail media networks are investing in voice commerce, staff-free cashier-less stores, and the selling of digital goods.

How does AI help optimize digital campaigns to ensure there aren’t any retargeting miscues?

Many retailers brought in AI through the evolution of their recommendation engines and the creation of experience-centered analytic teams responsible for creating more accurate personalization and offer packages.

AI is needed at the retail media network level to deliver more value for their network clients. The initial use has been in enhancing client reports with more sophisticated predictive elements and increased recommendations based on comparative evaluations of placement and pricing choices.

With a 40% growth in retail media sales last year, the metric everyone is trying to grow is the percentage of ad sales to GMV (gross merchandise value). A key strategy to do this is to prove both media effectiveness and ease of execution to network clients, especially with direct and simplified recommendations on how media should be placed over an increasing number of properties. For example, Walgreens Advertising Group can offer more than 20 digital platforms. AI is critical for retailers to leapfrog the decades of insights that the large walled gardens have developed for increasing their internal media performance. Retailers are now learning these same skills with the help of AI to scale across properties and audiences.

What should companies in travel, hospitality, and entertainment consider before launching a media network?

They need to be able to answer some key questions:

  • Scale: Does my company have enough data to scale and grow the media network?
  • Market Demand: Are we fulfilling a need for an advertiser?
  • Is our audience unique and differentiated enough to drive that demand and provide key campaign performance results and insights to drive the revenue flywheel?
  • Privacy: Have our consumers consented to their data being used in a privacy-conscious way for advertising? Infrastructure: What is our plan around build vs. buy vs. rent, staffing, and hiring talent, and how can we succeed in a crawl, walk, run approach?
Kathleen Sampey
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