Survey: Walmart Ranked Most Promising Retail Media Network

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It pays to be popular. As the retail media space continues to grow, and more retailers launch their own media networks, advertisers are being forced to make tough decisions about how they allocate their budgets. In addition to the heavy-hitters, like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, advertisers are looking at the hundreds, if not thousands, of smaller retail media networks now flooding the landscape, including those from Albertsons, Best Buy, and Instacart.

How — exactly — brand advertisers are making decisions about where they spend their budgets is a question that’s being asked industry-wide. The question helped lead to a recent survey by the global technology firm Lotame, where researchers asked more than 200 marketers on their views of brick-and-mortar and digital retail networks. 

With retail media ad revenue on pace to surpass TV by 2028, researchers from Lotame set out to look at current marketer sentiments towards retail media networks. 

They found that in the brick-and-mortar category, Walmart led the pack with 36% of marketers indicating that Walmart’s media network appears the most promising. Walmart was followed by Target (at 15%) and Costco (at 12%). Best Buy and Ulta also emerged on the list, with 5% each, while Sam’s Club and Lowe’s each garnered 4% of respondents’ favor.

On the digital media side, Lotame found that outside of Amazon, eBay was recognized by marketers as the most promising digital retail media network. eBay was followed on the list by Etsy, Uber, and Instacart.

“These findings offer a valuable perspective for advertisers, retailers, and marketers alike to refine their strategies and tailor their efforts to the most promising platforms,” says Fred Marthoz, vice president of revenue and global partnerships at Lotame. 

While Walmart may be seen as playing second fiddle to Amazon in many regards, that doesn’t diminish the company’s significance in the retail landscape. Lotame Spherical Chief Growth Officer Alexandra Theriault says Walmart’s ability to be seen as more cost-effective and flexible with its customers — including both consumers and brands — may be a key factor in understanding how the company is managing to maintain its competitive edge in the retail media space. 

Many marketers today see Walmart as providing better access to brand data and ensuring a seamless experience for advertisers. With a remarkable $2.7 billion in ad spend for 2022, Theriault says the company’s success is evident to anyone who’s paying attention.

“Their high customer loyalty, diverse range of brands and products, and the ability to stand out in the market are crucial elements that contribute to their continued growth and distinction, much like their competitor Target,” she says.

Theriault hopes that Lotame’s survey results illuminate new opportunities for marketers to find their next best customer. In particular, she says the promise eBay has shown stands out.

“They’ve adapted and iterated over the years from what once was a second-hand marketplace for old baseball cards to opening doors to a significant new revenue stream on top of product sales,” Theriault says.

As the retail landscape evolves, it’s likely that understanding consumer preferences and perceptions will be key to driving continual growth and meaningful engagement. The ability to access a brand’s first-party data and implement addressable campaign targeting are also expected to move up the list as even higher priorities for marketers in the coming years.

“They are willing to disrupt their typical buying practices, sometimes even paying a premium or higher CPMs to access audience data that represents their existing or prospective customers. However, the limited inventory sources and high demand mean this may not always be the most cost-effective line item in a marketing plan,” Theriault says. “Still, marketers understand the value of leveraging this data and are willing to invest, but they also need to carefully weigh the cost-effectiveness against other available options in their overall strategy.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.