The retail media industry is continuing to surge forward, with a projected US spending of $45.05 billion in 2023, surpassing connected TV (CTV) and quickly approaching traditional TV.

In 2023, retail media is predicted to grow by over 20% for both this year and the next, reaching $55.35 billion in 2024. In contrast, US TV ad spending will decrease by 7.7% to $62.42 billion in 2021 and remain stagnant until 2026. Although the retail media forecast ends in 2024, if the current trend continues, retail media will likely exceed TV by approximately 2025. Even if retail media growth slows to 12% in 2025, it is still expected to surpass TV that year.

To comprehend the correlation between retail media and TV, it is essential to assess the source of retail media budgets.

A March 2022 study by Boston Consulting Group and Google estimated that around 60-70% of retail media expenditures in 2026 will be “net new to retailers,” with the remaining funds stemming from existing retail revenues such as trade budgets, sponsorships, events, and promotions. The growth of digital, shifts from other digital channels, and a transition from traditional spending (especially TV) will drive the “net new” spending.

One of the main reasons for the shift of ad dollars from linear TV to retail media is due to the entry of some of the most significant retail media networks into the connected TV space. Amazon has been able to accomplish this through its ad-supported video content, which includes its exclusive license for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football franchise and its ad-supported streaming service, Freevee. Other retailers are achieving this through partnerships, such as Walmart with The Trade Desk and The Kroger Co. with Roku.

As these ventures continue to generate returns, retail media networks are poised to receive an influx of funding from traditional to connected TV, a trend that has been evolving for years and shows no signs of abating.

WTF is retail media? 

Good question.

Retail media primarily refers to advertising on retailer sites and apps, typically by brands that directly sell products through those retailers, although this is not always the case. Non-endemic brands from verticals such as financial services or travel, for example, may also engage in retail media advertising to tap into the retailer audiences, even if they don’t sell their products on the retailer’s site or app.

Through retail media, brands can increase their visibility on the “digital shelf” by utilizing native and display ads, much like how physical stores have endcaps or special in-aisle features. These ads can appear on the home page, category page, search page, or product detail page, effectively reaching customers at different stages of their shopping journey.

Why is retail media so dope?

There are a few good reasons:

  1. The surge in ecommerce is driving retail media. With more consumers shifting their purchases from brick-and-mortar stores to online marketplaces, brands are keen to ensure that they have a presence where the action is happening. This has led to a growing interest in reaching high-intent shoppers at the point of sale through their retail partners’ websites and apps.

  2. Personalized advertising remains crucial post-cookies. According to Loretta Jordan, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Criteo Retail Media, personalized advertising will remain a critical aspect of advertising, albeit with a greater reliance on first-party data. Retailers are in an excellent position to target consumers using first-party data, resulting in a sales-based measurement environment since the transactions occur on the retailers’ websites.

  3. Retail media connects advertising spend to sales. The ability of retail media to attribute sales is particularly appealing to brands, which are increasingly seeking to link their advertising expenditure directly to sales. Retailers have access to extensive sales data and can provide sales-based insights, allowing brands to tie their expenditure to ecommerce sales at the individual SKU level. Some retailers even offer offline sales data, which provides a more comprehensive view of the customer journey.

What do you say?  Time to take a look at retail media, or nah?

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