Interactive Advertising Bureau
14 December 2021

Member Guest Post with The Trade Desk - Why Marketers Should Be Excited About Retail Putting The ‘Buy’, in Buy-Side

In this week's member blog post, we hear from Philippa Snare, SVP EMEA at The Trade Desk. Philippa is urging the marketers of 2022 to take notice of retail media and the recent developments that have created incredible opportunities for brands. She also shares some of The Trade Desk secrets to success!

Data has long been heralded as the oil of the digital economy - not only is it a hugely valuable resource, it also plays a key role in keeping the cogs of the online world turning smoothly. 

And within this world where data reigns supreme, there is a rising star - retail. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought vast swathes of consumers online to buy everything from tea to toothpaste, a behaviour change that research suggests is set to stay, with 49% of Brits saying that online shopping is now their preferred purchase method. As a result, advancements previously pencilled to take years have instead been condensed into months as demand soared. 

Before long, retail will be an advertisers’ bread and butter, sitting front and centre in their core arsenal alongside desktop, mobile and CTV. With that in mind, here’s a couple of things advertisers should know about this exciting new channel as we enter its biggest year yet.

Retail’s special sauce - logged-in users

One of the big developments transforming retail media is the move by key players to launch their own demand-side platforms (DSPs). At The Trade Desk, we have partnered with Walmart to launch its DSP earlier this year. With 150 million customers shopping via the company’s website, app and 4,700 stores, Walmart has an immense volume of unique insight into shopper behaviour. This launch is a key moment for the industry, paving the way for a future that many others will look to. 

One such player following Walmart’s lead is a little closer to home - Tesco. The UK’s biggest retailer just last month announced it is setting itself up as a media owner. Tesco not only has millions of Brits logged in to do their online food shopping but its proprietary loyalty card ‘Clubcard’ is used in 80% of all transactions. As a result, like Walmart, it has a vast pool of invaluable data on shopper behaviour, preferences and trends. In fact, in our recent ‘The Future of Retail’ report, in which we surveyed 5000 consumers and 150 brand marketers, a huge 81% of consumers reported having at least one digital account with a retailer - revealing the potential for other retailers, and advertisers. 

These developments mean that brands can leverage their own first-party data alongside a retailer’s insights, maximising their ability to both find new customers and reach existing ones at the right moment, in the right place. 

It’s particularly noteworthy that such offerings allow advertisers to access logged-in users outside of the walled gardens. Many of the retailers we are collaborating with are convinced that the value of their data is best realised on the open internet, not within the confines of walled gardens. It provides a safe environment for both brands and retailers to protect their most important asset - first-party data. 

Closing the loop

It’s easy to see why retail media is so appealing to brand marketers. As the vast majority of consumers now live as much online as they do ‘IRL’, retailers’ ability to link these two worlds has never been more important. Closed-loop measurement means advertisers can accurately measure the online and offline impact of their campaigns via in-store touchpoints. This is particularly valuable for legacy brands, who are now able to quickly pivot to the strategies direct-to-consumer brands have long utilised to disrupt the market.

76% of marketers we spoke to plan to use sales data either “frequently” or “very frequently” over the next year, for this reason. These insights - from both on and offline channels - are giving CMOs a clearer picture of how their campaigns impact consumer actions, with retail media providing connections that other channels can’t. 

Ultimately, it’s in brand marketers’ interests to get as close to the point of purchase as possible. Reducing the route marketers have to take between advertisement and purchase is vital to increasing the efficacy of ad investments and making every penny of spend work as hard as possible. Doing this at scale is a marketers’ utopia. 

Many savvy marketers are primed and ready to hit ‘buy’ on the retail opportunity. For those that aren’t, we’d say now is the time to check out this exciting new channel and all it has to offer. From where we’re sat, 2022 looks set to be a big year for retail media. 

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