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EnsembleIQ’s Path to Purchase Institute ‘State of Retail Media’ Research Reveals Top Networks, Aggregators, Third-Party Sellers, SaaS Platforms

Report identifies most popular providers, tactics that deliver the best ROI, and what capabilities are needed to execute effective campaigns

EnsembleIQ’s Path to Purchase Institute, which serves the needs of brand manufacturers, retailers, agencies and solution providers in the commerce marketing industry, unveils The State of Retail Media research report, in collaboration with Criteo. As retail media networks experience rapid growth, this research reveals the top players across the landscape, highlighting the companies leading the way in retailer media networks, media inventory aggregators, third-party media sellers and SaaS platform providers.

The report was produced in conjunction with EnsembleIQ Research Solutions, which creates custom and sponsored research for thought leadership, and EnsembleIQ BrandLab, a full-service strategic marketing and creative agency for retail, consumer brands and omnicommerce solution partners.

Seventy-eight percent of marketers surveyed said they work with at least one retailer media network, and of that group, 79% are working with at least three or more individual networks. For those who work with networks, 57% said they worked with Amazon DSP, and 52% said they worked with Walmart Connect. Other leading networks called out were Kroger Precision Marketing (46%), Target’s Roundel (43%) and Instacart Ads (43%).

“Our research shows that leveraging retail media networks is essential for a brand to thrive, but other tactics such as in-store media/signage and traditional media remain critical, and marketers must adapt their strategic roadmaps for this new age of media,” said Eric Savitch, VP and Brand Director, Path to Purchase Institute. “This research will help Path to Purchase Institute members to benchmark their execution planning against emerging trends among peers as they develop and fine-tune new strategies.”

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Additional findings:

  • When it comes to ranking the value of retailer media network assets for marketing goals, 42% of respondents said on-platform was most valuable, followed by off-platform and integrated assets (each selected by 29% of respondents). When asked which delivered the best ROI, 59% chose on-platform, while 21% said off-platform and 20% said integrated assets.
  • Seventy-seven percent of respondents work with media inventory aggregators (a single point of contact that buys inventory from multiple retailer platforms for the purposes of reselling).
  • Beyond aggregators, 96% of respondents said they worked with third-party media sellers (media providers that are not part of the retailer’s media network and do not have access to the retailer’s first-party data) and most indicated they worked with at least six of these companies. The top players cited most by respondents included Facebook (54%), Ibotta (46%), Instagram (45%), Google (45%), TikTok (38%), YouTube (34%), Neptune Retail Solutions (34%) and Pinterest (32%).
  • Half of respondents said they worked with a SaaS (software as a service) platform provider. Pacvue (25%), Perpetua (16%), Marin Software (13%) and Skai (13%) were the providers named most often.
  • The most important capabilities retailer networks need to offer to deliver an effective campaign include targeting options (77%), data sharing (57%), closed-loop measurement (43%) and goal-based optimization tools (39%), according to respondents.
  • When asked about the most challenging aspect about working with a retailer media network, 25% of respondents indicated data and reporting as the leading obstacle. They added cost/ROI, lack of consistency, processes/communication and minimum spend requirements as other challenges faced most often.
  • When asked if they thought retail media has become the new slotting fee, 64% of marketers said yes.
  • Eleven percent of respondents believe that metaverse buys will be part of retail media by the end of 2022, and another 62% said they will be in the next two to four years.

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The State of Retail Media research report was fielded online during May 2022. Respondents were CPG and durable goods professionals who were either leading or working in roles for a CPG or durable goods manufacturer that includes branding, marketing or advertising.

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