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Let’s Get Phygital! Winning the Digital Shelf: STEP 4 Retail Media

In today’s omnichannel marketplace, physical and digital touchpoints are more entwined than ever before, and consumers expect seamless shopping experiences and highly personalized messaging at all touchpoints along the path to purchase. But the elimination of third-party cookies change our ability to do this. Third-party cookies have been the main source of data for many digital advertising platforms, including Google Ads, which use them to target and personalize based on browsing history, interests, and behavior.


As of January 4th, sites no longer have access to third-party cookies for 1% of users on Chrome – 60% of the global browser market. And that’s just the start of the end.

Retail media can fill the vacuum created. With its higher-quality, first-party targeting data gathered at every touchpoint, every interaction leading to point of purchase, Retail Media Networks (RMNs) provide targeted ad solutions that can be adjusted in real time based on a shopper’s behavior. To realize effective performance here, though, you need to understand the challenges of the digital shelf. Unlike a physical store environment, where you’ve secured your shelf space, your endcaps and displays, there’s an endless digital shelf with endless competitor brands, all vying for the same shopper. In this vast and crowded environment, Retail media search strategy plays a critical role. When done right, on-platform search can help brands increase their visibility, drive traffic, and boost conversions on online marketplaces.

 

Retail media search allows brands to reach shoppers who are actively searching for products on eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Target.com, and Walmart.com, among many others. Retail media search ads are displayed across a variety of placements on a retailer’s website, including premium slots within the search results page and beyond.

The options, each with their own pluses and minuses, include:

  • Ad placements on a retailer’s Home Page. In high demand because of their high impact, these are the first products the shopper sees when entering the site. Have a trending item? A seasonable promotion or new product? This is a good place to be.

  • Product ads on a Category Page.This option can up your ad effectiveness, with your product in a relevant environment with opportunities to engage customers already interested in that category that may not be aware of your brand.

  • Ads on Search Pages.If you’re objective is relevance, this is a good option to consider. Sponsored listings or ads here are prompted by the shopper’s search terms, often appearing at the top of Search results.

  • Product Page ads.At this point in the process, you’re reaching a shopper with high purchase intent for a type of product. Ads here can take the form of complementary items, competitive options, or recommended products. Another effective option in driving to purchase.

  • Check Out Page ads.This is the last point of a shopper’s journey where ads can encourage users to consider additional products before completing their purchase. Great to upsell items across a portfolio as well as remind shoppers to stock-up on an item they may have forgotten.

 

To help get the most out of retail media search for your brand, following are some strategies and insights from MPG’s Director of OmniCommerce Media Colleen Mahoney:

 

  • Carefully consider your use of on-site ad formats.Retail Media Networks offer various ad formats: Sponsored Products (listings within search for relevant products), Sponsored Brands (Banner ads showing a collection of a brand’s items within search results), and Targeted Display ads (Banner ads that follow customers across the website, like on the homepage).


  • Which format works best depends on the objective, budget, and audience of the campaign.Finding the optimal mix that maximizes your return on ad spend (ROAS) and meets other important metrics may take experimenting with different formats to gauge their performance. For example, paid search ads can help brands target specific keywords and capture high-intent shoppers, while product listing ads can help brands promote specific products against their competitors and drive consideration and trial. Further, Display ads are available to capture the attention of targeted audiences and can be great for remarketing, driving repeat purchase and loyalty.

  • Prioritize customer experience.Retail media search is not only about generating clicks and sales, but importantly about creating a positive and seamless customer experience. Ensure that your brand’s retail media ads are relevant, engaging, and consistent with their product pages and brand identity. Monitor and measure ad impact on key customer experience metrics, such as click through and conversion rates, as well as repeat purchases. 

  • Leverage user-generated content (UGC) for better results.UGC, such as ratings, reviews, photos, and videos, can enhance retail media ads by providing social proof, increasing trust, and influencing purchase decisions. Studies have shown higher click-through rates (CTR) and lower costs per click (CPC) for ads with UGC than those without. 

  • Collaborate for a win-win. Retail media search is not a one-way street, where brands simply pay for featured placements and hope for the best. Rather, it is a collaborative and strategic partnership between brands and retailers, where both parties can benefit from each other’s data, insights, and resources. Brands should communicate and coordinate with their retail partners to align on objectives, expectations, and best practices.

 

  • Analyze reporting to measure ad performance.Retail media search is a data-driven and results-oriented form of advertising, where brands can track and evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns in real time. Use available RMN reporting tools and dashboards to monitor and measure various ad performance metrics, such as impressions, clicks, CTR, CPC, conversions, ROAS, new to brand metrics and attributed sales. Also compare and benchmark ad performance against competitors. Finally, use the data and insights from ad performance to refine and adjust and optimize campaigns outcomes.

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