North America State of the Retail Media Industry Study: Commissioned by Criteo and Conducted by Forrester Consulting

Updated on December 9, 2021

Now, more than ever, brands are adapting their advertising strategies to better reach consumers and provide value. Retail media is one avenue that has opened the door for consumer product marketers to have more control over, and visibility into, their retailer marketing spend. However, many marketers lack a comprehensive retail media strategy and are instead over-indexing on ad spend within retail media walled gardens. To truly level the playing field, brands and retailers must work together.

To learn more about the emerging retail media space, Criteo, the global technology company powering the world’s marketers with trustful and advertising, commissioned Forrester Consulting this past July to survey 115 North American consumer product marketing decision-makers. The goal was to uncover the obstacles preventing brands from optimizing their retail media strategies and the actions brands must make to take control of their retail media destinies. Below is a snapshot of the key findings.

To learn more, download the report, Consumer Product Brands: It’s Time to Take Control of Your Retail Media Destiny.

Performance Matters: Retail Media Drives ROI  

Performance is front and center in consumer product marketers’ priorities, and Criteo’s research indicates that retail media delivers. According to our study, marketers are seeking digital media channels that allow them to reach consumers throughout their buying journeys—79% of respondents said they are looking for channels that reach high intent shoppers at the digital point of sale. Access to consumer insights is also crucial for success, with 77% of respondents citing they plan to leverage first-party data to optimize their campaigns.

With retail media, brands now have a key opportunity to truly influence high intent shoppers by leveraging retailers’ first party data and purchasing data to personalize the online shopping experience in brand-safe environments. Retail media has also proven to be a strategic investment for savvy brands because it delivers on critical performance KPIs. 79% of respondents shared that their companies have seen an increase in ROI or ROAS due to retail media.

Brands Want to Reduce Walled Garden Spend and Reliance

Consumer product brands are increasing their retail media spend as the solution has proven to fuel performance goals (e.g., ROI, sales revenue, customer acquisition). However, much of these investments are going toward walled gardens, and marketers often do not know what ROI to expect as they diversify spend across multiple retailers. According to our research, 75% of marketers are over-indexing on ad spend within retail media walled gardens, and 80% of respondents want to decrease their dependency on them.

Marketers need to beware of over-spending within walled gardens to maximize their retail media advertising reach and engagement with consumers. The ability to buy and manage campaigns via self-service tools, however, will be essential in moving this sector away from walled gardens.

Dedicated Leadership and Education is Needed

Optimizing and incorporating retail media into a wider advertising strategy requires dedicated leadership and education, yet 62% of respondents say there is no clear owner of retail media strategy within their organization. Marketers often struggle to understand how much budget should be allocated to this solution, but with the proper education and leadership, brands can move the retail media needle forward. 84% of respondents said they would allocate even more budget to retail media if they better understood and could explain the value proposition for doing so.

To support this education and bridge the gaps within retail media, marketers need dedicated leadership focused on driving a cross-retailer marketing approach. Given that they’re advertising with an average of 20 online retailers, 83% of those surveyed do not want to be forced in a position where they must work across numerous platforms in order to manage multi-retailer campaigns. In addition to being able to manage cross-retailer campaigns in one platform, consumer product marketers want access to first-party data across the open web (76%) and insights to understand how their campaigns impact consumer behavior throughout the buying journey (81%).

Budget Reallocation Is Upon Us

With 76% of those surveyed saying that the growth of their businesses depends on retail media advertising, now is the time for brands to understand how to optimize their retail media strategies and reduce their reliance on walled gardens. The good news is that more consumer product brands plan on reallocating existing marketing dollars to retail media, which is indicative of their increased understanding of the ROI and value that this emerging solution provides to marketers.

In fact, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents are moving more of their marketing budgets to retail media beyond walled gardens, signaling a shift in the marketplace. This proves that marketers are starting to understand how retailer-ad solutions deliver more effective returns that other digital display media and paid search, often pulling from social, display and search to fund future retail media investments.

Brands and Retailers Must Band Together

With the recent rise of e-commerce, brands and retailers across North America have united during this trying time to deliver relevant, useful shopping experiences for consumers who need to access specific products and services quickly. The ideal path forward is for brands and retailers to continue to work together strategically to level the playing field with retail media walled gardens.

Brands must evolve from passive suppliers to active retail business partners, and retailers must leverage third-party platforms and consultants to ensure their solutions provide the attribution, transparency and self-service capabilities that brands demand. As more retailers offer media platforms, brands will inevitably welcome increased digital advertising competition. But by optimizing with retail media, brands can engage with consumers in more meaningful and measurable ways, and ultimately have more control over their own destinies—a win-win for all.

Download the report, Consumer Product Brands: It’s Time to Take Control of Your Retail Media Destiny.

Ann Pyle

Ann revels in finding the simplest and clearest way to convey a thought. Her favorite word is 'moxie', which she tries to embody whenever possible. She's been developing content strategies and writing for the tech and B2B space for more than a decade. This, along with her SEO and advertising agency ...

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