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Media Networks Beyond Retail: How to Activate Your Right to Win

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With retail media ad spend projected to reach $140 billion this year, companies outside of retail seeking new revenue streams have an opportunity to dominate the next wave of media networks. Where retailers carved out a unique ability to deliver closed-loop media measurement, large-scale businesses in verticals such as travel, sports, entertainment and delivery services can offer advertisers rich first-party data and exclusive behavioral insights into loyal, passionate and targeted audiences.

Media networks are a proven revenue model that retailers have dominated over the last decade. Companies outside of retail that are first-to-market with their own commerce media networks will be able to learn from retail’s rights and wrongs to scale fast and capture sizable shares of coveted advertising dollars.

It’s no wonder then that 55% of companies in just the travel and hospitality industry alone are interested in building media networks. By following the retailer playbook, companies with rich data sets can uncover powerful new insights that generate revenue opportunities, improve consumer understanding, deliver better customer experiences and forge new partnerships. But first, these companies must transform how they connect, activate and measure data to make a splash on the commerce media network scene.

Stitch Together Fragmented Data to Uncover Real-Time Insights

A critical first step for launching a commerce media network is unifying first-party data across business lines. With customer intelligence scattered across marketing, sales, customer service, product and other departments and applications, companies cannot understand real-time customer insights like order history, hotel room preferences, online habits and social activity. At a time when consumers will prioritize convenience and privacy over loyalty to a particular brand, having unified data to create personalized customer experiences is nothing short of critical.

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Adopting a consistent identity framework across the enterprise allows companies to bridge these data silos and reveal a more complete picture of their audience throughout the customer journey. This is especially powerful for conglomerates. Many hotel chains have been built off a series of acquisitions, not unlike global travel services with a portfolio of brands that follow many business models. Enterprise identity technology can connect dots across complex customer journeys hidden even within a company’s own first-party data, uncovering a granular understanding of consumers and freeing up more data to drive personalization and brand loyalty.

This powerful data foundation maintains rules that help preserve privacy and align with business priorities as the company grows. It’s also the bedrock for activating data, both in the commerce media network and across brands and publisher channels across the entire ecosystem.

Enrich Your Data to Grow Customer Intelligence

With their first-party data house in order, companies can shift focus to increasing scale by monetizing their data for advertisers in unique ways. The place to start is on owned and operated properties such as a website or app. But to achieve true scale, companies must be able to expand customer reach by enabling connectivity to a vast ecosystem of off-platform destinations.

This is true even for those businesses with robust amounts of first-party data. There will always be something new to learn about consumers from sources outside a company’s four walls. Consider filling in these customer intelligence gaps by working with a third-party data provider. This will widen the net of customer insights a company can use to attract more advertisers and showcase the power of its data.

For example, say a notable hotel chain has a large number of guests who order pizza for room service. By leveraging third-party data, the hotel may learn that many of these pizza lovers have kids between the ages of five to 12. By creating a more vivid view of its customers, the hotel chain can use this insight to attract advertising dollars from institutions like quick-serve restaurants, toy stores and amusement parks.

To retain and grow these advertising dollars in a commerce media network, companies will need to be able to deliver closed-loop measurement. Providing granular measurement, detailed campaign insights and recommendations for optimization is mandatory, so finding partners that can help close this loop and understand incrementality is essential.

Measure Across Channels by Collaborating with Partners

The ability to not only measure, but measure holistically, across platforms, CTV, social media and programmatic advertising in a privacy-centric way is critical for giving advertisers a comprehensive understanding of how their commerce media network investments drive ROI from multichannel campaigns.

This is why companies should utilize data collaboration technology that allows them to combine and analyze datasets in a more scalable, granular and privacy-centric way — and without relying on third-party cookies. Albertsons Media Collective and CVS Media Exchange are among the retail media leaders using collaboration tools such as data clean rooms to improve transparency into incremental measurement and sales attribution for CPG brands that sell goods in their stores.

This level of granularity is crucial for commerce media networks. For example, think of the dozens of companies involved in a traveler’s experience, from the luggage they use, their rideshare to the airport, the food they eat in the terminal and the entertainment they watch in flight. This presents a tremendous opportunity for partners to create a seamless, real-time customer experience across every touch point.

Only with advanced measurement tools can companies uncover the analytics needed to enable this level of real-time campaign optimization across their group of collaborators. Ultimately, this data-driven approach delivers a win-win value proposition for both the company and its customers.

Activate Your Right to Win

Brands have always been keen to get closer to consumers, but this opportunity has historically been provided only by retailers. With a new wave of commerce media networks on the horizon, companies with rich data sets have this same opportunity. The insights these businesses have go well beyond recognizing what someone buys, to understanding their lifestyle, preferences and the adjacencies that illuminate the whole person. This is the data brand advertisers want.

With the onset of advanced technology, now more than ever is an urgent opportunity to leverage the proven media network model the retail industry built to scale data from industries beyond retail, and for the first time, measure the efficacy of partnerships on a granular level.

Early movers will gain significant advantages in refining their strategies, establishing brand recognition and securing prime advertising dollars before their competitors enter the market. With commerce media networks, companies will be able to transform how they connect, activate and measure data, unlocking a powerful new tool to build their brand, grow their business and serve their customers with a significant competitive edge.


Lori Johnshoy is Head of Global Retail and CPG strategy at data collaboration platform LiveRamp. She is responsible for driving global acceleration plans and key performance metrics, including revenue, market penetration and new vertical-specific pathways for the company. Johnshoy’s two-decade career in retail includes working with some of the world’s largest CPG and technology brands to drive impactful outcomes and improve experiences for consumers. Notably, she spent most of her career at Target, rising to become head of sales and strategic partnerships. Johnshoy was among the founders of Target’s media network, Roundel, leading sales, strategy and transformation to drive revenue. Additionally, she led a sales team that drove $1B+ in revenue in 2021.

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