Ulta Beauty is the latest retailer to launch a retail media network, aiming to tap into the growing pool of ad dollars flowing into closed-loop systems as marketers look beyond search engines and social media in preparation for a cookie-less future.
Ulta’s new offering, which the retailer first announced in late 2021, is called UB Media and promises to offer brands “addressable advertising” opportunities to reach its community of 37 million Ultamate Rewards members.
Retail media is expected to capture approximately $100 billion in ad spend by 2024, according to projections from McKinsey & Company, and retailers are increasingly jumping in to get their piece of that growing pie — in fact, every one of the top 10 retailers in the U.S. already has a retail media network in place. The draw for brands is that retailers can offer a direct-line connection between ad spend and actual purchases.
“UB Media harnesses the power of our unmatched, first-party data from our 37 million loyal members to transform the way our brand partners can connect with beauty lovers,” said Brent Rosso, VP of UB Media in a statement. “No one knows the beauty industry and its audience like Ulta Beauty. Our new offering reinforces our ability to engage guests where, when, and how they want to connect, with hyper-focused advertising efforts in a dynamic ecosystem, and further elevates our position as brand partner of choice.”
UB Media will build on Ulta’s existing Digital Marketing Partner Program to provide brands with more opportunities to connect with its consumer base through an “enriched” portfolio of ad products and channels. At launch, the network offers advertising access via offsite display, videos, social and influencer as well as onsite sponsored and display products on Ulta Beauty-owned properties. The company said that it plans to roll out additional advertising formats in the future. Brand partners using UB Media will have access to closed-loop campaign-level reporting, including audience and creative insights.
Rival Sephora appears to have a similar strategy in the works — the company was seeking a Senior Director of Retail Media earlier this year with the position tasked with developing Sephora’s own retail media solution.
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