4 Tips for Media Planners and Buyers to Unlock Value With Retail Media Networks

All media planners and buyers observe three basic principles: targeting, reach and frequency. These principles are also embraced by retail media networks, which are becoming an increasingly important part of the retail ecosystem as they connect brands with consumers.

Here are four tips to help with retail media network planning and buying decisions based on media standards.

Know the retailer’s brand

Retail media networks are built upon the foundation of an established in-store and/or ecommerce retailer brand. Before making any media decisions, you should ask what the retailer says about their brand and how their customers shop it.

Insights into a retailer’s customer base and its brand purpose can be found easily on a company’s website, providing information into the reach and targeting of a retail media network. The number of customers a retailer receives weekly or annually is an indicator of reach, while its brand purpose will give you clues on targeting. For example, food and drug retailer Albertsons Companies says, “Locally Great, Nationally Strong.” This reveals the company has a national footprint but values localization. Therefore, you could target nationally but also consider geotargeting capabilities because they likely exist at scale, and it is part of the brand purpose.    

There are different ways customers shop brands which will determine how successfully a retail media network can deliver targeting and frequency. For example, how often do customers purchase and to what depth does the brand know its customers? A retail media network based on a specialty retailer may have depth in a category or, in media terms, depth in a behavior theme used for targeting.  However, specialty retailers may not have customers purchasing frequently within a given period.

While there may be some tradeoffs, in an ideal media plan you want to choose a retail media network whose brand sees its customer often and has depth to ensure targeting and frequency can be achieved.

Find powerful audiences based on customer actions

A retailer’s purchase data can inform behavior intent through actions, making a retail media network’s first-party targeting capabilities a key differentiator. For example, consider a mom with a career who works hard and values time with family and friends, especially during the holidays. This individual strives for perfection in planning meals, which is why she buys the highest-quality ingredients no matter the price point. Now imagine there are many shoppers with similar behaviors. A simple cluster of purchases can tell a story and inform future behaviors around valuing quality over price, especially during key moments.

Make it an omnichannel customer experience

You already understand the power of reaching a customer at the right time and place to drive purchase intent, and you know there are multiple touchpoints in the purchase journey. But what may be new is influencing customers the moment before they purchase at a physical or digital shelf, and the ensuing results.

A retail media network has all these placements available. It brings the omnichannel-customer shopping experience together by placing media within a customer’s daily online habits (websites and social media) and its own inventory placements (in-store, app and website) at the point of purchase. Retail media networks offer unique inventory, which should always be used to provide a full-funnel, omnichannel customer experience.

Test and learn to get the most out of your retail media network partnership

A strategic retail media network should build test-and-learn frameworks based on a brand’s priorities. The priorities are mapped to testing approaches against targeting, channel mix, frequency and messaging and can be applied to your larger media strategies. And only a retail media network can give you near real-time feedback on in-store and offline sales. 

Retail media networks provide significant opportunities and value for brands looking to identify and engage target customer personas throughout the shopping journey. And while it may feel like a new landscape for some planners and buyers, it should be reassuring to know the three key media principles still apply.