Retail Media Networks: Leading the ‘Always On’ Revolution in 2024
Programmatic advertising is transforming, with retail media networks (RMNs) leading the charge. RMNs leverage first-party data to gain a deeper understanding of their shoppers and maximize the value of programmatic advertising.
In the dynamic retail landscape, 2024 promises to usher in a transformative era with the ascent of "always on" retail media solutions. RMNs will enable advertisers to deliver uninterrupted ad experiences across digital and physical touchpoints such as social, email and in-store audio. This technology will improve personalization, dynamically generate content, and forge stronger connections with target audiences, reshaping how brands and consumers engage.
Digital Channels Integration
The power of “always on” retail media stems from its fluid integration across digital touchpoints. Each channel plays a valuable role in harnessing a unified, omnichannel presence to surround consumers with relevant branding and offers.
The key? Making disparate channels work together seamlessly, from the consumer experience to the behind-the-scenes infrastructure. Multitouch attribution modeling looks at each channel’s effectiveness, both individually and in concert, to best optimize the tactics within an omnichannel strategy. This unified approach enables channel-tailored delivery of consistent branding and messaging.
- Social media offers brands expansive reach blanketing platforms where consumers already spend significant time. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer tools like cross-channel tracking pixels connecting social ad exposure to site visits and purchases. This approach allows brands to build unified customer journeys and retarget consumers who engage with social content.
- Email marketing enables messaging aligned with individual interests and preferences. Email service providers integrate with CRM data for personalized subscriber profiles. Transactional purchase data can trigger behavioral-based emails (e.g., cart abandonment reminders). Content can also direct users to social media or site offers.
- In-store audio or digital displays build an immersive brand experience at the point of purchase. These platforms track impressions through foot traffic and in-store sensors. Retailers can use data such as demographic insights to optimize and personalize in-store experiences. Listeners exposed to in-store media can be retargeted later through digital and social channels.
Programmatic ad platforms consolidate ad serving across channels for a consistent brand experience. Customer data platforms centralize behavioral, transactional and engagement data and leverage real-time data to power personalization. Integrated content management supports branding consistency while enabling channel-specific customization.
Uninterrupted Consumer Engagement
The “always on” strategy offers numerous benefits. First, this advanced strategy ensures a consistent dialogue with customers. Brands can leverage real-time data analytics to tailor messages, promotions and experiences to foster a sustained, flexible connection that adapts to evolving consumer behaviors and preferences.
- Traditional campaigns are episodic, leading to gaps in exposure, whereas “always on” keeps the brand top-of-mind across channels to nurture familiarity and trust.
- Campaigns inherently interrupt consumers, whereas “always on” meets them where they are, fostering stronger connections and opt-in engagement.
- With access to first-party data, “always on” retail media serves contextually relevant messaging, generating higher engagement and conversion than broad-stroke campaigns.
- An integrated “always on” approach allows channels to work simultaneously, establishing a unified brand experience, which is more effective and powerful than siloed campaigns.
- “Always on” retail media corresponds to consumer signals and market changes in real time, while traditional campaigns are pre-planned and static.
- Multitouch attribution quantifies value across channels and the compound impact of an integrated strategy enabling continuous optimization.
- The “always on” model provides continual value — and uses resources more effectively — without the duplicated efforts of campaign cycles.
The inherently data-centric RMNs and “always on” strategy will thrive in the cookie-less world that's quickly approaching. Retailers will harness analytics to gain valuable insights into consumer preferences, embrace agility to adjust strategies in response to market trends, and champion a proactive, not reactive, stance.
Paul Brenner is the president, audio out-of-home and chief strategy officer at Vibenomics, an advertising and experience company that powers audio channels for retailers.
Related story: The Value of Retail Media Networks
With more than 25 years of experience in media & entertainment and technology leadership, Paul Brenner served in several c-suite roles including division President with Emmis Operating Company [NASDAQ:EMMS]. As President of NextRadio/TagStation his work focused on global innovation through FM Chip activations in all smartphones for audience measurement, improved in-car user experiences, and data attribution platforms for all broadcast radio. In 2019, Paul joined Vibenomics as Chief Strategy Officer to help develop the go-to-market strategy for the company’s first-to-market Audio Out-of-Home™ advertising solution. Following a successful launch, Brenner was promoted to President of Audio OOH to oversee all efforts surrounding revenue-generating activity and related partnerships.