Will RMNs Be the Go-To Solution for Retail Advertisers This Holiday Season?
The holiday season is a bustling time for retailers and advertisers alike, as each year we all ramp up our strategies to capture the attention and wallets of eager consumers. Retail media networks (RMNs) are the new kids on the block, touted as the next big thing. While RMNs offer immense value, they aren't poised to replace traditional retail advertising and other established channels entirely — especially not this holiday season.
The Appeal of Retail Media Networks
Undoubtedly, RMNs have gained traction for good reasons. Imagine this: your ads, displayed directly within retail platforms where folks are already in a buying mood. As consumers navigate online stores, RMNs use real-time data to serve up ads that are directly related to user behavior and preferences, arguably enhancing the likelihood of conversion.
Limitations? Yes, They Have Them
Despite the advantages, let's not go all-in just yet on RMNs. These networks are pretty much retail-specific, meaning they typically operate within the walled gardens of specific retailers. Therefore, your well-crafted ad for kitchen gadgets? It's only singing to the choir of a particular store's shoppers. If your target audience doesn't frequent that retailer, your reach is stifled.
The Enduring Relevance of Cookies
Cookies have been the backbone of online advertising for years, offering a way to track user behavior across multiple sites and not just within a single retailer's domain. Cookies give us a panoramic lens, not just a keyhole view like RMNs offer. While third-party cookies are facing extinction due to privacy concerns, first-party cookies and alternatives like persistent ID solutions (e.g., UID 2.0, RampID) are rising to the occasion, ensuring that cookies and cookie-like technologies will continue to play a pivotal role in retail marketing going forward.
A Balanced Approach: The Best of Both Worlds
Think of your campaign as a well-balanced meal. RMNs are the delectable dessert, but you still need your meat and potatoes — that's where cookies and persistent identifiers come in. And let's not forget the side dishes: programmatic ads, contextual targeting, and dynamic creative optimization. Together, they make for a full, satisfying feast. Employing cookies or their alternatives allows for broader reach and a more comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior.
The Bottom Line
The allure of RMNs is undeniable, and they will undoubtedly continue to grow in significance. However, they're not a one-size-fits-all solution and certainly won't be replacing traditional programmatic advertising anytime soon. A well-rounded, multilayered strategy is your best bet. RMNs can dazzle, but cookies and other strategies give you a fuller, richer story to target shoppers based upon.
So, this holiday, let's welcome RMNs to the table, but let's also raise a glass to cookies and other tried-and-true targeting methods. After all, in this fast-paced, ever-evolving game, adaptability isn't just a nice-to-have — it's a must-have.
Andy Houstoun is the chief commercial officer of Crimtan, a proven cookie-less solution for reaching your perfect audience.
Related story: What Makes a Best-in-Class Retail Media Network
Andy has over 20 years’ experience delivering successful digital propositions, including at e-commerce provider Venda and Swiss-made watch brand Larsson & Jennings. Prior to this he was part of the founding team at Tesco.com. As CCO at Crimtan Andy oversees the Commercial Services Division, covering the client services, creative and analytical functions.