Article: 5-min Read

Driving retail media innovation: Self-service, standardization, and tech enhancements.

Guthrie Collin

VP of Product at Roundel

In a recent session during Advertising Week 2023 in NYC, I led a panel with fellow digital media leaders, including Amman Badlani, Executive Director & Head of Search at GroupM; Melissa Burdick, Co-founder & President of Pacvue; Michael Greene, SVP of Global Vertical Strategy at Criteo; and Karthik Yemmanur, Head of Product, Ad-Tech and Commercial Capabilities at PepsiCo eCommerce. We discussed growing self-service platform trends, highlighted progress in retail media standards, and shared predictions about the industry’s future.

The evolving retail media landscape.

Given its continuous evolution, we all agreed that it is truly an exciting time to be in the retail media industry. Michael highlighted two key dynamic areas that are driving “the integration of retail media with the rest of media.” First, he explained how retail media bought programmatically will quickly expand to CTV, in-store, and other possibilities across the media solutions mix. And Michael observed that the second area will be data collaborations, since “at the end of the day, brands need closed-loop measurement and attributable targeting across everything they do.”

An example of retail media’s integration with other media is offsite offerings. Amman touched on the importance of self-service options for offsite solutions, including search that utilizes first-party retailer data in a privacy-safe way. Amman predicted that retail data-driven offsite search will take off within the next year and become a major line in commerce by 2025.

Data collaborations in retail media are not just focused on activating data in media. Karthik commented on how brands are seeking more data analytics to enable hands-on-keyboard media experts to optimize for bigger end goals, such as improving e-commerce outcomes with data that keeps supply chains, finance, and marketing tactics beyond ads also on-track.

When Melissa stated that brands are leaning heavily into retail media next year because “it’s so highly measurable,” she grounded our discussion on a key fact about the space. In 2024, we will continue to see ad spend shifts into retail media, which Melissa predicted will drive further innovations beyond our discussion’s focus on the changing media mix and increased data collaborations.

Addressing industry growing pains.

Our Advertising Week panel also dove into the challenges of industry growth, centering on the IAB’s recent retail media study. The study found that 69% of ad buyers surveyed identified that buying process complexity is one of the top challenges they face investing into retail media networks (RMNs).1 Over 40% of study respondents also believed that the RMN buying process can be improved with standardization of metrics and measurement guidelines, including increased line of sight into campaign and sales performance.1

We all agreed that standardization can help brands better plan across channels and retailers, enabling them to make more informed decisions on their media. With the market seeking greater standardization, most of the panel (Roundel, Criteo, GroupM, and Pacvue) collaborated on the IAB/MRC Retail Media Measurement Guidelines, promoting consistency and greater transparency for advertisers.

Amman described how having greater transparency with metrics makes it easier for brands to understand where their ad spend is going, since “it reduces confusion across the board, and less confusion equals more opportunity for major growth.” Additionally, Michael touched on the partnership between Criteo and Integral Ad Science (IAS) to integrate third-party measurement for greater transparency for advertisers. Michael stated their joint goal was to “make it easy for our partners to go and make all their digital inventory compliant with these industry standard metrics that are going to be essential for the growth of this ecosystem.”

To achieve further innovation and standardization, our panel agreed that the industry must prioritize this key concept: strong collaboration between retailers, tech companies, and media partners to build something that is innovative and ultimately adds value to the consumer.

Roundel is also collaborating with leading third-party measurement and verification partners such as DoubleVerify to ensure standardized guidelines are met. These close collaborations between industry partners work to promote clarity and provide significant benefits to advertisers.

The importance of self-service innovation.

Rapid growth is pushing the industry to innovate. Our panel cited that the self-service revolution is key to meeting advertisers’ needs by further empowering brands to design performant media experiences. Karthik highlighted the significance of efficient self-service capabilities that brand media experts can use “to optimize, build, and manage their campaigns to scale in record time.” He noted that self-service tools enable brands to easily optimize their campaigns for sales while also providing advertisers greater flexibility to manage these campaigns. This is especially important as brands navigate a fluid environment and macroeconomic changes.

RMNs must meet advertisers’ needs by providing increased transparency and control, and Roundel is no exception. Roundel’s new self-service hub, Roundel™ Media Studio, is  a continuation of our focus on providing brands with the best media management solutions available. Brands can go to Roundel™ Media Studio to activate, manage, and report on their Roundel campaigns, starting with Target Product Ads, our sponsored product ads offering.  

This new platform brings the capabilities that advertisers expect, including automatic and manual keyword targeting and visualization data for reporting. The product team expects Roundel™ Media Studio’s greater visibility and media management capabilities will drive stronger campaign performance. In the future, more of Roundel’s ad solutions will be available in Roundel™ Media Studio, further empowering advertisers to create holistic omnichannel media strategies across Target and Roundel.

Melissa described that brands are excited for self-service because it “democratizes the ability for all brands and agencies to leverage self-service.” She also shared how unlocking holistic strategies drives the industry forward, further emphasizing the need to provide advertisers with the right templates, workflows, and tools for transparency and consistency in the ad buying process.

Learn more about Roundel™ Media Studio here.

Guthrie Collin

VP of Product at Roundel

Guthrie Collin joined Roundel in 2023. In his role as VP of Product at Roundel, he leads a talented product team that designs, delivers, and evolves innovative, AI/ML-infused digital ad experiences. The Roundel Product team aims to connect Target guests to trusted brands in respectful ways.

Prior to his work at Roundel, Guthrie developed expertise in data science, ad technology, and digital product strategy by launching new digital media revenue streams for Amazon, Nielsen, The Associated Press, and Dow Jones (publisher of The Wall Street Journal). He’s co-created four patented inventions and earned his MBA from NYU Stern.

Further Reading

Reducing buying complexity: The push for greater standardization
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The importance of a curated experience amidst constant change.
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Learn more about the Roundel™ Media Fund, one way we’re championing BIPOC-owned businesses.
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1IAB Retail Media 2023: Operational Strategies to Meet the Growth Potential