Why commerce media is evolving into a major opportunity for publishers

Retail media has graduated from the latest buzzword to one of the most significant industry trends. The sector is growing — and fast. According to eMarketer, U.S. digital retail media ad spending is projected to grow to $61 billion by 2024, making up nearly 20% of all digital spending. 

Most industry players understand what retail media is: ads placed on a retailer’s e-commerce site or branded app to influence the customer at the point of purchase. This model enables brands to boost their visibility on the digital shelf, similar to an endcap or special in-aisle display at a physical store. Retail media also links ad spend directly to digital sales, a metric becoming more desirable and challenging with the deprecation of cookies in ad tech. 

For publishers, as trade marketing dollars shift online, retail media opens new revenue streams, allowing them to monetize their valuable first-party data and audiences, and capture additional brand spend. This also creates an advantage for retailers, whose inventory is limited on their own sites — and it’s where commerce media takes center stage.

Retail media has spurred the rise of its bigger cousin, commerce media. 

At its simplest, commerce media focuses on the areas of the open internet where shoppers are commonly found. Whether they’re researching a product, comparing features or prices, or in a digital store, commerce media enables brands to reach shoppers. It expands upon the retail media model by including a broad network of publishers across the open internet, in addition to retailers. Commerce media also empowers non-retail and non-endemic advertisers to use commerce data and AI to more effectively engage audiences in all the places where consumers are actively researching, browsing and buying.

Publishers are also making progress toward being a point of discovery by marrying commerce and content, while retailers are making it easier to complete transactions via new commerce experiences on publishers’ sites.

Based on a recent survey by Criteo, 7 in 10 consumers enjoy reading articles on the open internet before making a purchase. This highlights an opportunity for publishers and retailers to extend brand discovery from Amazon and social platforms to the open web — particularly as publishers refine and increase their audience engagement by marrying content to audiences’ interests and commerce outcomes.

Retailers and publishers are converging for conversions 

Retailers and brands are interested in reaching their audiences wherever they are found, all while pursuing closed-loop attribution. To expand offsite and make this a reality, they need publisher partnerships. Some top retailers are already leading the way, announcing one-to-one opportunities with media owners with an extensive addressability data set that can help create closed-loop measurement in environments like desktop, app and CTV. 

As publishers and retailers take a fresh look at the user experience and identify ways to merge content and commerce, they’re also preparing to address each other’s needs. That includes scaling an addressable inventory, enabling measurement, providing media planning tools to manage audience overlap and contextual affinities and working with the right partners to help bring this full circle. 

Why publishers are the new drivers of commerce

If retailers are the new media owners, publishers will be the new drivers of commerce in the future. Content and commerce will continue to converge, with publishers creating more ‘see, click, buy’ environments. Innovative publishers will offer shoppable ads, sponsored listings and digital storefronts tied to retailers. They will bring more value to their own audiences, creating curated commerce experiences for their unique interests. 

In the end, all parties will benefit. Publishers get a piece of the growing retail media pie, retailers scale their offerings and consumers enjoy frictionless commerce everywhere. It’s all about driving exceptional commerce experiences, from awareness down to pre- and post-purchase, with the best experience possible. 

Sponsored by: Criteo