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How brands are making the most out of their customer’s journey through retail media advertising

With the incremental growth in the ad volumes for retail media advertising, there has been a spurt in the ad spends of brands on e-commerce platforms owing to the easy availability of concrete data and other things on top of traditional advertising mediums, as per various ad industry professionals

While brands have been leaving no stone unturned to build on the LTV and gain an understanding of the consumer journeys out of advertising on both traditional and new-age mediums, there are many players who tend to take the route of retail media advertising on e-commerce.

This can be solely on Amazon, owing to the gigantic amount of data and preference that is enjoyed by the e-commerce major, or even a combination of several other players such as Flipkart, Nykaa, Meesho, etc.

Notably, FICCI Media and Entertainment Report 2023 also touches upon how the share of retail advertising has increased by 10% to reach 49% ad volume in 2022. Taking this into account, BestMediaInfo.com reached out to a mix of marketing and advertising fraternity members to gain an understanding of what is fuelling this incremental ad volume and find out as to whether or not is it leading to increasing ad spending as well.

Anshita Mehrotra

In the views of Anshita Mehrotra, Founder, Fix My Curls, because one of the main objectives of the brand is always about reaching new customers, getting them into the product funnel, retargeting them effectively and having them try the product, the brand’s retail strategy always focuses on growing the current pool of customers to make it the biggest it can be to teach more customers about the niche segment by always building on awareness and top of the funnel customers.

“The key metrics we focus on are ROAS, which is the return on ad spend, this number is always aimed to be above 2 and an optimum of 3 as overall for all channels in a month. That means for every rupee we spend, we want 3 back! The other metric we look at is the CAC, which is the cost of acquiring a consumer. This number relies heavily on your margins and the quality of the ad to be on the lower end and positively affect your sales. We also look lastly at the hook rate per ad, so if a customer watches more than four seconds of our ad, we consider it to be a good ad with a decent hook that can drive sales!” she said.

She also went on to add that when resorting to retail media advertising, one can creatively test multiple ads, campaigns, and types of media in hours and understand if the audience relates to it without spending more than 2000 rupees.

“Back in the day, traditionally advertising on TV or billboards was a hefty expense that gave you no data and only gave you visibility. Concrete data is probably the most helpful feature of retail advertising that is easily available to everyone but with a cost. From the location, pin code, age, and preferences of a customer, today you can understand them better than before and not have to guess. We aim to leverage this by keeping a closer eye on repeat customers rather than just the new ones at the top of the funnel,” she stated. 

Shanu Jain

According to Shanu Jain, Vice-President- Media and E-commerce, dentsu Creative India, the YoY growth of retail media advertising has been more than 10-15% owing to more people eventually getting added to the e-commerce ecosystem. What has happened with the incremental penetration of the internet is that the retail contribution hasn’t gone down, but there's a spark that's coming on e-commerce largely.

“Some of the main brands that exist in India across categories like tyre, auto, FMCG, etc. the market on the ground has not grown a lot as opposed to the e-commerce piece because all their online channels are where they are selling it right now. Owing to this, there has been a lot of growth in the ad spends on e-commerce, unlike Meta and Google which have registered minor degrowth,” he said.

Rajat Khullar

As per Rajat Khullar, Chief Business Officer, Bevzilla, retail media advertising offers several advantages over traditional advertising mediums, some of which include allowing precise targeting and personalised messaging to specific audiences based on their browsing and purchasing behaviour on e-commerce platforms which further enables them to reach consumers at the right moment and thereby increases the likelihood of conversion. 

“Retail media advertising provides detailed analytics and insights, allowing brands to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and optimise their strategies accordingly. The objectives we seek when utilising retail media advertising on e-commerce platforms include driving online sales, increasing brand visibility and awareness, enhancing product discoverability, and maximising ROI by leveraging the platform's unique targeting capabilities and data-driven approach,” he said.

Further, he also pointed out that in order to leverage e-commerce platforms effectively, Bevzilla has adopted a granular-ly targeted approach that focuses on reaching relevant audiences who are likely to be interested in the flavoured coffee brand and then leverage the platform's demographic targeting options to reach consumers throughout India, and interest-based targeting to connect with coffee enthusiasts which allow the brand to tailor its messaging and promotions to specific segments, driving better engagement and conversion rates.

“Implementing retail media advertising on e-commerce platforms brings benefits such as precise targeting, measurable results, increased brand visibility, and improved conversion rates. However, challenges include ad saturation, ad fatigue, and ad blockers. To address these challenges, we focus on creating engaging and relevant ad content, optimising campaign frequency, and exploring creative formats. Through these data-driven insights, we are able to establish a competitive advantage through a deeper understanding of our audience, enhancing campaign effectiveness, and maximising ROI,” he added.

Kartik Khanna

According to Kartik Khanna, Co-founder, The Starter Labs (Zoo Media Group), it’s really a no-brainer that brands have increasingly invested in retail media advertising, both in and out of e-commerce platforms, for they recognise the potential of reaching consumers during their journey as customers, at the time of them being closest to taking the next step in that customer journey.

“Retail media advertising offers unique features to brands in terms of reaching and engaging with their target audience compared to traditional advertising channels. Contextual relevance, customisation to a degree we have not seen before, data-driving optimisation, and seamless integration makes it easy to see why every brand and agency are vying for this competitive advantage,” he said. 

Further, he also went on to add that with the incremental ad volume growth in retail media advertising, clients or brands are continually upping their spends owing to the growing adoption of the same and its potential to offer high access to data-driven insights, which when leveraged - refine the targeting strategies, tailor the messaging and optimise efforts to generate data-driven insights that allow brands to make informed decisions and achieve greeted impact.

“Categories such as consumer electronics, fashion and apparel, and beauty and personal care are the front runners when it comes to leveraging retail media advertising. In fact, Home and Kitchen generally spend more on retail media advertising because of the potential for direct sales conversion within the retail environment,” he stated. 

Moreover, dentsu Creative’s Jain also went on to point out that while direct conversion may not be possible for marketers as they don’t know when the need is, e-commerce platforms definitely provide for assistance in this sphere as that's where audiences come and searching for a particular keyword, post which they are subjected to multiple advertisers who have placed their bid on that keyword with an aim to showcase their products and build on awareness and recall.

“If you look from an overall targeting parameter point of view, it is a functional marketing that advertisers have started planning when it comes to e-commerce which is why a lot of brands today limit themselves to only and only spend on Amazon because they also understand the cost to reach out to certain amount of people that they're paying to Facebook or Google, and the data that comes from it which is highly refined,” he stated.

Some of the major challenges that marketers face when opting for retail media advertising on e-commerce include difficulty in remembering the ad campaign and not being able to keep the consumer to the brand for the long run since there is a lot of price comparison, he said.

“To address that, if you look at it from a media mix point of view, they will have to find more placements where they can actually make the brand along with building unique brand integrations and not the passive ones as well as identifying certain events which are extremely high in terms of recall,” he suggested. 

Striking a similar tone, The Starter Labs’ Khanna also touched upon some of the issues that brands could potentially face with this stream of marketing, which include limited targeting options, ad placement and clutter, data privacy and protection, etc. 

In his views, these can be minimised to an extent by working closely with retail media platforms to leverage their capabilities and the additional insights the platform has to enhance targeting precision.


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