Retail Media Report Card: 4Q 2023

The Mars Agency presents a universal tool for the effective assessment and comparison of retail media platforms.

Download the report here.

Welcome to the fifth edition of The Mars Agency’s industry scorecard.

The first step in refreshing the introduction to our quarterly Retail Media Report Card is always the same: Find the latest forecasts to see how much more ad spending is expected to grow since the last edition.

GroupM now expects global spending to reach $125.7 billion this year. If true, that might make the prediction from Morgan Stanley of $130 billion by 2025 included in the Report Card’s last edition a little low.

Regardless of how big the outlays already are or how quickly they’ll grow, retail media is now universally recognized not only as a uniquely essential method of commerce marketing but also an effective vehicle for any form of brand marketing because of its ability to deliver truly targeted audiences and directly measurable results. It’s either the first “full funnel” marketing medium or proof positive that the purchase funnel has finally collapsed, depending on your point of view.

The list of potential network partners continues to grow, giving brands an array of choices about where and how to spend their money — and since budgets aren’t growing along with the opportunities, they’re scrutinizing their options closely. In response, networks are working more closely with brands to earn those dollars by improving their capabilities and developing unique points of differentiation.

Brand organizations are therefore tasked with developing a strategic understanding of how retail media can best be leveraged to drive incremental growth, which retailers will provide the greatest opportunities for success, and what specific media investments will be most effective at achieving the desired impact.

They also must learn how to align their retail media activity with the rest of the commerce marketing plan, which can improve success not only through more seamless shopper engagement, but by fostering greater internal efficiency across functions. This level of organizational understanding is critical to future success.

Despite the skyrocketing forecasts, brands can’t risk wasting any of their limited dollars by investing in platforms or programs that can’t meet their specific business objectives or don’t measure up to industry standards.

To help our clients efficiently evaluate their spending options across the expanding and evolving landscape of retail media networks, The Mars Agency developed a scorecard that assesses the capabilities of leading platforms across the key criteria required to optimally plan, execute and measure effective programs. We use this scorecard — alongside broader assessments of each network’s role in the overall brand-retailer partnership — to help clients begin identifying “best bet” investments for their media dollars.

To encourage the development of industry standards for effective evaluation that can improve the collaborative process between retailers and brands, The Mars Agency is sharing an abridged version of this scorecard publicly each quarter.

The latest edition of this Retail Media Report Card evaluates 14 leading platforms across 65 criteria in five critical performance areas: Audience Targeting, Measurement & Reporting, Media Opportunities, Innovation, and Partnership. Coverage includes one-page profiles of each network to add greater context to the evaluations.

In other news, we just launched the first-ever Retail Media Report Card: Europe, which analyzes nine leading networks in the UK, France and Germany. Coupled with our Australian Retail Media Report Card, the European version gives us globe-spanning coverage of this increasingly crucial area of commerce marketing.

Download the report!

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