Walmart sets its sights on becoming a top-10 ad platform

Discussion
Sources: Walmart
Feb 01, 2021
Tom Ryan

Walmart has announced an “expanded vision” for its ad business that includes extending its internal ads across omnichannel practices, selling ad space on in-store checkout display screens and using its shopper data for ads on sites outside Walmart’s ecosystem.

Until now, Walmart’s ad push largely consisted of displaying ads on its website and app.

Walmart will rebrand its ad business from Walmart Media Group to Walmart Connect as it shifts its overall approach from traditional media to a “closed-loop omnichannel media company,” according to a statement. With the shift, Walmart is elevating its goal to becoming one of the top-10 advertising platforms in the U.S.

Walmart Connect will focus on three strategic areas:

  • Growing offerings across Walmart’s digital properties – Walmart promises holistic campaigns, including search and display media, across Walmart.com, pickup and delivery and the Walmart app, “putting advertiser messages right next to where customers are making purchasing decisions.” 
  • Introducing innovative in-store experiences – Walmart is now offering media activations on in-store TV walls and self-checkout displays, involving nearly 170,000 digital screens across more than 4,500 stores. Brand messages can be delivered with date, time and geographic specificity. Marketing options are also in the works around in-store experiences and sampling opportunities, such as the Walmart Drive-in and Halloween-themed Spooky Street. Walmart wrote, “These advancements make Walmart Connect one of the largest in-store activations and digital out-of-home ad platforms in the country.”
  • Expanding offsite media opportunities, at scale – A partnership with ad tech firm, Trade Desk, will establish a demand-side platform for advertisers by holiday 2021. Jeff Green, CEO, Trade Desk, said, “Marketers will be able to create much more refined, relevant and measurable advertising campaigns, which can be adapted on-the-fly to changing circumstances and real-time performance.”

The digital advertising market is dominated by Facebook, Google and Amazon.com. Walmart is counting on its insights into in-store shoppers to be a differentiator. Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer at Walmart, told CNBC, “If somebody sees an ad online and later buys that [item] in the store a day, a week, later, we can connect that together … which historically, advertisers haven’t been able to get.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which components of Walmart’s advertising revamp appear to offer the highest potential for brands looking to reach consumers? How confident are you that Walmart’s reach across its in-store and online shopper data can form the basis of a top-10 advertising channel?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Their omnichannel platform has the potential to be a top 10 ad channel considering that they are reaching 100 million shoppers every week."
"I am surprised they haven’t focused more attention on this previously."

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4 Comments on "Walmart sets its sights on becoming a top-10 ad platform"


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Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

Walmart has made great strides in bringing the flexibility of digital advertising into the physical space at a high scale that others will likely not be able to match. With the apparent flexibility of the platform, brands will be able to make more precise investments in this ad platform to support their brand needs and drive more sales at Walmart. I personally think that the flexibility of buying based on time, date, and geography with sound data backing it may be the most appealing aspect. Their omnichannel platform has the potential to be a top 10 ad channel considering that they are reaching 100 million shoppers every week.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

With the dramatic increase in online shopping, advertising on Walmart’s online marketplace and apps offers great potential for brand advertising. Expanding Walmart’s advertising platform and promoting the options to brands is a smart strategy and I am surprised they haven’t focused more attention on this previously. Walmart is a powerful brand with great penetration and a huge customer base which should make achieving a top-10 advertising channel level possible.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

This feels like a win-win for Walmart and the advertisers, and (if managed properly) for consumers. I do have some worry about the prospect of relentless retargeted ads following me around the store though….

Xavier Lederer
BrainTrust

It will be interesting to find out how Walmart will position itself on the trade-off between ad efficiency through micro-targeting and respect for their customers’ privacy. Another question is whether (and how) Walmart will share its revenue from online advertising with their customers (e.g. “Enable us to track you online in exchange for larger promotions”-type of offer).

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Their omnichannel platform has the potential to be a top 10 ad channel considering that they are reaching 100 million shoppers every week."
"I am surprised they haven’t focused more attention on this previously."

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