What's Going on with Retail Media Networks?


Retail media networks (RMNs) are popping up everywhere – and brands looking for growth across the customer journey are joining, eyeing a bigger piece of the pie at the bottom of the funnel. But what exactly do these RMNs bring to the table?

According to eMarketer, some networks provide detailed and valuable insights into shopper behavior, allowing companies to tailor and personalize ads for optimal results, ultimately serving as an additional revenue stream. This led to a notable 30% surge in CPG brands collaborating with 10 or more RMNs since 2022. With the rising interest in this sector of retail media, organizations who've dabbled in the space have struggles to effectively navigate RMNs and harness their full potential.

As longtime advertisers with a collective 40+ years' Amazon experience – we have some thoughts.

1. Avoid Data Silos

When pursuing your omnichannel goals, be cautious about introducing another data silo into your organization. Silos are notorious for stifling innovation, wasting resources, overlooking sales opportunities, and disrupting the customer journey.

Troy Bullock, Associate Client Services Director, Marketplace:

"In my experience with Amazon DSP, the actual sales lift a brand sees is not accurately measured by attributed ad sales alone. It take a combination of metrics and data. But, brands with the capital to invest in retail media seem to have the most 'silos."


The benefits of consolidating data silos outweigh the risks, even if it entails sharing data with you agency patterns. Consider sharing access to CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and tools that unify channels for a holistic customer view. This process requires a shift in mindset from the brand and constant, proactive communication from the agency.

2. Build an Integration Strategy for Your RMN Data

Simply having a retail media strategy isn't enough. You need to plan for how that data will impact the wider scope of your business. A comprehensive data strategy for how you'll view all metrics across all platforms – from RMNs to Google ads to email to CRM to DTC website, etc. – will show you a clearer picture of how your customer experiences your brand. This gives you insight on where you should focus to tighten up the experience, invest more resources, as well as tactics that might make sense to deprioritize to truly see an omnichannel sales lift.

3. Test and Learn, Learn and Test

You'll never land on the right strategy right away, and once you do find a strategy that works, technology and platforms are always changing. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try. But it does mean that a test and learn approach – intentionally experimenting, collecting, and analyzing results to make data-driven decisions – is the smartest move.

That's not to say balancing the need for strategic innovation with operational stability and consistency isn't a challenge. Look for partners who test, learn, and discern what works and what doesn't by swiftly and efficiently making decisions based on your data and not only industry trends. 

So, are Retail Media Networks Worth It?

Aaron Yelton, Associate Director, Marketplace:

"As with any new or growing marketing vertical, the dollars spent may not follow the trend line, but it will eventually level-off once enough data is collected and brands pull back when the return isn't there."


Navigating the future of retail media is a challenging journey for brands, particularly with the increasing popularity of RMNs leading to shifts in the marketing and data landscape. The uncertainty of when to stop adding them or when to keep going to attain their full potential leaves companies at a crossroads.

In the dynamic world of advertising, RMNs offer unique pathways for brands to connect with consumers. But in the end, to see true return, it comes down to data. Make the choice to invest in Retail Media Networks only if you're willing to eliminate data silos, incorporate a holistic data measurement and analytics plan, and scale strategy intelligently based on data.


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