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CVS Media Exchange Moves to Standardize Metrics

CMX has implemented multiple enhancements to align with IAB’s set of industry guidelines for retail media and measurement.
cvs media exchange

CVS Media Exchange (CMX), CVS Health’s retailer media network, is making efforts to standardize its retail media, measurement and reporting capabilities, and offer more transparency to brands, as industry leaders form a landmark set of guidelines.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), in collaboration with the Media Rating Council (MRC) and participation from a slew of industry experts, finalized its set of guidelines (and recommendations) for retail media and measurement in January after introducing a draft of the guidelines in September 2023. 

CMX told the Path to Purchase Institute in a statement that it is the first health-and-wellness-focused retailer media network to measure and report attributed sales based on viewable impressions, as recommended in IAB/MRC’s guidelines. CMX implemented this just one month after IAB published the final set of guidelines.

IAB/MRC define a viewable ad impression as “a more accurate measure of an ad’s visibility, as it takes into account whether the ad had the opportunity to be seen by the user. According to the MRC Viewable Ad Impression Standard, an ad is considered viewable if it meets specific criteria. For display ads, at least 50% of the ad’s pixels must be visible on the user’s screen for a minimum of one second. For video ads, at least 50% of the ad’s pixels must be visible on the screen for a minimum of two seconds.”

[Also Read: Democratizing Retail Media Through OpenRTB]

CMX told P2PI that its efforts to align its measurement capabilities with the IAB/MRC standards focus on two key areas:

  • Reporting and Transparency (Section 5.3): This guideline recommends that providers must only attribute sales outcomes to a viewable ad and disclose whether attribution relies on viewability or extrapolation.
    • To align, CMX has upgraded its client performance dashboard, revealing sales attribution based on IAB-standard viewable impressions. Ad viewability is verified through MRC accredited vendors including Integral Ad Science (IAS) for offsite ads and Google Ad Manager (GAM) for onsite. CMX provides suppliers with access to attributed sales definitions and insights to help marketers better understand and evaluate campaign performance.
  • Attribution/Modeling Attribution to Extrapolate Unknown Data (Section 3.6): Acknowledging that not all media impressions can be linked to observed behavior (i.e., transactions), CMX partnered with the Trade Desk to address this gap.
    • CMX said this enables it to more effectively measure conversions, offering brands a fuller view of each campaign’s impact. CMX has also upgraded its client reporting dashboard to disclose which metrics the extrapolation is done through, and the percentage of attributed sales metric that has been extrapolated.

These capabilities are currently available to all of CMX’s CPG supplier partners through on-site and off-site channels.

“Our pursuit of innovation drives every facet of CMX,” said Parbinder Dhariwal, vice president and general manager at CVS Media Exchange. “We’re not just following the path, we’re blazing new trails and helping to lead the charge towards measurement transparency. In close collaboration with the IAB, we're helping to shape and deliver on industry guidelines to set the bar even higher across the industry.”

Dhariwal is one of 25 industry leaders recognized in P2PI’s second annual Retail Media Awards program.

CMX has been working with IAB and a coalition of other retail media networks to define standardization metrics and methods for measurement in the space and contribute to these guidelines. This serves as a “major step forward” for CMX and its supplier partners to more confidently understand campaign performance and optimize results, paving the way for others in the industry to approach measurement methodologies in a more consistent and clear way, CMX told P2PI. 

In the coming months, CMX plans to extend IAB’s guidelines across a set of measurement capabilities, including incremental return on ad spend (iROAs), new buyer metrics and online and offline sales breakouts.

"As the retail media landscape evolves, it's crucial that retail media moves toward implementing measurement standards that ensure transparency and consistency," added Jeffrey Bustos, vice president of measurement addressability data at IAB. "This commitment to standardization not only strengthens trust across the digital ecosystem but also enables comparability across retailers and platforms. Moving toward such standards is vital for creating a more accountable and reliable environment where all parties can thrive."

“While many brands are leaning into the retail media revolution, it’s been challenging from a media standpoint to manage fragmentation and differing buying and measurement standards across retailer partners,” said Jill Cruz, executive vice president, commerce strategy at Publicis Commerce and co-chair for IAB RMN measurement and standards committee. “As retail media networks like CMX evolve their media solutions to move up the funnel and develop best-in-class standards and measurement, this gives the industry an opportunity to compare them to other media channels as a relevant reach driver – in addition to a sales/conversion driver.”

This news comes after CMX joined forces with Pinterest and LiveRamp on data clean rooms. CMX is the first network in the health and wellness space participating in this initiative, which now allows CMX to provide partners with attributed sales on the platform for the first time.

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