Walmart Connect has been ranked "best in class" out of 14 retailer media networks evaluated in the fourth edition of The Mars Agency’s “Retail Media Report Card,” published in September.
It's the second time the agency has named a “best-in-class market leader” — the network that possesses the most “industry leading” capabilities that brands need to build effective retail media campaigns. Amazon Advertising was named best in class in the third edition of the report card, published in May.
[Also Read: Amazon’s Retailer Media Network Is ‘Best in Class’]
The Retail Media Report Card evaluates the capabilities of top networks (including Kroger Precision Marketing, Albertsons Media Collective, Target’s Roundel, Gopuff Ads and CVS Media Exchange) across 65 criteria in five performance areas: audience targeting, measurement & reporting, media opportunities, innovation and partnership.
The Mars Agency gave the top spot to Walmart Connect for the additions and enhancements the network has made to its measurement tools and media products over the last year. The changes have resulted in more strategic KPI-driven campaigns and improved performance from advertisers, per the report.
Just in the last quarter, Walmart Connect has made several updates, including the addition of new-to-brand metrics for display campaigns in the Walmart Performance Dashboard, expanded targeting for DSS (display self-serve) and DSP (demand side platform), and the availability of new-to-brand metrics on all sponsored search offerings (e.g., products, brands and videos).
Despite its overall high ranking, Walmart Connect still has room to improve in terms of media opportunities along the entire path to purchase. Looking ahead, Walmart Connect is continuing to focus on improving both its ad product suite and measurement tools. It’s also moving forward in its tests with Roku, TikTok and premium Connected TV.
[Also Read: Walmart Focuses on CTV Ad Personalization]
The Mars Agency also introduced two new features for its fourth score card. It added “Assessment Updates,” which highlight the major capability additions and enhancements made by the networks in the most recent quarter, especially the improvements that led to upgrades in their top-level Key Performance Area evaluation.
Data Clean Rooms
The Mars Agency has added a “Capability Spotlight,” examining the benefits, key considerations and cross-industry progress being made around important tools and technologies. This quarter, data clean rooms (DCR) received the spotlight, and the agency named a best-in-class platform: the Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC), which serves as Amazon Advertising’s DCR.
Data clean rooms are essentially privacy-first spaces where raw or plaintext data can’t be observed or learned by any participant or DCR provider unless specifically agreed upon by participants.
The Mars Agency recognized AMC as a standout in this domain this quarter for its unique approach of not only hosting the clean room, but also supplying the data for it, per the report card.
The report card states that a “best-in-class” DCR integrates technologies to “minimize data movement, risk of personal data exposure and misuse of data for the reidentification of individuals.” It also advises that the first criteria advertisers should use for evaluating the suitability of a RMN’s DCR is: “Do they provide access to one?” While the capability is likely to become a table stake, not all networks offer one at this point.
Other takeaways and key performance and capability enhancements highlighted in the latest report card include:
- Gopuff Ads’ addition of search banners onsite along with DOOH and sampling opportunities offsite enhanced its score under media opportunities.
- Ahold Delhaize’s AD Retail Media got a nearly clean sweep under the partnership criteria for providing in-store opportunities through network investment.
- Sam’s Club Member Access Platform (MAP) initiating a platform training program and adding opportunities to leverage the network for in-store opportunities significantly improved its partnership rating.
- AD Retail Media added advertising opportunities on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as well as in-store.
- Albertsons Media Collective evolved its digital circular and began piloting interactive circular ads on Facebook and Instagram.
- Best Buy Ads added self-serve reporting for onsite display and sponsored products as well as real-time insights.
- CVS Media Exchange launched first-party-data sharing with third-party providers/publishers and added ad opportunities through Snapchat and streaming audio.
- DoorDash enhanced offsite search advertising.
- Gopuff Ads made enhancements to its retargeting/site pixelation capabilities as well as onsite search banners, sampling and DOOH.
"The Mars Agency curates one of the most comprehensive [retail media network] score cards in the U.S. market,” Evan Hovorka, head of product, Albertsons Cos., is quoted saying in an email from The Mars Agency. “They score RMN capabilities with a depth and transparency that enabled The Collective to better prioritize our product roadmap. We delivered three key features, with known CPG value, ahead of schedule due to the research and standardization provided by the score card."