IPG Mediabrands Launches New Unified Retail Media Business

Tim Cross 19 July, 2023 

IPG Mediabrands, Interpublic Group’s media arm which encompasses media agencies including Magna, Initiative, UM, and Mediahub, has announced the launch of a new unified retail media solution which is designed to help advertisers manage their investments across different retail media offerings. IPG says the new solution is designed to bring “openness and trust to the typically closed world of retail media at a time when brand spend in the space is growing rapidly”.

The idea behind the new solution is to enable brands to see which retail media networks (RMNs) are delivering the best results, automating cross-retailer optimisation and activation to maximise sales and profit. The ‘unified’ element is key – Mediabrands says the solution aims to unify audiences, measurement, optimisation, and intelligence across disparate retail media partners.

Mediabrands has already created a library of unified audiences which advertisers can target across RMNs (which it plans to expand over time, targeting more than 10,000 by the end of the year). Brands can either target these audiences directly, or bring in their own predefined audiences via their customer data platform, and then layer in Mediabrands’ audience to bolster this data. Advanced audience solutions from IPG’s Acxiom can also be used.

With these unified audiences and what IPG describes as “bespoke data harmonisation techniques”, the solution can then measure results across different RMNs, and optimise spend accordingly. And then data derived from measurement and optimisation across different campaigns will provide the unified intelligence piece, helping refine audiences and informing campaign planning.

“Brands activating in retail media face the challenge of navigating through multiple closed garden networks, each with their own data approach, metrics and ROI methods,” said Eileen Kiernan, global CEO of IPG Mediabrands. “This complexity is amplified for brands that also sell their products through these retailers. Therefore, it is crucial for brands seeking to maximise their investment to leverage data and insight across networks with an ability to make intelligent decisions in real time about what’s working and not.”

Setting up shop

A couple of recent industry forecasts projecting the growth of retail media spend have highlighted the size of the opportunity. IPG’s own Magna forecasts that retail media revenues will reach $121 billion this year, representing 20 percent of total digital ad revenues across search, video and display.

And agencies see it as an area where they can add significant value for clients, capturing a portion of this spend. Mediabrands cited a study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) earlier this year, which found that 82 percent of CMOs see standardisation across retail media platforms as “a challenge” or “a big challenge”.

Thus all the major agency holding groups are growing out their retail media offerings, and touting their credentials in the area. And given the walled garden approaches of many RMNs, agencies are positioning themselves as partners to navigate this fractured landscape.

French agency group Publicis has been one of the most active in this area. Earlier this year it launched a JV called ‘Unlimitail’ with retail giant Carrefour designed to grow the retail media market, and create consistency between different RMN’s offerings.

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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