There was a little blip of a transaction last week which might go unnoticed by many, but may just herald a shift in momentum for where marketing dollars will be best spent in our futures.
Last week, another great Aussie success story was acquired by a global behemoth when ad-serving SaaS company CitriusAd was snapped up by French multinational advertising and public relations company, Publicis Groupe.
Perhaps not such a little blip for the business themselves – it will sure make a difference to their lives, being acquired by one of the oldest marketing and communications companies in the world and the largest by revenue.
However the move signals an interesting shift by the advertising holding company to play more deeply in the eCommerce space. CitrusAd, founded in 2017 by Brad Moran and Nick Paech, is a white-label, self-serve, ecommerce ad-serving platform which enables retailers to monetise their online shelf-space.
Point of Scale
In a cookieless world, the Point of Sale is going to become a lot more crowded.
Citrus claim to be the retail industry’s preferred Retail Media Platform for sponsored product ads, banners and email ads. Their software provides a means to optimize brand marketing performances directly within retailer websites.
In-market buyers are the Holy Grail for marketers. Finding an affordable way to reach a steady stream of customers with wallets open, ready to buy is a no-brainer for most marketing departments.
The big eCommerce players already know this and have been making some flexes of their own, with steady growth in retailers acting as media platforms, using their high traffic websites as a path for brands to connect with consumers.
The biggest of them all has been investing in their offering for a while now. Amazon have been working to grow their ad solutions to create an even more lucrative walled garden and the results speak for themselves. The retailer’s advertising is growing faster than the company’s overall sales, with the ads business generating nearly US$7bn a quarter – and growth is accelerating.
Ashley Wales-Brown is the Managing Director for Podean Australia, a marketplace marketing consultancy specialising in leveraging Amazon’s audience data to create relevant and engaging brand experiences.
“Just building a retail presence on the platform, even if it’s optimised to best practices will not deliver on the full potential that Amazon can offer”, said Wales-Brown.
“In terms of the opportunities available to brands, it really comes down to what they are looking to achieve in terms of performance and brand positioning but it’s critical that media and retail are not treated separately and that the relationship between the two is understood and leveraged correctly.”
Amazon isn’t the only one beefing up their ad credentials. Having a physical footprint can add depth, with Walmart leveraging tech and its proximity to shoppers to boost it’s ad business. In first quarter earnings, the retailer’s ad business saw “triple-digit growth”, attributed to a high-margin endeavor capitalising on huge volumes of shopping data.
They’re not alone, with Target, Best Buy and Home Depot having all built their own ad networks designed to connect companies to people when they shop.
Instacart poached a Facebook exec responsible for their mobile ad suite to build out it’s media offering. DoorDash is reportedly looking to hire a head of advertising. Gopuff, a US$9bn food delivery startup which is yet to have a presence in Australia, is launching its own ad network.
Closer to home, Woolworth’s own Cartology claims to know customers in a way no-one else can, boasting 12.5 million 1:1 relationships across its network. Having only been in operation for two years, the division is on a hiring spree as it bolsters out it’s strategic partnerships and sales teams.
Tech start up Simulmedia are even building their own in-game advertising, to target the booming video game industry. However, delivering messages to gamers looking for entertainment may not be as simple as brand building with in-market shoppers. Games publishers are already pushing back, though tying directly to in-game perks might win over enough customers to keep it viable.
It appears every industry which has a digital presence is trying to build an ad revenue line. This website was founded on the age old quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
The challenge to answer the question of ‘Which 50’ just got harder.