What's Behind the Huge Resurgence in Retail Media Spend?

Amazon, Walmart, and Target could have a record year in 2024. But is the recent growth real?

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In Today's Issue

Retail Media • What’s Behind the Renewed Spend?

Next year will see a big jump in the number of brands planning to spend on retail media.

Digiday asked about 100 brand marketers if they planned to put even a small portion of their Q3 marketing budgets with Amazon — about 55% said they would.

To put that in perspective, that figure was just 15% in Q1 of this year.

This afternoon, I spoke with Julia Tabisz, deputy managing editor at Digiday and author of the study:

JULIA: So it's actually renewed interest in marketing on Amazon. which I find very interesting, because to me, it looks like a potential indicator that retail advertising could be setting itself up for a really big year and 2024.

TOD: Yeah, it certainly been the quiet story this year that the retail media sector — Amazon, Walmart, Target and so on — those platforms are gonna see huge growth next year. Why do you think that is?

JULIA: I personally think it's coming from the (seemingly actual real this time) end of the third party cookie. Whether we're talking about brand marketers, retailers, agency marketers, the industry really up to this point has not very clearly charted its path forward into a cookieless world, and supposedly that cookieless world is coming. There's still some kinks to work out, like standardization and oversight. But I think if this particular channel can work out those kinks, it's very likely that this retail advertising retail media could be a really vital part of marketers path forward into this cookieless world.

🗳️ VOTE: Does your brand plan to spend more on retail media next year?

e.g., Amazon, Target, Walmart, Etsy, Instacart, etc.

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Threads • Better Analytics and Popular Topics

Two very nice updates for Threads, Meta’s attempt at filling the void left by Twitter.

Domain Tracking

First, they’ve changed the URL that clicks went to. Previously, when someone tapped a link, it would first go to an Instagram domain name to be filtered through its spam system, then passed onto the actual destination.

That was fine, but it lumped all clicks from Instagram and Threads into the same bucket, when viewed in your web analytics tool.

Now, they have added a dedicated domain — l.threads.net — so that you’re able to break out traffic specifically from that app. If you use Google Analytics, this is in the Acquisition surface.

Now that we have topic tags in the app — their version of hashtags — we can start to see which topics are getting traction.

One web developer did this manually, since there’s no API yet, and it only covers topics where a topic tag was used, but the top three topics last week were: NBA Basketball, tech people introducing themselves, and photography.

The basketball topic is especially notable, since some people believe one of the few only things left keeping the former Twitter alive is its sports content.

Topic tags are similar to hashtags, but don’t actually use the hashtag, and you’re limited to one tag per post. Meta says this is so spammers don’t clutter up the feed. Plus you can’t copy-and-paste them in; they require manual input.

It’s not clear how these new topic tags would be implemented in a publishing API once that rolls out, but presumably it would mirror the app’s functionality.

Not sure which tag to use? Andrew Hutchinson, writing in Social Media Today, has a nice hack — just use the first letter of the topic you’re thinking of using, and it will show you the most popular tags with that letter, sorted in order of usage.

Ad Market • Looking Up, But Only on a Technicality

More clear skies in the forecast for the global ad industry, as Dentsu says global ad spending should increase by about 4.6% next year.

And while that’s higher than this year’s, that’s only because of media pricing inflation.

Digital, of course, will still take the lion’s share — just under 60% of the total ad market.

That said, the growth of digital has slowed down in the last couple of years, dipping into single digits for the first time.

Why the optimism?

There are a number of big spending events in 2024: the Olympics, the Euro 2024 football championships, and the U.S. presidential election.

Brands also face increasingly higher costs to reach individual consumers in a highly fragmented media landscape.

Advertisers next year will spend $139 per capita at the global level, a roughly 75% increase from two decades ago, according to Dentsu. 

Marketing Dive

Breaking down the digital sector — and growth rate specifically — retail media will grow the fastest at about 17%. That’s followed by social media ad spend at over 12%, and programmatic at just over 10%.

But that’s growth. As for the actual portions of the pie, programmatic makes up about 70% of digital ad spend.

Reddit • Platform Comes Back Online After Outage

Reddit is back up this afternoon after a major outage that took down most functionality of the site.

People weren’t able to see posts or comments, and searches would end up with an error message.

The company confirmed the issue this afternoon and by about 2pm Eastern, the site was back up.

TRIVIA: In Reddit's early days, how did the founders populate the site with content?

Click to guess and find out the right answer!

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Marketing Services You Should Know About

Agencies • IPG Gets First Crack at Prime Video Ads

The global agency holding company IPG Mediabrands is first to the party with Amazon’s forthcoming Prime Video ads.

Amazon is launching an ad-supported tier in the coming months, and IPG’s clients will be the first in. That gives them first crack at new ad formats and content sponsorships.

Amazon’s fledgling ad-supported offering gains a large stable of potential advertisers via the three-year deal, giving it an opportunity to come out of the gate strong when it launches in 2024 with plans to roll out to nine international markets. 

While most streaming services already have their ad-supported services up and running, Amazon is promising greater reach and frequency through its offering than its competitors and will need to prove its point.

But it may be an uphill climb — a recent study found consumers are spending 5% less time watching ad supported content than they did five years ago.

And Finally • The “Worst Promo Code” of the Year

A subscription box company last week tried to capitalize on Elon Musk’s bizarre tirade against his platform’s own advertisers. You might recall after dozens of big brands pulled their advertising from X, Musk told them to literally ‘go fuck themselves.’

So someone at FabFitFun decided they’d piggyback off that and offered new buyers a gift with their subscription if they used the code GoFuckYourself.

They also doubled-down on supporting the social platform, which has been basically abandoned now by most major brands, after Musk made statements seen as anti-semitic. The company said it would pledge “an additional $100k of X advertising in support of its free speech ideals.”

It did not go well.

But its subscribers — mostly young wellness-focused consumers — didn’t think much of the stunt.

Some thought the offer code was a dig at them. Others were disappointed in the company for aligning itself so strongly with X’s political leanings, one posting “The owners are right-wing Trumpers who are enamoured with Elon & snarl ‘woke’ under their breath.”

The company eventually apologized using all sorts of words: “ham-handed,” “out of character for our brand,” and “dumb.”

How’s X’s advertising doing, anyway?

I mean, they still have ads.

In fact just today, 404 Media spotted some ads on the platform from a brand called MakeAMom, which sells DIY artificial insemination kits, promoting the theft of semen.

The ads showed a video of a woman collecting the fluid surreptitiously. The ad copies included “Making him a dad without his permission,” and “Does he need to know?”

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