Feb 11, 2022

The rise of retail media networks

The rise of retail media networks Featuring The No Normal Show of Revive

From the death of third-party cookies to Apple’s new iOS privacy features to other third-party data losses, marketers are looking to retail media networks to inform targeting efforts. Could retail media networks extend benefits to healthcare marketers?


Peloton spinning out

  • After a blowout year, many (including The No Normal Show team) had high hopes for Peloton. Unfortunately, the exercise equipment and media company has hit several bumps in the road over the past few months that have the world questioning if the pandemic darling will survive.
  • Rumors are swirling around that Amazon, Apple, or Nike may purchase Peloton, but as of the recording of this show, no official bid has come through. 
  • Peloton’s yearly earnings are actually very strong. The problem resides on the expenses side of the balance sheet. From a per-employee standpoint, Peloton has less revenue per employee than comparable companies.
  • While heavy investments in product, operations, and brand have produced a world-renowned customer experience for Peloton, these investments may not be sustainable for the fitness giant.
  • In an era of unknowns and rapid change during the pandemic, the stock market spiked for many digitally-based companies. Some posit that these spikes were unnatural, and falling stocks are merely a sign of a stabilizing market.

What are retail media networks, and why should marketers care?

  • The Google Chrome web browser will fully block tracking cookies by late 2023, pushing marketers to rethink how they target users. This announcement, alongside other announcements of tightening privacy in big tech, has marketers looking for other opportunities to leverage consumer data. Retail media networks could be the opportunity marketers are looking for.
  • Retail media networks are advertising platforms set up on retailers’ websites, apps, or other digital platforms within their network. These networks are a digital version of in-store advertising.
  • Now, some retailers are acting more like pure-play media agencies, securing and selling ad inventory outside of their own properties. 
  • According to eMarketer, retail media will be one of the top five media trends in 2022. The report states that “By 2023, retail media will surpass $50 billion and represent nearly 1 in 5 digital ad dollars.”
  • Now every 1-2 months a new retail media network is born. Around 81% of consumer packaged goods brands plan to grow their investment in retail media networks in the next 12 months.

Using retail media networks to advance healthcare marketing

  • Health systems should consider these networks as another platform to use in reaching and influencing health consumer behavior. 
  • Target has been using first-party purchasing data to target potential customers for years. A 16-year-old girl received a personalized flyer in the mail from Target promoting baby products. The parents were at first outraged until their daughter confirmed that she was indeed pregnant. 
  • Health systems should be able to model first-party data to learn about patient behaviors prior to admission similarly to how Target did in the example above. For instance, pregnancy test purchasing data could help systems predict when to send patients advertisements for maternity services.
  • Programmatic advertising media buys are already placed based on rich data like psychographics, browsing behavior, and contextual data. Tapping into retail media networks would mean adding consumer purchasing data to this already rich pool of data. 

Time to dream a little 

  • What would it look like if there were more health media networks? HIPAA and health policies could prohibit this sort of data sharing, but perhaps there’s an opportunity for health and wellness companies like Peloton to take on this media network model.
  • Taken a step further, what might health media networks look like if Joe Public 2030‘s first prediction, Copernican Consumer, comes true, and all health data points are controlled by the consumer and interconnected using blockchain? 
  • Amazon Care recently expanded its virtual care services to encompass the entire United States. The company also announced that it would be opening brick-and-mortar clinics in 20 major cities. These moves show Amazon’s intentions to deliver a convenient, connected healthcare experience for consumers.
  • Will convenience, a known pillar of consumer preference, be enough for health consumers to hop on board the Amazon train? Will Amazon’s media network capabilities be part of its healthcare play? To be determined.