The many possibilities of eRetail Media: Onsite Ads

May 13, 2022

Digital Shelf optimization is the control of a brand’s product content, pricing, reviews, availability and stock on retailer’s websites. It has been a “must” for eCommerce managers for some time, especially if they want to increase online sales. 

But beyond Digital Shelf, retailers are becoming powerful Media Networks, exploiting loyalty card information from traditional brick and mortar and harnessing 1st party data from their sites and apps to offer rich advertisement spaces.

Brands are paying more and more attention to this growing form of marketing that is the closest one can get to the point of purchase: Retail Media Marketing.

Retail Media does not only cover monetizing digital spaces (available on retail websites); it also includes all the media assets that a retailer has: screens in-store, magazines, an email database and aisle advertising. Retail Media allows to accentuate the visibility of a brand among many other brands directly in stores. 

Brands can reach consumers through advertising at different points throughout  the shopping process; directly when running a campaign on a retailer’s website or a physical store that offers interesting options to allocate advertising budgets.

In this article, we will focus on various possibilities eRetail advertising brings to brands: discovering the most common Digital Ad functionalities and formats available on Retailers websites.

Onsite and Offsite Ad spaces on eRetail Media

When talking about Digital Ads on eRetail Media, one can be referring to 2 types: Onsite and Offsite.

Onsite Retail Advertising:  within this model, the advertisers pay for placing their advertisement directly on the retailer’s website. These are usually Sponsored Products Ads or Display Banners on Retailer sites (triggered by searches and placed on a  home page or on a  categories page of a specific type of a product).

Offsite Retail Advertising: this type of advertising takes place outside of the retailer’s website, it could be online or offline. Some retailers offer brands the opportunity to broadcast their products offer to a broader audience: like 3rd party websites through the use of cookies and retargeting social media ads on the retailer’s own channels directly through emailing to the retailer’s customers database, and even in some cases through streaming services (per example in the case of Amazon with Video Prime) 

Nearly half of product searches start on marketplaces and eCommerce sites and consequently, retailers have learned to monetize their owned channels by harnessing the power of high-intent traffic. 

For the purpose of this article, we will describe the most common Retail Media Ad placements and formats available Onsite, which are the retailer’s websites. 

The importance of Search on eRetail Media

Paid Retail Search is a form of digital marketing on a retailer website, similar to what you find on a search engine (Google Adwords) where advertisers can bid on a specific “keyword” so when a shopper searches for it on the Retailer’s engine, a specific product or brand ad appears above (or among) the organic results.

Search bar from Walmart.

Keywords are the search terms that shoppers type into Retailers’ search bar to find your product.

The main difference of  Google Adwords is that the algorithm used by retailers is much simpler, as well as the potentially different keywords used by shoppers, due to the stages in the online shopper journey.

Although these results could be organic, searches done by shoppers trigger most of the Ads shown to users on Onsite eRetail Media. 

Onsite Ad placements & formats available on eRetail Media

Onsite Retail Media Advertising Formats

Sponsored Products

(Search triggered)  

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above (or among) the top organic results on product listing pages.

It uses custom keywords as triggers to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them. However, it can be used to capture new audiences as well. 

Amazon Sponsored Products Ads example. Paid Search results (Keyword: "Vacuum cleaners")

These are pay-per-click Ads (which means you only pay when someone clicks on your Ad) and are one of the most common formats on eRetail Media available in grocery Ads and in other categories like Appliances or Clothing.

Sponsored Products Ads on Tesco UK site (Keyword: "Chocolate")

A Sponsored Products Ad will usually be highlighted by a tag at the top of the products listed and will require no additional copy or images. This type of Ad receives the most interaction in the campaigns and needs to be monitored closely by brands.

Sponsored Brands

(Search triggered)

Commonly used to promote product lines or bestsellers, a Sponsored Brand Ad appears as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires at least three separate products; a copy and a Brand Logo. Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool that functions on keywords and search results as well.

Walmart Sponsored Brand Ad example.Paid Search results (Keyword: "Vacuum cleaners")

Display & Banner Ads

(Search triggered or category placed)

Display Ads is an online advertising format in which the ads are shown in the form of banners. Display ads can target the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel due to their varying targeting abilities. 

Although most are commonly found under the bullet points or product descriptions on a detail page, these Ads can also be used (offsite) in emails, newsletters, and across many other placements of a Media Network.

 Onsite Display Ads, however unlike the previous Search Ad campaigns, target shopping behaviours, for example repeat purchasers and similar product purchasers including people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. This helps Display Ads stand out from other Ad products.

Amazon Display Banner Ad example.

Video Ads 

(Search triggered or category placed)

Video Ads appear on the Product listing pages as a result when a shopper searches for a product. These ads allow advertisers to reach customers with targeted videos on Retailer’s websites and mobile apps. 

Video ads on Amazon will automatically play the video content when the video is at least 50% visible on screen. Autoplay in Amazon video ads is always muted – audio playback requires user interaction and the video is automatically paused if it is scrolled out of view.

Amazon Shoppable Video Ad example. (Search results: keyword "vacuum cleaners")

Walmart is experimenting with video ads as well on Walmart.com.  One of the new updates coming to its Ads business that it overhauled with the launch of a demand-side platform last year.  

Video Ads are different from what you could find as Content inside a Product Detail page, which is part of the Digital Shelf, but there’s no doubt these types of Ads will be more and more important in the future. 

Shoppable Live streaming 

Some retailers run special events (like Amazon’s Prime Day) and a series of infomercials are promoted through live broadcasting on the retailer’s website. These broadcastings usually feature the product that’s being advertised by providing a link to the Product detail page where you can buy it or simply by making it appear as related content below a PDP. 

Amazon Shoppable Live Streaming example.

For Black Friday, Carrefour France did a special live streaming event showcasing the best deals and offers for consumers by having a  TV set and two very engaging and interactive hosts. In many cases Retailers can feature influencers or even celebrities for these types of advertising events. 

Landing Pages (Brand "Stores")

These are special subpages for a brand, incorporated inside the retailer’s web (the “shop in shop” concept), called Stores, Brand or Landing Pages. These are custom, shoppable spaces that you can design to host a curated view of your product offerings. 

These allocated spaces help to tell the brand “story” and showcase the entire product portfolio since they include branding elements, different pages, and other content like videos, text, and images to show your products in action. 

You can also drive traffic to your Store from your own site and social media, or from sponsored advertising both on and offsite.

Whether the goal is unveiling new product innovations, showcasing best sellers, or capitalizing on the seasonal moments to drive sales for related products — like introducing a new vacuum just in time for spring cleaning or promoting a new vegan ice cream to fight climate change— brand pages can provide help across a variety of needs. 

Unilever has a dedicated Ben & Jerry's Landing Page / Store inside German retailer Rewe tha also advocates to fight Climate change.

Landing pages or Brand Stores can offer a central place in the Retail Media solutions landscape where consumers can shop your products online and learn more about what your brand stands for.

Summary

Shoppers see Ads on the retailer’s website when they are already browsing the products, so they are more likely to be influenced to make new purchases than if they were doing other online activities. Regardless of what the activities are, eRetail Media offers many possibilities. It can help a brand launch a new product and increase its visibility and sales across brick and mortar spaces as well. 

Beyond Ads, eRetail Media offers other types of boosters to eCommerce Visibility like Promotions, Retail SEO, and the share of the Digital Shelf that products can get. Onsite (and Offsite) Ads are just a part of a brand’s visibility tool kit on Retailers. Learn more about it by talking to our team of eCommerce experts.  

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