3 industries poised for retail and commerce media network growth

In just five years, retail media went from a $1 billion segment to a $30 billion segment. With US omnichannel retail media ad spend poised to reach $59.98 billion this year, per our October 2023 forecast, non-retail industries from health and fitness to financial institutions are looking to build out their own media networks.

This next evolution of media networks can be loosely defined as commerce media. These emerging platforms have several things in common:

  • A captive audience
  • Commerce or financial transactions
  • First-party data from consumers
  • A platform where ads can be served

Here are some of the industries where commerce media networks have potential.

1. Health and fitness

The opportunity: Gyms have out-of-home (OOH) and digital display advertising potential. Health-oriented consumers are generally willing to share first-party data in order to track progress. And gyms could pair with streaming platforms to offer access to content for logged-in users in order to target ads with an even bigger audience.

Because the fitness audience is large and diverse, health and personal care products could be a good match for these consumers. US health and personal care retail ecommerce sales will total $153.86 billion this year, according to our December 2023 forecast.

The drawbacks: Gym-goers may be cautious about sharing data as exercise machines and apps can monitor biometrics. People in the middle of a workout also may not be eager to make a purchase the same way in-store shoppers are.

Real-world example: Planet Fitness launched an OOH ad program called PF Media Network in January, leveraging audiences at over 2,500 global locations. “Our members are a captive audience with prolonged exposure time,” said chief digital officer Sherrill Kaplan in an interview with eMarketer.

2. Travel

The opportunity: Like health and fitness, travel comes with both OOH and digital display ad potential. Travelers are a captive audience when on airplanes, in cabs and ride-share vehicles, and in hotels. People who are traveling are generally open to spending money on a variety of things, including food, merchandise, and experiences. And like gyms, hotels and airlines could potentially offer streaming content access in return for first-party data.

The drawbacks: Travel is already logistically complicated and expensive. Inundating airline passengers with ads could make a challenging experience even worse.

Real-world example: Marriott has had a travel media network since 2022. The network extends through before and during hotel stays.

3. Payments and financial services

The opportunity: Financial and payments institutions like buy now, pay later (BNPL) platforms have users who are often close to the point of purchase, making the platforms a ready opportunity for serving ads.

The drawbacks: Financial websites ranked lowest among websites where US consumers are most receptive to ads, according to a Q3 2023 study from Integral Ad Science. And BNPL services tend to be used via integration with retailer websites, rather than through their owned channels.

Real-world example: Klarna has a retail media network on its platform, which also boasts an AI-powered shopping assistant.

This was originally featured in the Retail Media Weekly newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.