Traffic is the most important attribute for retail media networks

Retailers are getting into the digital advertising business at a furious pace. Our first ever US retail media networks benchmark report evaluates digital ad buyers’ perceptions of 11 leading retail media networks and how they perform along 13 attributes.

Traffic on ecommerce websites and apps is ground zero for establishing a retail media network. These contextually relevant audiences of in-market shoppers are exactly what brands are so eager to reach, as they look to balance both size and relevance of these audiences.

Traffic was ranked the most important attribute of retail media networks, with traffic scale scoring 4.35 and traffic quality scoring 4.32 on a five-point-scale.

In our survey, we asked respondents to evaluate retail media networks’ traffic scale and traffic quality.

  • Amazon Ads ranked No. 1 on the traffic pillar, posting a sizable advantage at No. 1 on traffic scale, given its dominant position as the top digital marketplace. It also ranked No. 3 on traffic quality, boasting shoppers with especially high purchase intent and streamlined conversions.
  • eBay Ads ranked No. 2 on traffic, leading the charge at No. 1 on traffic quality and No. 3 on traffic scale with reasons similar to Amazon as a large digital marketplace. Its top ranking on traffic quality could also reflect its strength in certain categories like shoes, fashion accessories, and consumer electronics.
  • Kroger Precision Marketing edged out Walmart Connect for No. 3, largely due to its No. 2 ranking on traffic quality. But it also ranked No. 4 on traffic scale. Oddly enough, Kroger splits its on-site traffic with Instacart, which mediates the online experience for many of Kroger shoppers. So its strong rankings on traffic likely refer to its partnership with third-party publishers—including its partnership with Roku on CTV ads—for display and video inventory. Its high score on traffic quality is likely the result of its effective use of its loyalty card data to reach the right audiences.
  • Amazon, Walmart, and eBay ranked top 3 in traffic scale, corresponding to their respective overall ranking in US ecommerce sales, according to our latest forecast. Traffic scale drives sales, which in turn draws advertisers.

Our Take: Traffic is the lifeblood of retail media networks, and digital marketplaces tend to fare the best in this regard. Traffic scale is vital to advertisers—particularly large brands—whose budgets depend on reaching large enough audiences to move the needle on sales. Traffic quality is nearly as important, particularly for advertisers who want to reach specific consumers interested in their product category. Retailers must assess how they stack up on these two dimensions. Those lacking in either one may struggle to retain advertisers long-term and should pursue strategies for partnerships with third-party publishers or develop their marketplace model to achieve sufficient scale.

Read the full report.

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