Takeaways from Ad Age’s panel on digital commerce media

Want to get in on the booming $50 billion commerce media market? Start with this recap of a recent Ad Age panel.

Commerce media — where chain retailers, hospitality, banking, travel, and many other brands offer advertising on their own websites — is a booming ecosystem ripe with opportunities for personalized, data-driven marketing. In fact, it’s expected to hit $50 billion this year, with 25 percent annual growth over the next five years.

Ad Age recently hosted a panel discussing opportunities in commerce media, which has been called retail media in the past. Host Christopher Hosford talked with Diaz Nesamoney, founder and CEO of digital marketing platform Jivox; Heather Marie Udo, CEO of Shoppable, an e-commerce platform that enables embeddable commerce experiences; and Cory Grever, director of trading strategy at The Trade Desk.

According to Nesamoney, commerce media’s use of data has evolved. Its first wave focused on search data, while the second wave centered on audience and demographics, like on social media. Now that commerce media is in its third wave, the focus is on purchase data — because what you’ve bought shows the intent of what you’re likely to buy in the future. Originally, that information came from large retailers like Amazon and Walmart, but it’s increasingly coming from apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats too.

Commerce data is expanding to purchase data beyond retailers like Amazon and Walmart, to apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Relevance drives sales, and customers want personalized experiences through dynamic product ads, so identity will be critical going forward. However, activating on commerce media can be complex because of the disjointed user journey. Nesamoney points out that the consumer wants to be treated as a person, not as a series of episodes across different channels.

That’s where identity solutions like Unified ID 2.0 come in. Partnerships between companies like The Trade Desk and Jivox also help brands build more personalized and frictionless customer experiences, delivering the right messages to the right people, in the right place and at the right time.

For a while, consumer packaged good brands were limited by no first-party data through retailers. But as Udo points out, that’s changing, thanks to Shoppable ads and other technology. These friction-free shopping experiences give brands more control and ensure that they can measure sales. Transparency and control are key to that experience, she adds.

Industry-wide solutions like Unified ID 2.0 help deliver more relevant advertising for customers, ultimately driving better outcomes.

Grever also brought up the importance of transparency and customer consent, especially since consumers are getting increasingly savvy about how and where their data is being used. In the future, consumers will have more control and an even better understanding of how their data is employed for relevant advertising. He says if it’s very clear there’s a value exchange — such as consumers receiving free content or a discount via a loyalty program if they allow a brand access to their data — they are more likely to opt in.

What actions can be taken today?

Panelists recommended that brands audit their first-party data and evaluate their current tech stack. Is it well integrated to deliver an outstanding user experience? How many clicks are required to purchase? To produce better sales and engagement, start with the consumer in mind. An audience-first approach is key to succeeding in commerce media.

You can now watch the full event.

Interested in running e-commerce solutions on The Trade Desk? Reach out to your account manager, or read more about our suite of e-commerce products.

1 Jivox, “The Commerce Media Market in the U.S. Is Expected To Grow by 25% Annually Over the Next Five Years,” 2022.