Member Exclusive   //   June 27, 2024

New Research: Retail media increases by 11% in YoY adoption

By Li Lu

In this edition of the weekly briefing, we share newly released data from Modern Retail+ Research’s retail media guide as part of our yearly CMO strategies report series.

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Retail media has a surge in popularity

Breaking News: This week, Modern Retail+ Research has released its 2024 guide on the state or retail media networks that details findings from a survey of 174 marketing professionals and about past and upcoming investments, marketing channel tactics, preferences and business challenges. Modern Retail found that retail media has surged in popularity with many retailers investing more heavily in the channel and others venturing into retail media for the first time. Retail media’s obvious edge over other channels is its access to purchase data through sites that are built for commerce. With data privacy laws becoming stricter and Google continuing to inch closer toward the end of the third-party cookie, access to a network with customer purchase data is an attractive future alternative.

Questions: What are the challenges to retail media? What changes have happened in the last year? What can marketers expect from retail media?

Answers From Research:

Cost of media remained the biggest challenge marketers said they face with retail media networks. And a new challenge emerged this year — lack of budget. While cost is often associated with budget, for marketers working with retail media, the two challenges can be viewed separately. Marketers’ retail media budget concerns are unique in that the challenge they face is likely stemming from the rapid growth of RMNs. As new platforms are introduced, marketers have had to stretch their budgets in order to balance their platform mix.

Some experts have said that the boom in new retail media options is not sustainable and harms all parties. “There’s not enough money to go around for this to be sustainable,” said Ethan Goodman, evp of digital commerce at The Mars Agency. “Once you get past a certain point, the offerings start to blur together and the question becomes, ‘Why don’t I just invest in the [major players, like Amazon, Walmart, Target and Kroger].’” 

Another notable change in this year’s survey responses was that scale became less challenging for marketers than a year ago – 8% of marketers on average said scalability was an issue in 2024 versus 29% in 2023. This decrease could indicate that retail media networks have started to build up their targeting capabilities with first-party data and product offerings, particularly pushed ahead by the increase in competition. However, while it seems easier to scale retail media networks because of the increased offerings and first-party customer data, many industry professionals have voiced concerns about data attribution to measure that scalability. Natalie Sexton, vp of marketing at Natalie’s Juice, the company’s top concerns in an email to Modern Retail. “The main challenges we’ve faced with retailer platforms have been costs and tracked conversions,” Sexton said.

Want to learn more: The Modern Retail+ CMO Strategies guide on retail media examines the state of retail media and how the channel has changed in the last year.


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