Best Buy is the first retailer to leverage a new demand-side platform from Criteo that lets brands and agencies purchase ads across retail media networks in self-serve fashion, while also using retailers’ first-party data to make programmatic buys on the open web as third-party cookies are being sunset.
The platform, called Commerce Max, allows advertisers to reach audiences on a retailer’s site through sponsored and display ads, then extend that reach through programmatic buys, driving traffic back to the retailer site for purchase. Criteo has access to thousands of publisher sites, more than 4 billion SKUs and 150+ retailers.
Commerce Max uses predictive AI to identify the best path to conversion, and provides data on ad performance in near-real-time through unified reporting and closed-loop measurement, including product-level sales attribution.
Best Buy, a Criteo client since 2015, began testing the platform in the first half of 2022, along with media agency rollup GroupM. The retailer launched its own network, Best Buy Ads, in January.
Keith Bryan, SVP and President of Ads, Media and CRM for Best Buy, said the platform allows it brands to build custom campaigns across onsite display, sponsored products and offsite publishers, reaching Best Buy’s first-party audience using their own creative.
“Our goal is to offer a variety of ways that brands can seamlessly work with Best Buy Ads to reach the audiences that are most important to them,” Bryan said. “This self-service option is in addition to our robust managed service capabilities that help brands tap into Best Buy’s customer relationships, leveraging our deep media and marketing expertise.”
Sherry Smith, Executive Managing Director of Global Retail Media for Criteo, said a few factors are driving the rapid rise in retail media networks or RMNs, such as Best Buy’s. A major one is the mass migration away from third-party cookie tracking, including major changes from Google and Apple, in an effort to protect consumer privacy.
“With 3P cookies going away, advertisers are looking for new ways to reach customers,” Smith said. “The pandemic as well pushed more people online to shop. So first-party data has a lot of value, and RMNs provides a rich dataset and a brand-safe environment. Brands want to be where they can most appeal to customers, and retailers take pride in their own media programs.”
Another aspect is profitability, Smith said. “As more sales shift online, the profit on ecommerce is much lower than buying in store,” she said. “Amazon has seen significant earnings on its media program, and CFOs are taking notice. So, there’s value in a thriving media program where retailers and brands can benefit and provide better service to their customers while driving greater conversions, adding to the bottom line.”
Smith said Criteo saw an opportunity to create an ecosystem for brand marketers and retailers beyond RMNs each offering their own walled garden of in-house managed media services. “If a L’Oreal wants to buy retail media, they work directly with the retailer or through a third party, and with others individually,” she said. “It’s not often that the retailer will offer self-service and programmatic. To scale it and make first-party data accessible for brands and agencies across retailers, that’s why we built Commerce Max.”
At the moment, Smith said, Best Buy and GroupM are the only announced retailers signed on to the Commerce Max DSP, but Criteo is in talks with several others. Companies it works with on the onsite media side include Asda, Carrefour, Macy’s and Deliveroo.