The ongoing trend of retailers serving as media platforms has gained momentum throughout the pandemic as shoppers' digital engagement with retailers surged to unprecedented levels.
The heightened level e-commerce activity comes at a time when retailers are functioning as media platforms and is the equivalent of television network gaining massive new audience members thanks to a show that suddenly become popular. The big difference for retailers is the digital engagement and higher level of intimacy occurs as shoppers are actively using a retailer’s platform, thus giving the retailer and its brand partners the ability to serve relevant messages at the most opportune moments during the path to purchase.
The retailer as a media platform space is evolving rapidly and the latest example of innovation comes courtesy of CitrusAd, a three-year-old e-commerce advertising platform that has grown quickly to become a market leader. In fact, the company bills itself as the world-leading, white-label, self-serve, e-commerce advertising platform, and it has introduced a new feature called Banner X to help it live up to that claim.
Banner X ads are fully responsive, natively served banner ads with real-time personalization that are positioned in the grid of e-commerce product carousels. The ad style is congruent to each retailer’s e-commerce design and layout including fonts, call to action buttons and other style guidelines that are designed to complement and enhance the online shopping experience.
CitrusAd CEO Brad Moran maintains this approach yields click through rates that are on average 10 to 30 times those of traditional display media and a much-need change from programmatic display ad media pracices that can result in an ad unit being served that looks out of place with little to no relevancy to the shopper visit.
“We are an innovative retail media technology company to our core and our mission is to help retailers and their suppliers become more effective and efficient in e-commerce,” Moran said. “Banner X is only the first step in our journey to quickly improve the execution of display media in e-commerce platforms. They are native, highly responsive, load fast, and more relevant, delivering better visibility, greater impact and higher conversion rates while improving shopper satisfaction.”
Those are bold claims that will be proven, or disproven, over time as retailers implement the functionality. For now, retailers with the Mercatus Integrated Commerce platform from digital commerce solutions provider Mercatus are among the first to experience the enhanced functionality of CitrusAd and BannerX.
“For our retail partners, the ability to generate additional revenue from their e-commerce storefronts with native digital advertising is a clear winner,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus. “Banner X ad placements offer the ability to present hyper-relevant, targeted ads that not only deliver a bigger promotional punch, but also are more cost-effective for advertisers, and at the same time improve the overall shopper experience.”
Mercatus and CitrusAd formed a partnership in early July which first gave users of Mercatus's technology access to CitrusAd’s retail media capabilities, which have now been enhanced with Banner X and will soon include video. The company said video functionality will be added into Banner X display media and branded pages this year giving retailers the ability to compete with the likes of Facebook and Google by offering highly effective video at the point of purchase.
Whether video or display, the philosophy behind the CitrusAd platform is that it is a self-managed experience for brands. It gives CPG companies the ability to target and select the search terms they feel are most viable for their strategic approach, which means they no longer need to book positions weeks in advance from going live and retailer teams do not need to upload creative. By accessing the real-time reporting dashboard, brands and retailers can visualize the measured ad results within 5 minutes of being live.