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Walmart Moves to Grow Ad Business

Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
Walmart Moves to Grow Ad Business
Retailer is offering media activations on in-store TV walls and self-checkout screens with nearly 170,000 digital screens across more than 4,500 stores.

Walmart is making a number of changes to its media group as it aims to diversify its revenue streams and become a top 10 ad company in the next few years.

The Walmart Media Group, which will now be known as Walmart Connect, will be growing its offerings to provide opportunities for partners to use Walmart data to buy ads reaching its 150 million weekly customers.

“Walmart has always connected customers and the great brands they love, and now we have the ability to offer an easy-to-use platform to enhance those connections at scale,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart. “We’ve built a substantial business that can serve clients in a way no one else can as a closed-loop omnichannel media company. By expanding our offerings we’re creating measurable value for our partners and customers alike in our ecosystem and beyond.”

Walmart says Walmart Connect will focus on three strategic areas that will set it up to become one of the top 10 ad platforms in the U.S.:

  1. Growing offerings across Walmart’s digital properties: Walmart Connect is utilizing the reach of its native digital properties including, pickup & delivery and the Walmart App to offer holistic campaigns, including search and display media, across the digital shopper experience, putting advertiser messages right next to where customers are making purchasing decisions. This part of the business is growing fast last fiscal year, it saw nearly double the amount of revenue and more than double the number of advertisers.
  2. Introducing innovative in-store experiences: Walmart Connect is unveiling new omni capabilities that allow advertisers to reach Walmart’s millions of customers who shop in its physical stores each week. The retailer is now offering media activations on in-store TV walls and self-checkout screens with nearly 170,000 digital screens across 4,500+ stores. Many brand messages can be delivered with date, time and geographic specificity. These advancements make Walmart Connect one of the largest in-store activations and digital out-of-home ad platforms in the country. More opportunities for brands to be included in in-store experiences and sampling opportunities such as the Walmart Drive-in, Spooky Street and more will be offered over time.
  3. Expanding offsite media opportunities, at scale: Walmart Connect will be leveraging its unparalleled first-party shopper data to drive media performance for advertisers outside of Walmart’s proprietary sites. Walmart today announced a partnership with the world's leading AdTech company, The Trade Desk, to launch a first-of-its-kind demand-side platform for suppliers and their media and ad agencies in time for the 2021 holiday season. This DSP will combine the best-in-class technology and performance of The Trade Desk platform with the robust scale of Walmart shopping data, ultimately allowing advertisers to drive more effectiveness with their overall media spend.

“Walmart is pioneering a new frontier in digital advertising, providing marketers with access to shopper data for the first time, in a way that both protects consumer privacy and improves the consumer experience,” said Jeff Green, CEO and co-founder, The Trade Desk. “In doing so, marketers will be able to create much more refined, relevant and measurable advertising campaigns, which can be adapted on-the-fly to changing circumstances and real-time performance. We are thrilled to be working with Walmart to bring this vision to life.”

Walmart joins Kroger, Target and other food retailers growing their digital media divisions as they look to create new revenue streams and help suppliers reach more online shoppers. Walmart’s e-commerce business grew 79% in its most recent third quarter.  

“It’s exciting to see our strategy come together in a way that drives growth for our business, creates value for our partners and, most importantly, creates a better, more comprehensive shopping experience for our customers,” Whiteside said.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list.

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