Walmart rolls out self-serve ads

Discussion
Photo: Walmart
Jan 10, 2020
Tom Ryan

Walmart has rolled out a self-serve portal that enables advertisers to directly buy on-site search and sponsored product ads on walmart.com through a bid auction-based marketplace.

Previously, search ads and sponsored product placements were purchased as part of a managed service buy. The initial API test partners will be Teikametrics, Flywheel Digital, Kenshoo and Pacvue.

The platform is expected to help Walmart better position itself against Amazon.com’s planning, forecasting and buying tools. Advertisers are promised more transparency and control for targeting and measurement.

“Brands will now be able to increase visibility with Walmart’s diverse, sizable audience of shoppers,” said Lex Josephs, VP sales and media partnerships, Walmart Media Group, said in a blog entry.

Chris Dessi, VP at Productsup, a product experience management company, told RetailWire, “Walmart’s rollout is the perfect timing, as there’s an immediate deep need to diversify media buying to add ‘network neighbor’ demographic buyers, as well as increase reach.” 

The move comes as Walmart early last year brought ad sales in-house after admitting it had done little to monetize its shopper data. The April-2018 acquisition Polymorph Labs, a digital agency, was expected to support real-time auctions across ad-pricing models, such as cost per click, impression and conversion.

With Walmart, advertisers can diversify ad dollars away from Amazon, as well as digital’s giants, Google and Facebook. Walmart’s big selling point, however, is linking digital ads to its massive store base.

“Walmart’s most pressing advantage in e-commerce advertising is its offline experience and scale,” Nich Weinheimer, GM of e-commerce at Kenshoo, told AdExchanger. “Other e-commerce players, like Amazon, have been working hard to figure out how to measure the impact of their advertising on offline sales – for Walmart Media Group, the omnichannel customer continuity is already there.”

“If Walmart’s advertising platform can help close the gap between digital advertising and conversion for the biggest retailer in the country it would be a big step forward for the industry,” Lance Porigow, CMO at digital agency The Shipyard told Advertising Age. “Of course, that’s if Walmart is willing to share that data.” 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How critical is the introduction of a self-serve ad platform for Walmart’s advertising ambitions? Is Walmart’s extensive data on offline sales a major advantage in competing for advertising dollars against Amazon, Facebook and Google?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This overall move will definitely encourage suppliers to diversify their ad dollars."
"While Walmart has been able to effectively compete with Amazon in many ways, it’s not even close when it comes to the monetization of its ad platform."
"Amazon’s self serve ad platform’s have been wildly successful, for Amazon and advertisers, and Walmart wants in on the action."

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6 Comments on "Walmart rolls out self-serve ads"


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Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

This is a major development that validates retailers’ move toward platform monetization and leverage (not just selling stuff). It also backs up Walmart’s unique ability to link its physical scale to its digital platform. Walmart has been quite proactive on this front and has a lot of clout with marketers as a result. As is typical for Walmart, the self-serve ad play checks many boxes and Walmart isn’t the only one who will benefit.

Shikha Jain
BrainTrust

This overall move will definitely encourage suppliers to diversify their ad dollars. However, one drawback with an auction-based model is that buyers with deeper pockets will have the ability to dominate bids leaving some of the smaller buyers out of desirable online retail space.

Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

While Walmart has been able to effectively compete with Amazon in many ways, it’s not even close when it comes to the monetization of its ad platform. There’s a tremendous amount of potential value in Walmart’s data, and especially in how it could connect its media platform to its physical stores – something Amazon can’t do. I think it’s the right move for Walmart to reset its ad platform strategy and tap into this potentially significant and lucrative asset.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

Walmart continues to make just plain old smart moves. Here’s to another one! For my 2 cents.

Liz Adamson
BrainTrust

Amazon’s self serve ad platform’s have been wildly successful, for Amazon and advertisers, and Walmart wants in on the action. The opportunity to leverage its in-store and online data will make it a powerful player in digital advertising and will give advertisers another channel to raise visibility for their products and brand.

Shikha Jain
BrainTrust

Auction-based models are a great market clearing system and Walmart has a lot of valuable data that CPG manufacturers want. However, the one downside is to manage is that auction-based pricing can create an uneven playing field where larger players with deeper pockets for advertising budget can get access to the best online real estate and leave some of the mid-sized and smaller players behind. A top of mind solution would be to create limits either as monetary value or volume-based to show to all manufacturers and suppliers a true sense of partnership.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This overall move will definitely encourage suppliers to diversify their ad dollars."
"While Walmart has been able to effectively compete with Amazon in many ways, it’s not even close when it comes to the monetization of its ad platform."
"Amazon’s self serve ad platform’s have been wildly successful, for Amazon and advertisers, and Walmart wants in on the action."

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