Albertsons Cos. retail media arm, the Albertsons Media Collective, has unveiled a preliminary framework that it will share to help standardize specifications, methodologies, terminology and disclosures across retail media networks.
Albertsons said Thursday that the first version of the framework, detailed in an Albertsons Media Collective white paper, focuses on product characteristics, performance measurement, third-party verification and capabilities. Plans call for the framework to be finalized after “pressure-testing” industrywide priorities and ensuring executional feasibility. With guidance from an advisory group, the framework also is slated to expand and evolve to support key initiatives of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
“While retail media is booming, the lack of standardization has produced an unnecessarily complex, inefficient and costly ecosystem. For retail media to achieve its full promise, we must tackle the issue of standardization head on,” Kristi Argyilan, senior vice president of retail media for Albertsons Cos., said in a statement.
“To ensure the survival of this industry, we must come together toward a greater goal. We believe this framework will serve as a starting point for creating a unified approach to retail media standardization,” she explained. “Setting a new gold standard is the first stepping stone to revolutionizing how advertisers, agencies and retail media networks work together.”
Indeed, the proliferation of digital retail media has pushed advertisers and agencies to allocate significant resources to produce varying ad formats and to transact, measure and integrate insights from each platform, Albertsons noted. As a result, advertisers are encountering difficulties in cross-platform comparison, limited transparency and inconsistent reporting.
The stakes are big. Retail media networks are projected to generate $106 billion in U.S. ad spending by 2027, more than double the $45 billion expected for 2023, according to eMarketer estimates cited by Albertsons.
At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France, Albertsons Media Collective hosted a retail media discussion session, titled “Transforming Retail Media Through Standardization,” with leaders from Omnicom Media Group, Pinterest and R3.
Albertsons in January partnered with Omnicom Media Group (OMG) on a solution to help consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands better target shoppers through connected TV (CTV) streaming media.
“Omnicom Media Group shares Albertsons Media Collective’s commitment to assuring advertisers can have confidence in their retail media investments, and their belief that confidence can best be achieved through standardization,” stated Ben Hovaness, senior vice president of marketplace intelligence for media services firm Omnicom Media Group. “That’s why OMG created the Council on Accountability and Standards in Advertising (CASA), and why we stand with the Collective as active advocates for assuring clarity, safety and transparency in this rapidly growing investment channel.”
Standardization in retail media will improve the consumer shopping journey as well, Albertsons added. Personalized ads on retail media networks, based on consumer opt-in data, help customers quickly find products that align with their needs and desires, saving them time while driving product discovery.
“At Unilever, we are supportive of this work stream, as we believe it’s essential for the industry to come together to tackle standardization when it comes to attribution, measurement, frequency of reporting and transparency,” Aaron Sobol, head of U.S. media investment and partnerships at consumer products giant Unilever. “We continue to be an advocate for industrywide solutions.”
Albertsons formed the Albertsons Media Collective retail media network in late 2021 as a way to provide “shopper-centric and engaging” branded content to customers across the retailer’s digital properties, as well as to offer CPG partners a digital marketing platform and omnichannel solutions, namely to connect brands with their most loyal shoppers. The Collective offers near real-time data from more than 30 million consumers who shop at Albertsons Cos. supermarkets in-store and online weekly. The Boise, Idaho-based retailers operates nearly 2,300 stores—including more than 1,700 pharmacies and about 400 fuel stations—under two dozen banners in 34 states and the District of Columbia.
Retail media stands as a huge revenue-generating opportunity for Albertsons and merger partner The Kroger Co., which plans to acquire the Boise, Idaho-based food and drug retailer in a $24.6 billion deal announced in mid-October. Combined, the nation’s two biggest supermarket retailers draw a national audience of 85 million households across their physical and digital properties.