In another blow to old-school print circulars, Albertsons this week announced a partnership with Facebook parent Meta to replace them with shoppable digital weekly ads.
Albertsons Media Collective is working with mobile-first advertising platform Kargo on the pilot program to create “dynamic” ad campaigns across Facebook and Instagram. The retailer said the move is designed to “meet more consumers where they are.”
With the move, Albertsons said it becomes the first grocery retailer to move the weekly circular into a shoppable digital format on the popular social media platforms.
The initial phase of the program will feature general merchandise, health and beauty care products, Albertsons said. Through the Facebook and Instagram ads, shoppers will be able to connect to their local Albertsons store to clip offers and add items to their shopping lists.
The program, Albertsons said, will not only cut costs on print advertising but will boost consumer awareness of weekly sales and offers while also giving the retailer valuable shopper data.
“We are merging product and promotional data to enable advanced targeting, actionable content and measurable performance,” Albertsons Media Collective said in a LinkedIn post.
In the future, Albertsons plans to add dynamic localization and personalization features to its digital circulars while also rolling them out to connected TV and in-store displays, the company said.
As retail media networks have evolved in recent years, so too has the humble print grocery circular.
Kroger (which is currently planning a $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons) confirmed in May that it had started phasing out its weekly print circular in newspapers.
“Kroger is joining many retailers in shifting the way our weekly ads are distributed,” a Kroger spokesperson said at the time. “Printed copies will still be available in our stores for customers to peruse. Customers can also view our ads in the Kroger mobile app or at Kroger.com when they are planning their weekly grocery trips.”
In January, regional grocer Giant Eagle stopped delivering its print circular in Cleveland, pointing customers to digital ads. But a few months later, the grocer debuted a two-page print circular that also includes a QR code linking to additional sales.
Last month, Giant Eagle announced the formation of a retail media network, the Leap Media Group, an omnichannel marketing platform that’s fueled by consumer data from its 4 million myPerks loyalty members.
Retail media networks are expected to generate $820 billion in revenue by 2026, according to a report last year from consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
But some consumer groups have pushed back against the move to digital grocery advertising, saying it leaves millions of shoppers in the dark when it comes to money-saving opportunities.
In November, several consumer organizations sent a letter to the presidents of a dozen large supermarket chains, urging the grocers to figure out workarounds for print-focused shoppers—namely older adults and low-income households—so they, too, can access grocery deals.