The body representing brand owners advertising in the UK – ISBA – has launched a retail media framework in a bid to “drive standardisation” in the burgeoning channel.
The Responsible Retail Media Framework – which was written in collaboration with several retailers and brands including Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Boots, Heineken and Unilever – will help create an “open and consistent landscape, where brands know what to ask for and retailers know what to aspire to”, ISBA said.
One major issue facing brands who want to make the most of retail media is inconsistency in the metrics offered by retailers and opaque shared information of how campaigns have performed. This makes it difficult to compare the success of campaigns with one retail media network against another.
“The promise of the retail media landscape is welcomed by brands, widening the opportunities for privacy-first marketing opportunities for brand penetration, as well as being able to reach customers at the point of sale,” said Phil Smith, director general, ISBA. “But its rapid growth has been slowed due to the fragmentation and lack of standardisation in the channel. Marketers need to properly understand the effectiveness of their media investments in all channels and our members are keen to begin scaling in retail media.”
Retail media has been around for some time, but is becoming an area of focus for both brands seeking more targeted marketing opportunities, and retailers who are realising the value of their first party data and ability to influence customers at the point of purchase. Sainsbury’s chief marketing officer Mark Given has referred to advertising as “the hidden profit stream for many big retailers”, an outlook shared by Tesco CEO Ken Murphy, who said advertising could be a “significant contributor over time” to its revenue.
Goldman Sachs forecasts UK grocery retail media market value to hit £2bn by 2024.
“While retail media has experienced rapid growth and evolution in the UK, brand investment has been slower due to a fragmented and uneven landscape across, for instance, definitions and measurement,” ISBA said. “The mounting pressure on brands to demonstrate the effectiveness of all their media investments requires the need for retailers to develop retail media propositions that effectively address those brand challenges.”
The new framework has been broadly welcomed by the sector. Bianca Hall, insights director at commerce marketing agency SMG, called it a “brilliant framework to use as both a short-term and long-term roadmap”.
“Retailers are actively having to overcome technical barriers in terms of updating tech stacks to make extracting data easier. Whilst there is progress and growth relating to loyalty card data, without the right data coverage, those metrics are going to fall short to enable us to glean as much information as we can. Navigating the complex retail media landscape means working with multiple different media owners who all have different tech stacks and different KPIs and measures of success, so it’s really important we find the balance and don’t lose sight of what we are really hoping to achieve – understanding how the media has performed,” she said.
Hall added retailers needed to start being more open even “if results aren’t favourable” so brands can “learn from those campaigns and take action for the future”.
Given called it a “very valuable piece of work”.
The framework follows a similar effort by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Media Rating Council, which in September published its Retail Media Measurement Guidelines, which “aims to bring uniformity and credibility to retail media measurement” covering both digital and in-store media.
“Standardisation is critical to sustainable growth in retail media,” said Dean Harris, head of membership commercial, Co-op. “We need to find that common language of performance that facilitates smarter decisions, more trust, greater transparency and – ultimately – better advertising. We need to shift the retail media discussion into innovation, strategy, planning, creative and execution. The only way to do that is to stop talking about standardisation. And the only way to do that is to deliver it.”