Before the pandemic, UM was working with a handful of clients on retail media and commerce investments that totaled about a few hundred million dollars in billings. Now, as many 40 clients are driving $2 billion in global commerce billings for the agency.
The retail media space is ballooning, and not just at UM.
By 2026, retail media will account for as much as 25% of all digital ad spend, according to Boston Consulting Group estimates. As the space becomes more important, UM’s clients often wonder how much they should spend with retailers, and how much retail media investments will drive sales.
Now, the IPG Mediabrands agency is tackling that question with its proprietary tool called Shoptimizer. The agency’s Commerce Practice will rely on the tool to plan and buy retail media.
It’s been effective so far.
The agency used the tool to plan commerce media buys for several large consumer companies during a test phase. Those brands experienced between 12% and 15% lift in incremental sales. Those that tested the technology told the agency they enjoyed more transparency, and admitted Shoptimizer gave them a deeper understanding of how retail media networks contribute to their bottom line.
W. Joe DeMiero, U.S. CEO of UM, compared the state of commerce to the early days of social media, mobile and the internet. “It’s very fragmented, it’s very confusing for clients, it’s hard to just do the basic level of integration to get the appropriate analytics for accountability and measurement,” he said.
‘We’re doing this manually’
Shoptimizer is one of Mediabrands’ new offerings, tucked into a dedicated business unit it’s dubbed the Unified Retail Media Solution. That practice helps clients manage their commerce investments and view media performance across all the retail media networks.
UM has a long history of work in the commerce space, led for about a decade by its U.S. head of commerce, Amie Owen. An older tool, UM’s ShopSmart dashboard, sorts commerce media solutions by KPI and retailer. It’s the foundation the new Shoptimizer tool rests upon.