Like several consumer packaged goods brands today, maternal care company Lansinoh Laboratories Inc. spends the bulk of its ad budget on retail media—investing about 80% in the space with networks including Amazon, Target and Walmart. It’s a reversal from five years ago, when 80% of Lansinoh’s budget went to digital marketing and just 20% went to retail media.
With the ramp-up comes an increase in needs and resources, according to Umer Paracha, director of e-commerce and digital marketing at Alexandria, Virginia-based Lansinoh.
“The biggest challenge is every media network requires a different set of assets—that’s a huge burden,” he said, noting that his team has to create a different set of ads tailored to each individual network’s specifications. “We’re dedicating time to create content for each channel.”
Lansinoh’s issue exemplifies one of several challenges in retail media today. As the category, in which retailers essentially perform media duties for brands, sees skyrocketing growth, prevalent issues are emerging that paint a less rosy picture than glowing forecasts would have the industry believe.
The growing number of networks—there are roughly 20 large retail media networks but closer to 100 in total, experts say—have brands scrambling to manage and measure their advertising dollars across a disparate group that lacks any universal consistency. Along with the lack of standardization, campaign performance is also difficult to discern as each retailer uses its own measurement data, much of which is proprietary for competitive reasons. Some efforts are underway—including the formation of new groups examining measurement issues and looking for standardization across platforms on behalf of CPG brands—but they are still nascent.
“Retailers own the data and there’s a black box of attribution—they provide back measurement reports and things like that and it’s great,” said Jacquelyn Baker, chief experience officer at VMLY&R Commerce, which works with roughly 50 brands on retail media advertising. “But there’s a lack in the industry of credibility and believability in results you’re getting back because you have the retailers grading their own homework against a measurement model that differs from one to the next.”