PubForum Miami: Why Publishers Need to Invest in Commerce Media

What does the future hold for commerce media? That’s the question Eric Brackmann, Head of Commerce Media, Koddi, addressed at this month’s PubForum Miami. He walked attendees through the definition of commerce media, why it’s important to learn how this sector is evolving, and how to embrace all commerce media has to offer.  

What Differentiates Commerce & Retail Media

Commerce media is different from retail media in two major ways, says Brackmann. First, commerce media includes all industries, and not just the retailers themselves, but their websites focusing on separate divisions such as travel, automotive, and financial services. 

“Second, and I think the part that is more germane to this group, is we aren’t talking only about onsite media. Instead, we’re talking about how to broaden that concept to engage audiences on publishers across the open internet,” explained Brackmann. This means retailers are utilizing first-party data across the space of the internet to find a select group of publishers to partner with. 

Exclusive Ad Experiences Drive Value

Commerce media is generally offered by invitation only in private marketplaces rather than in open exchanges, Brackmann noted. “You may have heard of the PMP concept that’s been popular in the industry for the last couple of years. They tend to have exclusive inventory that’s on-site inventory and exclusive audiences,” he said. These companies will use zero and first-party data for targeting users and to offer them unique advertising experiences. 

These exclusive ad experiences bring value to the consumer, the advertiser, and the site that is offering the experience. Increasingly, Brackmann says, commerce media brands are working with specific publishers on exclusive deals, driving curated experiences for specific audiences. 

Even in-store experiences are beginning to be powered and influenced by commerce media. In fact, the landscape of in-store shopping is changing generally, with over 15 percent of commerce now happening online. This shift, notes Brackmann, necessitates a different way of thinking about how we shop and where money is actually being made. 

For example, he shared that Amazon makes about 68% of its revenue from ads. Indeed, if you shop on Amazon’s site for certain products, 80 percent of the page will consist of ads, which Brackmann says the majority of users noted indifference to, and more people felt the ads were helpful than those who thought they were annoying. 

If even a huge retailer like Amazon is making most of its profit from ads, that is a shift in the overall landscape of digital media, and creating a burgeoning new industry that did not exist a few years ago. “The interesting part about this is one in five digital media dollars will be spent within a commerce media network by 2026,” said Brackmann, noting that many of these dollars are coming from other sectors and therefore increasing the overall size of the advertising pie.

Seizing the Opportunity Commerce Media Provides

This is leading to an increase in ownership of experiences. Commerce companies today are building portals and other technological solutions to engage their users in a meaningful way. Brackmann explained that for advertisers, this means custom opportunities and targets that make sense in the context of the commerce site. 

So what can you do today to thrive in the world of commerce media? Brackmann suggests two things. First, invest in your brand; think about what you can do to make your experience better as things rapidly evolve in areas like buying, optimization, and delivery.

Second, address your operating model and how you will support new needs from advertisers. “That’s an area to invest in,” Brackmann advised.

Lastly, Brackmann noted, new partnerships are everywhere. “New channels, CTV, new experiences folks can drive by partnering together in a new and unique way. As publishers, how do you partner with commerce brands to do something special?” He says partnerships can offer the consumer a differentiated and surprising experience that translates directly into value. 

“The three things I want everybody to take away: commerce media is a huge opportunity for everybody here. You need to own the capabilities both from a technology and organizational perspective to be able to maximize your investment. And be open to new partnerships, all sorts of new things are happening in the industry,” Brackmann concluded.