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Decentralized Retail Media: as retail media options proliferate, tech emerges to aggregate

Jul 2, 2024 by Mike Mallazzo, Contributing Editor, Martech Record

Retail media is paradoxically both a lifeline and a threat to commerce publishers and creators. While tapping into retail media campaigns significantly increases the expected earnings per click on product reviews, retailers themselves are now competitors for the most lucrative brand IOs. 

Today, the vast majority of this $100B+ retail media industry is pretty boring and leaves publishers on the outside looking in–it’s simply brands buying little sponsored squares in search results on Amazon, Walmart and a longtail of other large retailers. 

Much like Google branded search, this is the most reductionist, myopically lucrative and least interesting low-hanging fruit for advertisers. Retail media really gets fun and incremental when it “decentralizes” to live outside of small onsite ecosystems and across the articles, social media posts and unboxing videos where shoppers actually make decisions on what to buy. This is happening, as our friend Hemingway would say, “gradually, then suddenly,” injecting an influx of net new dollars into what was traditionally an affiliate ecosystem. For my money, this is the most important trend in our space which will lead to both new startup creation and a flurry of M & A activity as the industry resets around retail media dollars.

Below are four new product offerings in the space to watch powering the decentralization of retail media. 

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