Retail Media: The 3rd Party Data Alternate?

Aditya Labhe
3 min readMay 25, 2021


We have all been reading about the tremendous growth Amazon Ads has been able to achieve on the back of making its ad platform open-ended and more holistic.

And we have also more recently also heard of all the events surrounding the ambiguity that the likes of Google, Apple have brought on us when it comes to 3rd party cookies support and privacy-related decisions.

So is the increase in retail media adoption going to be the ultimate 3rd wheel winner in the future? Maybe so. But How?

  1. Retail Media Goes Mainstream: Amazon Ad business reported $7 Billion in the last quarter, that’s 7 with a B. But, Amazon is not the only retailer which is taking big bets on retail ad spends by opening up some of the ad placements on their websites. Walmart to Target to CVS to Home Depot to Kroger to Dollar Tree now have their own media networks. The same is the case in Europe and other major markets where retailers like Bol, Otto, Boots are opening some kind of retail media desks.
  2. Adtech Solutions, agencies and retailers are chipping in too: You can now buy media for Amazon ads via a lot of partners. Equally a lot of retailers are now partnering with the likes of CitrusAd, Criteo to build their own ad serving solutions. The retail media scene is getting busier by the day.

But how does it all tie back to retail media potentially being an alternative to some of the 3rd party shackles brands and agencies have found themselves into?

  1. Impact at Point of Purchase: Retail Media influences a consumer when they are actively looking to purchase a product on a retailer website, hence purchases intentions are high, hence CR% are stronger. More sales for retailers/ More sales for brands/ Better results for agencies. In short, everyone is happy.
  2. 1st party Data is retailer property: Sales taking place on “retailer” owned asset essentially means, retailers eventually own the 1st party consumer data. Amazon has now started to initiate some 1st party data sharing initiative such as “follow” buttons on brand shops. This data sharing is bound to open up on more retailers, plus, a closed environment means a consumer is just abiding by “retailer-specific” t&c. Imagine this scenario:

“ Consumer with “consumer id X” frequently visits petco to refill their pet food supply. Wouldn’t Royal Canin want to reach out to the consumer right then and there vs having to search for them around the web? Now Imagine, if Petco is able to provide this type of information to an advertiser.

3. 3rd party providers moving in this space: Finally, we are seeing a lot of 3rd party providers turning to this space. For example, Criteo acquiring Mabaya, InMobi’s entry in the in-game shopping ads. As and when the budgets would start getting diverted to some of the on-retailer ad placements and if recent indications are to believe, the budgets are swinging in this direction, 3rd party data solutions would start investing in this space sooner or later.

To conclude, solutions and offerings that enable digital contextual ads, retail media more seamlessly would attract some interests. Retail media provide more relevant options in the form of ad placement to a consumer, this might be the very reason why brands would want to invest in this space. But we shall wait and watch.



Aditya Labhe

Thinker | Writer | Photographer | Learner | Adboy | Idea builder | Design enthusiast