In the latest episode of It's a Customer's World podcast, Andy Murray was joined by Jeff Bustos, VP of Commerce and Measurement at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, to discuss their journey to develop standards and definitions in an evolving retail media space. Their conversation addresses numerous challenges the retail media industry is facing today, and how collaboration can lead to a brighter future.
Jeff has spent over a decade in the media space at leading companies like GroupM and now is working to move the entire industry forward with the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Explore the highlights below!
Andy: How have you seen the retail media space evolve over the last few years?
Jeff: I remember when I started this probably back in 2014 when everybody was talking about how retargeting was a new fancy toy. And then Google introduced in-market audiences and affinity audiences where you were able to improve the intent signals beyond keyword intent to your search campaigns. And it was through that conversation, those new tools that Google provided that really had me move more towards programmatic lens when we looked at buying and trading of data cuz that was really where it's going.
Andy: What is IAB?
Jeff: IAB stands for the Interactive Advertising Bureau. We're a nonprofit and we bring the industry forward in developing standards and guidelines for publishers and ad tech providers. So that buyers can all talk the same language in conversation. The fact that we have terms and conditions right now across all agencies is because of the IAB. Agencies that have been around for close to over 10 years already, or even, basic taxonomy standards or ad placement standards is all work that IAB has done in partnership with the MRC.
Andy: What challenge lies ahead on reaching standardization of measurement?
Jeff: Retailers definitely want to differentiate themselves and it's important for them to differentiate themselves, but they should also look to automate their technology as much as possible. Because one of the issues would be that you differentiate yourself too much and you are going in the route the social media platform went that as a media buyer, I'm only going to buy the two biggest ones, and then whatever other social media platform aligns to my brand.
So if I'm a commerce platform, I'll probably buy Meta, Snapchat, and Pinterest. And then if I'm a business brand, I would do Meta and LinkedIn. So it'd always be like the big player and it will continue to be like that. But if you're able to really automate, deliver that scale, you are gonna be able to expand the number of people that are working with you.And then even from an automation perspective you want to make sure to understand that the real growth opportunity lies in the non endemic opportunity. Because there's a lot of data that a retailer has that someone beyond a CPG would want to use that data.
Andy: How will media agencies evolve with the growth of the RMN space?
Jeff: It's very different. I think that, From a media agency, you're using the fact that your publisher is gonna be really nice to you and it's going to wine and dine you, and you are buying their product like you're buying the ad placement. And one of the tensions right now from a retail media perspective is that retailer relationships with brands are literally the opposite. Where the brands are going to the retailers trying to convince them to sell them shelf space. So it's creating a tension in the ecosystem where channel or category trade managers at the retail side have to learn how to foster better relationships or change the way they're managing these relationships to make sure that, from a media perspective, you're managing a healthy growth of retail media. Because yes, it might be a small percentage of the spend, but the margins in retail media are so significant that I would make sure to prioritize those as well.
Andy: How can RMNs be viewed from a global perspective?
Jeff: I think Europe, from a technology standpoint is further ahead than the US from a retail media perspective. And then it's interesting what is happening in Latin America.
We're seeing a very different ecosystem, a retail media network where they're actually combining retailers with money transactions because money is a big part of Latin America and it's much more visible in the day to day aspects. So like money transfers, savings and everything. So it's retailers, but also the fact that you're able to manage your money within that.
So I think it's interesting seeing that evolution and we'll see that happen within the US. Because you know, we have the card analytics companies and I think that there will be more partnerships with retailers and them. I think there'll be an expansion, especially since retailers have that customer loyalty data. I think we're going to see more of those credit card companies or airlines come in next year. I think we're gonna see auto manufacturers next year. I think that's going to be interesting to see how that works out.
If you are interested in retail media, be sure to check out and subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts! You can find all previous episodes through the links below: