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Meta Expands Retail Marketing Offering, As Retail Media Booms

Amid the boom in retail media, Meta has expanded its retail marketing offering to reach more customers and sell more products.

According to a report from WARC Media and GroupM, total search advertising spend is projected to reach $US350.4bn this year, with $US93.8bn coming from retail media, which accounts for 26.8% of the total spend.

Alex Brownsell, Head of Content, WARC Media

The search market is on the cusp of an era of innovation.

Google’s long-standing market dominance is set to come under unprecedented pressure as consumers pivot away from text-based search towards discovery on social, generative AI reinvents the search experience, and the explosive growth of retail media, the majority of which is search-orientated, continues.”

What is retail media?

You know those little blocks of sponsored product ads you see while browsing for products on your favourite online retailer? Well, that’s retail media. You could be shown an advert for a gaming console while browsing electronics on Amazon – or a selection of food items while doing an online grocery shop.

It’s handy for brands because it relies on first-party data gathered from a user’s browsing history – as one retail media insider explains.

Loretta Jordan, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Criteo Retail Media

“Personalised advertising isn’t going away; it will just rely more on data being executed on in a first-party environment. Retailers are well-positioned to target consumers using first-party data [and create] an environment with actual sales-based measurement, because [the sales] are happening on the retailer’s site as well.”

Another era of search marketing

The next era of search marketing, ushered in by innovations such as retail media, is nearly upon us. Even though growth has been steady for search, innovations such as retail media continue to see more ad spend places in areas away from traditional paid search.

As more money is spent on retail media, marketers and advertisers may face an uncomfortable trade-off – old heroes like SEO and paid search may become less important.

With 6.2% growth this year, search is still performing well – although nearly 40% of the market is in the United States. Other areas of the world place less emphasis on search, especially in APAC, where social commerce is more established.

However, Japan and China are forecast to increase search spending in 2023 to $7.4bn USD and $19bn USD, respectively.

Challenges are on the horizon

While retail media is experiencing strong performances, search, in general, is being challenged in a way that hasn’t been seen before. In particular, younger audiences seek information on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Data from GWI shows that 27.5% of internet users opened TikTok to perform a search – an increase of nearly 10% from just three years ago.

Meanwhile, 76% of marketers think they’ll increase ad spending with TikTok. That extra cash has to come from somewhere, so it’s not unthinkable to see shrinking search budgets.

Meta’s latest retail media offerings

That all brings us to Meta’s latest retail media offerings.

Managed Partner Ads Lite is a product that lets marketers partner with retail media networks.


“Meta is helping these retailers and brands build even stronger partnerships through Managed Partner Ads Lite, also currently in testing, which allows retailers to drive demand for products on our platforms using CRM insights from the retailer.

Testing has been positive. Walgreens Advertising Group partnered with Meta and a consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand to optimise online sales of 75 products. The result? A 3.9% increase in health remedies and a 2.5% increase in skin care products sold.

Bigger retail brands could benefit from this new ad product, especially as it allows them to use their own data to enhance ad targeting.

Local inventory ads

Local Inventory Ads let marketers target users near their store to display product availability and pricing in ads. While Managed Partner Ads Lite relied on first-party data, this one only works well if users have location tracking enabled on devices. However, if users have it enabled, it could help brands to reach local audiences with relevant advertising.

Got a special sale on? Local Inventory Ads can help you reach those most likely to pop down to the store, and as such, are useful to all advertisers.

Meta also has a few other related offerings that advertisers could use to improve advertising performance.

Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns (ASC) help advertisers increase ad performance and learn about what’s working and what isn’t thanks to its automated tools.


“ASC uses AI to test up to 150 different combinations of ad creative, unlocking new customers and helping marketers understand what is resonating with those most interested in their products.”

Branded Content Ads

Businesses can partner with creators via Branded Content Ads – a powerful way to reach Gen Zs. According to data from Meta, nearly four out of five of them take a shopping action due to seeing content from a creator.

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