Retail media is one of the most discussed topics in the industry today, with a new retail media network being launched every 1-2 months. Indeed, 81% of consumer packaged goods brands plan to grow investments in retail media networks in the next 12 months, making it a very lucrative solution for retailers seeking to monetize their data and media assets.

If leveraged properly, organizations can drastically increase their revenue streams by utilizing retail media opportunities. Forrester estimates that by next year, retail media will be a $50 billion advertising business globally. Amazon enjoys $10 billion in revenue from its retail media network, similar to other retail giants like Walmart, Target, and Kroger. 

While the opportunities retail media networks offer are significant, their benefits need not be available to retail giants alone. How can smaller retailers access the potential benefits provided by retail media?

What is a retail media network?

A retail media network allows online retailers to monetize their online space by setting up an advertising platform on their website, app, or other digital platforms within their network. This digital form of in-store advertising allows the store and other brands to advertise to customers on-site. A retail media network offers data insights and retailers’ channels such as websites and apps, along with off-site advertising. It enables advertisers to reach shoppers along the various stages of the buyer journey. Profit margins in retail are typically very small, while media businesses can enjoy margins of between 50% and 70%. Retailers are eager to optimize the powerful revenue stream offered by retail media networks. It allows them to attract brand investments and customers by collaboratively running ads with their brands and leveraging their first-party data to digitally influence sales. Retail media lets retailers connect with their customers when their purchase intent is highest, running ads that lead to product discovery and repeat shopping. Running ads closer to the point of sale makes it easier to prove return on ad spend. As such, they increase visibility and directly impact sales.   What’s more, cookie-blocking policies, such as those of Google and Apple,  have severely limited access to third-party data. As the access to cookies starts to crumble, retail media networks – which utilize first-party data – become even more significant, as first-party data is far more personalized, leading to better-performing ads. 

How to create and scale a retail media business?

Running a retail media network is easier said than done. To provide value for merchants, advertisers, and retailers, they require organizational and infrastructure changes as well as new processes. From data and data science to map first-party audience and SKU transactions to media management, and then all the way to performance and measurements that require data science capabilities, building an ad network is not a small undertaking. Yet, at the core of retail media is the relationship between brands and retailers, and the idea that to attract a brand’s funding, retailers should help them understand where to look, how to focus their objectives, and how to understand “how high is high?” when it comes to media spend.  Today, most of ciValue’s users, ranging from Grocery to specialty retailers across the globe, are already monetizing their media assets by building on their insights sharing and personalization practices.  Leveraging self-serve mechanisms for brands to access, in full transparency, the information and activations they need to design and optimize their media strategy is what we call at ciValue “retail media intelligence”.  Essentially, ciValue’s mission with our retail media intelligence solution is to enable any retailer that has sufficient data volume to derive value for their brands to launch a media monetization initiative in 60 days, and get their slice of the digital pie.

How to accelerate media monetization with retail media intelligence?

If you are looking at ways to accelerate your media monetization offering, we have compiled below our key tips:


Sharing customer-centric insights is the first step in the process that enables brands to decide whether or not to invest media spend with a specific retailer. Make sure your solution is transparent and ready to be shared with the brands, and that it offers value through access to category and brand insights. Also, you want to set expectations right with your partners and make sure you are aligned on what they need to see to progress and what they want to show to their management: ROAS, sales lift, volumes, etc.


Given that the digital world is much more fast-paced than the brick-and-mortar one, the traditional “weekly shelf talks” that retailers and brands used to have a need to be held at a much greater frequency – that is, almost in real-time. For this reason, you want to give a self-serve solution to brand users who can consume insights on their own time. In media more than anywhere else, the ability to “think big and fail fast” is crucial to optimize activities.


What powers the media business is the ability to reach the right targets, at the right time and with the right content. To achieve this, the ability to create hyper-targeted audiences, on the fly, across all the customer and sales data available is essential. In the specific context of retail media and collaborative ads activities, we highly encourage you to look for solutions that also offer these audience-building and segmentation capabilities to your brand partners – so you can all work collaboratively. 

Paving the path to media monetization

Overall, and as daunting as retail media network initiatives appear to be, retailers who can build on their existing data monetization programs often accelerate their path to media monetization. ciValue’s retail media intelligence solution is here to support these initiatives, offering a solution that can be up and running in 60 days. What’s more, and as retail media strategies are being discussed in every boardroom, we have identified the lack of industry standards and the fact that user-led best practices have grown. As we work to serve the marketing leaders transforming retail today, we have created the “retail talks initiative” to build a community of retail media pioneers, practitioners or curious professionals. Head to our group to learn more