The Supply Side: Sam’s Club leaning into media advertising business

Taking a cue from its parent Walmart Inc., which has shown retail media can boost the bottom line, Sam’s Club execs said their top priority is member experience. Still, ad revenue also has the potential to increase net income.

Austin Leonard, head of sales for MAP, which is Sam’s Club’s newest advertising program, said ad revenue has grown 50% in the past year since the relaunch of MAP, or Member Access Platform, last June. He said MAP’s mission is to provide members with the most valuable ad experience while also growing revenue for Sam’s Club. The retailer chose not to disclose any dollar value associated with MAP.

Leonard said there are two areas that set MAP apart from previous offerings. MAP launched an intelligent retargeting feature that eliminates irrelevant ads from being shown to customers who have already purchased the item. He said the member has a better experience, and advertisers can use their budgets more efficiently by not targeting members no longer in the market for their products.

Sam’s Club said it’s working with The Trade Desk and LiveRamp (RAMP) to leverage member data unique to the retailer, advertiser data, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, real-time behavioral insights from Sam’s Club to make advertising campaigns more innovative, effective and personalized. Leonard said advertisers have long wanted to optimize retargeting but often bombarded consumers with repetitive or irrelevant ads due to inaccurate and incomplete data.

MAP uses real-time, accurate data from registered Sam’s Club members, including exact data on purchase history, demographics, recent purchases of similar items, and basket size. The data is not available on other retail media platforms.

“Advertisers are now able to target based on what we know members are in the market for right now. We can stop serving these members ads once they complete their purchase at any Sam’s Club or on any device,” Leonard said.

He said suppliers are also happy with the retargeting feature. Mic Zavarella, vice president of marketing at PepsiCo, said the retargeting feature with MAP allows the brand to “automate targeting, personalizing messaging and creating sophisticated media workflows that maximize our campaigns.”

Leonard said MAP’s retargeting feature delivers tangible results and incremental return on ad spend because it connects ads to membership data and behavior in real-time. He said MAP could give advertisers a variety of retargeting data.

“Retargeting is a tried and true tactic for Nestlé Purina in the e-commerce and digital media world. We’re excited to see the power of omnichannel data come to retargeting that can drive both performance and brand awareness at scale,” said Tony DiMattia, director and head of shopper marketing at Nestlé Purina.


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