Unlocking the potential of retail media requires careful planning, says Babs Kehinde, senior director of publisher development at PubMatic

For years, the retail media landscape in the UK has been dominated by Amazon and Tesco, among others, but times are changing, and many other retailers are looking to capitalise on the retail media opportunity.

Pivoting from pure retail to retail media requires a change in mindset, as the retailer switches from being a customer buying from brands to a media organisation selling to brands. This means that retailers have to invest in technology and create a ‘product’ that brands want to buy.

The path to success

As with all growth initiatives, there will be operational challenges that need to be solved to pave the path to success. In retail media, solving data challenges in order to transform disparate data into legally compliant, robust audience segments that deliver value to brands’ bottom line through advertising is important.


Retail media companies must proactively gain consumers’ consent to collect and use their data and store that consent in unified customer profiles synchronised across all platforms. These robust, legally compliant profiles act as a piece of the foundation of a lucrative audience monetisation strategy and also serve as a platform from which to build deeper, more trustworthy relationships with customers in order to continually grow the value of that data.

2. Segmentation

Unified profiles that account for everything from individual consent status to frequency of data updates to identity resolution helps to enable retailers to create highly refined audience segments that offer premium value to brand advertisers. For example, retailers can create segments based on shopping behaviours, product preferences, transaction history, product reviews and more meaning they can offer brands the ability to target consumers that are ready to buy.

With their first-party data in order, retailers can augment their existing customer profiles using second-party data acquired from trusted partners – known as second-party data exchanges. This data can then be used to further refine audience segments increasing the value to brand advertisers.

3. Technology

In order to get to market quickly, many retailers choose to work with ad-serving and supply-side technology partners that offer the ability to execute campaigns using their data and also help them to grow over time. This automated, data-driven, high-precision, flexible, and transparent targeting is the driving force behind the movement of ad spend to retail media.

When looking for a technology partner, it’s paramount to ask questions about their capabilities and experience in retail media to ensure that you’re investing in a technology that caters to the nuances of this new channel, not a generic digital platform that has been retrofitted.

Growing ambitions

One of the more ambitious ways retailers are driving revenue and growth is by further capitalising on the high demand for their first-party customer data. These audience monetisation initiatives are taking shape in a couple of ways. Some retailers are offering new data products and services to partners and manufacturers that sell products in their stores, an evolution of long-standing shopper marketing initiatives. Others are launching advertising products and media networks for brands that want to target their unique shopper audience more directly and accurately.

As Facebook and Google’s walled gardens continue to rise and third-party cookies crumble, advertisers are increasingly looking for new ways to reach their target audiences. For retailers, this changing climate presents an opportunity to develop new revenue streams. When retailers are able to unify data from disparate systems into a single customer view they create the potential to carve out advertising opportunities that deliver more value compared to other digital avenues and truly change the digital media landscape.

Learn more about how you make your data work in the growing commerce media space here.

Babs Kehinde is senior director of publisher development at PubMatic 

Babs Kehinde

Babs Kehinde is a seasoned executive with decades of experience in sales, business development and strategy across several successful media and technology companies.

As senior director of publisher development, he is responsible for growing the company’s publisher relationship with a current focus on audience data trading, PMP, programmatic video, CTV/OTT and in-app monetisation.

Prior to PubMatic, Kehinde held various director-level positions at OpenX, Essence and Yahoo!, playing a key role in their business development efforts. He has deep insights into the ad technology market.