PubMatic launches self-serve retail media ads platform

PubMatic launches self-serve retail media ads platform

Adtech provider PubMatic has launched Convert, a unified self-service ad platform for commerce media.

Built on PubMatic’s cloud infrastructure, Convert is for the world’s growing cohort of commerce media networks in which retailers and other major businesses launch niche advertising offerings based on the first-party data they have collected from their customers.

PubMatic said Convert can enable both onsite and offsite monetisation, including sponsored listing ads and connected TV. IPG Mediabrands, Dentsu, Lyft Media, MiQ, and Wallapop have joined PubMatic as partners in the development of the platform.

PubMatic said Convert is an “unbiased, privacy-centric full-stack solution” that ensures transparency in fee and pricing structures along with automation and scalability for commerce media networks and advertisers.

Analysis: simplifying a booming but fragmented media channel

PubMatic’s product launch today is the latest attempt by adtech to better serve the industry’s growing interest in retail media, which the cool kids are now rebadging as commerce media.

Did I write “growing”? I should have described interest as booming. PubMatic said it has seen a 50% increase in the number of commerce customers year-over-year. According to WPP’s GroupM, the global commerce media market is projected to surpass $140bn by 2025.

However, as a new way for advertisers reaching consumers, it is heavily fragmented. Different large retailers have adopted very different platforms and offerings and their advertisers may have to rely on multiple technology layers. Clearly major adtech providers like PubMatic are hoping to benefit from a more simplified (or omnichannel) offering that will likely appeal to a range of international advertisers.

But simplicity will likely not be enough. As Archmon founder and media strategist Simon Akers wrote recently: “[R]etail media partnerships don’t help either commerce advertisers’ or players’ minds open up on the possibilities of retail media.”

Those possibilities range from retailers investing in user experience (thinking carefully about granular elements like the alignment of images, placements, load speeds, product description lengths etc), making more from affiliate marketing relationships, and the c-word: creative.

However, a recent Publicis Groupe survey warned that retailers and brands want retail media networks to have a better quality advertiser experience, range of inventory, data collaboration, measurement and targeting capabilities.

There is only so much a self-serve platform can offer. Simplicity is not a substitute for good strategy.

Editor’s note: An original version of this story quoted Coles Group as being part of Convert, but the retailer has since asked for reference to their company to be removed. A Pubmatic spokesperson informed us after publication that there has been a “miscommunication”.

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