Retail Media Rookies Want Theirs; L’Oréal Pays To Take Down Paywalls In Brazil

Comic: Alternative Currencies

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Retail Media Mania 

Feels like everyone and their Marriott – I mean, their mother – is or has a media network now. At its Digital Media Summit last week, LUMA Partners projected that retail media alone will be a $60 billion market by 2024, poised to rival TV ad spend.

Why the boom? It’s all about attribution.

Retail media networks are like mini walled gardens compared with the open web, where last-click attribution still reigns (even though everyone hates it), according to Mike Shields in a recent Substack.

Although consumers spend as much as 60% of their online time on the open web, purchases usually happen elsewhere. That’s why Google gets credit for ad clicks even when those clicks were driven by a CTV ad, for example. Great for Google … not so great for everyone else.

The challenge for everyone else is how to track users throughout the purchase journey. “You need a huge footprint and a huge amount of data,” Shields writes. 

Barring that, the open web can only hope that retail media networks, brands and publishers share their wealth and work together. “The more reasons you can give them to share,” Criteo CEO Megan Clarken said at LUMA’s event, “the more access you have to first-party data.”

Scaling The Wall

L’Oréal Paris ran a three-month campaign called Paywall Down, which paid to remove paywalls from Brazilian news stories about sexual harassment across Condé Nast titles and Editora Globo, a Brazilian publishing house.

“L’Oréal Paris understands the need to circulate information to help combat harassment in public spaces, which is not always easy to identify,” said Laura Parkinson, director of L’Oréal Paris in Brazil, in a release. “As a world-leading female brand, we need to educate and inform, this is also our role.”

It’s surprising that paywall removal sponsorships like this aren’t a more common tactic. The L’Oréal Paris campaign is tied to a specific social issue in Brazil, where roughly 90% of people have already encountered disinformation on social networks.

But paying publishers to take down their paywalls in the name of generic do-goodery, like supporting journalism, would be reason enough. Although, really, brands don’t need an advocacy-based reason at all. A music brand could do this for a music site, a fashion brand for a fashion site – and the same for travel, culture, lifestyle or any other paywalled publisher.

Because it’s a win/win. Visitors get free access, but they still see ads, so the site gets sponsor revenue, ad revenue and the opportunity to generate more impressions, collect data and expand its prospecting pool.

Especially for publishers that may have overstepped the line with a too-rigid paywall approach, why not make a little cash while they walk it back?

Don’t Rate The Player, Rate The Game

Behind the scenes, alternative currencies are all anyone can talk about. But they didn’t play a starring role in the TV upfronts this year. Instead, it was crickets. 

“The currency thing, it’s kind of just hit a wall,” one television network exec tells Digiday.

Advertisers are open to testing new ad measurement solutions. But with an emphasis on “testing.”

The broadcasters are eager for a change, but haven’t convinced advertisers.

Sharon Cullen, president of integrated investment at Omnicom’s Hearts & Science, says the agency has been testing Nielsen alternatives, “but that being said, we’re not 100% confident that that’s what we should be transacting on this upfront.” 

For one thing, even if iSpot, NBCU’s replacement currency of choice, does outperform Nielsen, it still needs time to make that case – and fight against Nielsen’s very strong incumbency advantage.

Advertisers won’t make large guaranteed ad deals on measurement technology that hasn’t been tested like crazy. And not just tested, but tested specifically against Nielsen ratings in some kind of media-mix-modeled bakeoff.

“We’re paying for Nielsen ratings anyway, and we won’t agree to [an alternative] currency without having done tests against Nielsen,” says one agency buyer.

But Wait, There’s More!

Near, a location-based user profile provider, raises $10 million and goes public via SPAC merger. [TechCrunch]

Meta to squeeze money from WhatsApp with Cloud API for businesses. [The Register]

Why the WFA, an ad industry advocacy group, supports the EU’s Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act. [Ad Age]

Twitter tightens its content moderation policy to combat misinformation. [Adweek]

You’re Hired!

Basis Technologies names former Progress Partners managing director Jeff Coon as its new chief strategy officer. [release]

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