Home The Big Story The Big Story: Commerce Media Flywheel

The Big Story: Commerce Media Flywheel


How big is commerce media? Big enough that Omnicom snapped up Flywheel Digital for $835 million. Flywheel began by helping brands with their Amazon presence, from their product page to their advertising spend. Now it pitches itself as a platform and agency-like services.

This is actually the second exit for Flywheel. Ascential, which also owns the Cannes Lions advertising festival, bought Flywheel for a much smaller $60 million in 2018, with another $400 million of possible earn-outs. In the first half of this episode, we’ll discuss what Flywheel does and why it’s so appealing to Omnicom.

Then, we unpack custom algorithms in programmatic. If you are, say, a commerce advertiser, using custom bidders can make it easier to have your programmatic spend optimize for purchases or even a specific metric, such as foot traffic in store.

Two startups, Scibids and Chalice Custom Algorithms, are taking on this space, and they have formidable challengers – Meta’s Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns and Google’s Performance Max – which launched their own custom algorithms in the past year and a half.

While Google and Meta can use their collective knowledge to train algorithms even for small advertisers, startups often need data sets the size of a large US state to build custom algorithms. But, while platforms offer little in the way of transparency, independent companies are differentiating themselves by the full access to where brands are spending and the insights gleaned from the custom algorithms.

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