The Latest in RMNs

And how publishers should address the rise of commerce media

In 2024, retail media networks (RMNs) continue to expand as advertisers increasingly make them a crucial piece of their media strategies. With 73% of marketers upping RMN spend this quarter, greater standardization being developed, and more expansive advertising use cases emerging, the loop between media impressions and commerce transactions is quickly closing. 

Given this landscape, publishers must consider the latest RNM advancements and craft strategies that leverage their own first-party data and unique expertise. RMNs must also expand their foundational capabilities in targeting, measurement, and reporting—must-haves for marketers. Publishers should court RMNs as partners.

We’re breaking down the latest news and trends in RMNs with thoughts on how publishers and RMNs can grow their share of wallets amid the shifting landscape.

Walmart acquires Vizio

At the end of February, Walmart acquired smart TV manufacturer Vizio, which has significant IP-address-level viewing data and first-party automatic content recognition technology. It’s a grab for more data and ad sales. The move will bolster Walmart’s retail media offering, dubbed Walmart Connect, by adding streaming capabilities. 

With Vizio, Walmart will grow its advertiser base. It will gain access to 18 million active accounts to reach consumers via CTV and more than 500 direct advertiser relationships, which include several Fortune 500 companies. 

The Vizio deal raises red flags about the prospect of a walled retail media garden. 68% of advertisers say walled garden environments are one of the biggest challenges they face with RMNs. Some advertisers reliant on Vizio are now concerned that buying, planning, and measurement options will shrink

What it means for the market

The pressure is on RMNs other than Walmart Connect or Amazon. They need to consider how to expand their access to streaming inventory and the addressable market. 

RMNs still lack the transparency most marketers require. For publishers, this is a pain point that they can use to set themselves apart. They can prioritize advertisers’ need for robust access to campaign metrics and performance reports, which can be easily delivered by publishers when they have the right reporting in place. 

We may also see new partnerships. Savvy publishers could court this emergent RMN titan by enabling authenticated inventory and creating specific ad products and placements that leverage those authenticated audiences. Establishing this trusted, transparent value exchange between advertisers and RMNs can help both players succeed. 

Use cases expand

In Q4 2023, Forrester identified four core use cases for RMNs: first-party audience targeting, onsite activity, offsite activation, and near-real-time reporting. As standardization increases—-thanks to IAB’s continued development of RMN guidelines—these use cases (and more) will strengthen. Additional possibilities for RMN advertisers include data clean room environments for collaboration, multitouch attribution, forecasting and scenario planning, incrementality measurement, and creative asset management. By focusing on these expansion areas, RMNs can take a growing share of the global ad market. 

Publishers also have an opportunity to expand their offerings and create value alongside RMNs while simultaneously leveraging their relationships with consumers. New use cases for publishers leveraging RNM relationships include audience enhancement and verification by layering their insights across retailer data or leveraging RMN’s transactional data to showcase how their media can effectively drive incremental sales. 

AI is big here, too

AI has a powerful role in RMNs, making it a hot topic here, just like everywhere else. A generative AI strategy built upon relevant, custom-trained models may help retailers connect more closely with their shoppers. While most RMNs haven’t prioritized an AI strategy yet, some are getting ahead by focusing on applications that enhance existing workflows to maximize efficiency, streamline operations to unlock scaled revenue, and accelerate time to market for key initiatives. 

AI represents a chance for RMNs to build an operational framework that supports an ever-evolving channel mix that delivers omnichannel experiences. Bridging gaps between fragmented legacy systems may help RNMs access more revenue and decisively illustrate their impact on existing and potential clients. 

Naturally, publishers must also leverage AI to remain competitive and collaborative. This requires building a data foundation that properly ingests and organizes data to gain deep insights into user behavior and create more personalized experiences. With data aggregated into a first-party data lake or integrated with third-party data from SSPs, publishers can more precisely segment audiences and use AI to personalize at scale, optimize ad placement and formats, and more. 

Smart media planning, no matter what 

Retail media networks are here to stay. Their success driver is first-party data. 

While a significant player like Walmart might have mountains of purchase and viewing data, it doesn’t have access to the rest of the web’s data that publishers do—especially publishers with scale. Publishers understand user behavior with unmatched nuance, meaning RMNs and publishers still have unique roles in the digital ecosystem and are poised for meaningful collaboration. 

For small and large publishers alike, incentivizing users to share more of their data can be a meaningful way to expand data sets that marketers could otherwise not access, making them attractive partners across sectors. Going into Q2, the most critical questions for advertisers focus on how to access more data and better leverage what they have. 

For the next step—consolidating that wealth of information for proposals, media plan building, optimization, and reporting—Boostr has the technology to simplify data management, so you can skip the busywork and get straight to the insights that make your business sustainable and scalable. 

Find out more about how Boostr can serve you here


Boostr is the only platform that seamlessly integrates CRM and OMS capabilities to address the unique challenges of media advertising. With boostr, companies gain the unified visibility necessary to effectively manage, maximize and scale omnichannel ad revenue profitability with user-friendly workflows, actionable insights, and accurate forecasting.

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