- Walmart Media Group, the media network division of the big-box retailer, announced the launch of its first omnichannel reporting solution that is available at scale, per details shared with sister publication Marketing Dive.
- Performance Dashboards provide partners with real-time retail data on how Walmart Display and Sponsored Products campaigns are performing both in-store and online. The analytics offering is available through the Walmart Ad Center, a new single sign-in, self-serve platform that Walmart will feature more prominently in the coming months for brands looking to set up and manage their campaigns.
- Walmart beta tested Performance Dashboards with dozens of major marketers, including Nestlé Purina, Procter & Gamble, Mondelēz and Clorox. Partners provided "rave reviews" of the new tools, a blog post said.
With Performance Dashboards, Walmart is taking an important step to round out a self-serve ad platform it introduced at the start of the year. Access to real-time data on campaign performance is in high demand among advertisers looking to improve their efficiency, and Walmart's newest tools mirror well-established offerings from competitors, such as Google Analytics.
But Performance Dashboards also factor in areas of Walmart's business where the retailer has distinct strengths, particularly in omnichannel retail. Walmart retains a massive brick-and-mortar footprint, and roughly 90% of U.S. households shop at a physical Walmart location or on Walmart.com each year, according to internal data shared in the blog post.
Other companies that are racing to build out similar media networks, including Amazon, do not have as strong a physical retail presence. That could provide a bigger wedge for Walmart to draw brand dollars from categories that depend on in-store channels as well as e-commerce, such as packaged goods.
Still, Walmart has its work cut out for it in arriving relatively late to the digital advertising game. Investing more in data and analytics now is a potentially savvy move.
There are two separate Performance Dashboards, one for display advertising campaigns and one for sponsored product campaigns. Though they're accessible through a central hub, each dashboard carries some distinctions, including the metrics they provide and how they visualize campaign data.
Walmart has cultivated some big-name advertisers as part of the Walmart Advertising Partners program that debuted in January, many of whom have given Performance Dashboards high marks following beta tests. Expanding its ad platform to include more robust data and analytics tools arrives as rivals are under growing pressure on several fronts.
Both Amazon and search advertising leader Google were grilled by House lawmakers last week as part of an antitrust hearing examining Big Tech's outsized influence. During the session, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was questioned about the company allegedly using third-party seller data to inform its own product decisions, a strategy that could be used to edge out competition. Walmart competes with Amazon for media dollars, along with other big box retailers that are investing in advertising businesses like Target.
At the same time, e-commerce sales are booming under the coronavirus pandemic and as more businesses shift online, which could drive up demand for self-serve advertising tools. Walmart could capitalize on that trend with a solution that touches across both physical and digital retail sales.
As part of the program, the retailer has existing deals in place with third-party tech providers like Flywheel Digital, Kenshoo, Pacvue and Teikametrics. Walmart Advertising Partners enables marketers to purchase search and sponsored product ads through direct access in a bid auction-based marketplace.