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Harnessing the Power of Retail Media Networks Through Meta


Retail media networks are growing at a phenomenal pace. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2023 retail media will receive nearly 20% of all digital ad spend [1]. Like the way mobile transformed the way we shop and do business, the rise of retail media represents a profound shift in both the retail and media industry. It also means that retail media networks have the ability to empower retailers to become future media giants.

The Boston Consulting Group estimates that retail media is on track to being a $100 billion industry by 2025 [2], with a meaningful share for those who can capitalize on it. Why this caveat? Well, because of its lucrative potential, this space is quickly filling up with competitors, and new entrants are swiftly gaining traction. The reality of this is that many are rushing in without first establishing the inventory, marketing fundamentals, or the technology needed to provide value to their vendor partners.

Amidst this noise, increasingly sophisticated technology and retail media teams are coming together to harness this opportunity, resulting in a rapid expansion of retail media networks across North America. All of this is in a backdrop of consumers moving away from traditional buying cycles and planned shopping, and more toward social and discovery based commerce and “always-on” shopping habits as a normative behavior. The new consumer expectation is that everything from product discovery to purchases can, and should, all be integrated with their social experience. This massive shift in consumer behaviour is making social platform partnerships essential to leveraging retail media opportunities.

So how can your business successfully ride what some are calling the third wave in digital advertising? Here, we explore ways to optimize retail media networks. Let’s begin by understanding how retail media became a powerhouse.

The Rise of Retail Media Networks

A retail media network is typically an arm of a retailer's marketing team focused on the growth and use of vendor-funded marketing. This evolution of traditional shopper marketing is exploding due to the increased use of first-party data by retailers.

Accurate and current data is invaluable in a time when consumer shopping behaviours are constantly shifting with each new online trend and technology. This data is enabling the retailers to reach consumers right where they shop with personalized ads—thereby, matching brands with consumer preferences and connecting them to new and loyal shoppers. Reaching shoppers in real-time, with ads specific to their needs, is ultimately the critical value the market is looking for, and this, in addition to the shifting digital signal landscape, is creating new and exciting opportunities.

Making Retail Media Networks Work For You

For retailers who get it right—and get it right early—retail media will fuel a powerful value cycle. However, in an increasingly crowded marketplace, how can retail media networks stand out as driving disproportionate value for their partners?

Partnerships are on their way to being the core of retail media, and Meta’s been thrilled to play our part to power retailers, shopper marketing, and now retail media possibilities—from helping to enable the initial digitization of shopper programs to today’s integrated, dynamic, and personalized experiences—by enabling retailers and retail media networks to incorporate social commerce into their toolkit.

As consumers increasingly discover new and relevant products on social, these discoveries are leading to serendipitous shopping experiences—similar to shoppers looking at a display window and being captivated by a product. In the fashion category, for example, 63% of surveyed US shoppers are discovering new fashion items across social media platforms [3]. It’s estimated that social commerce represented 11% of global retail eCommerce in 2020, generating $474B [4].

Meta is rapidly growing and innovating in the social commerce space. Through our partnerships, we enhance brands, retailers and retail media networks in four key ways:

● More and better consumer insights: Meta is ready to action on retail media network consumer insights across our platforms and social technologies. In the process, we enhance those insights, enabling them to drive more value to reach new customers in natural and discoverable ways.

● Exponential outcomes for retailers: In partnership with Meta, retail media networks can drive full-funnel outcomes through our sophisticated machine learning algorithms. By combining this with strong first-party signal data from retailers, Meta is able to ensure you’re reaching the right consumers at the right time—moving them down the funnel into omnichannel purchasing behaviour.

Increased value for brands: These full-funnel outcomes, enabled and powered by retail media networks, allow brands to fully leverage our tools, resulting in fully optimized and measured media for the first time. Their customers are already using Meta’s platforms to discover and research products, and these types of partnerships enable those processes to be directed at your products, with your customers.

Evolving and unique customer experiences: As the customer experience continues to grow and change—in part, through Meta’s discovery commerce innovations and eventually, the metaverse—we’re committed to integrating retailers, retail media networks, and brands into these experiences. Through partnerships, our innovations become your innovations.

With consumers leaning into social media purchases, social commerce platforms are becoming an integral part of marketing strategies. It’s the natural next step in the consumer shopping experience, and Meta is excited to be a partner in the days ahead for media networks and social commerce.



  1. “Retail media networks hit their stride in 2021”, by eMarketer, Jan 2022.
  2. “The $100 Billion Media Opportunity for Retailers” by Boston Consulting Group, May 2021.
  3. “Discovery-led Shopping Study”, by GfK (Facebook-commissioned online study of people aged 18+, US, UK, AU, BR, CA, DE, FR, IN, ID, JP, MX, KR), July-Aug 2020.
  4. “Social Commerce Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Business Model (B2C, B2B, C2C), By Product Type (Personal & Beauty Care, Apparel, Accessories), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028”, by Grand View Research, Aug 2021.

Torri Gunn is the Industry Manager for Retail at Meta. He and his team empower some of Canada’s Largest Retailers to grow with cutting-edge digital marketing, and future forward strategies.

Prior to joining Meta, Torri worked in Politics –  spending 6 years in Ottawa understanding the relationships between Data and Motivations through 2 Federal election cycles.

He is passionate about helping businesses future-proof their Marketing, and supporting those businesses in their essential journey to Carbon Neutrality. Outside of his role at Meta, he holds an MA from The University of Ottawa, and enjoys spending every free moment with his 2 young boys.