Walmart has organized a meeting with hundreds of high-profile companies and top marketing and advertising firms to pitch its media business, Reuters reported. The news follows Walmart’s concerted efforts to diversify and market their business, namely debuting original content for its new streaming platform, Vudu, at IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts, and shifting to free next-day delivery that doesn’t require a membership.
To grow its media strategies and help brands engage with customers subscribed to over-the-top (OTT) content, Walmart will encourage event attendees, which it declined to name, to shift spending away from rivals like Amazon and Google to sponsored shift and display ads on Walmart. With Vudu, the company already rolled out shoppable in-stream ads as well as films and series that market Middle America. “It’s about making Vudu part of the daily routine for Walmart families,” said head of AVOD at Vudu Julian Franco.
Walmart’s first-party data fortifies its attempt to match Amazon’s efforts. Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager of Walmart Media Group, told Reuters, “The company’s core differentiator is that its ad offerings are informed not just by online purchase behavior and intent but also by data on what people are buying in stores before and after they see an ad, something its online rivals are unable to see.”
According to eMarketer, Amazon’s global digital ad revenue is expected to rise by more than 52 percent in 2019 to reach $14.03 billion. Still, Walmart’s quiet but steady approach to ramping up ad offerings, indicated by the elusive pitch meeting, could prove successful as Walmart was crowned the champion of trusted mass-merchandiser retailers, according to Reader’s Digest 2018 annual Trusted Brands survey.
Though slow to integrate video ads, Walmart draws in more shoppers than Amazon, Google and Facebook, according to research firms. As Marketing Drive reported, Jeremy Verba, VP and GM of Vudu, said at NewFronts, “Walmart’s data and scale make us the sleeping giant of the entertainment space.”
An eMarketer report showed that Amazon’s US ad business will grow more than 50 percent this year, and its share of the US digital market to 8.8 percent. But where there’s a Walmart, there’s a way as Walmart will be able to capitalize on another rival’s shortcomings—Google’s market share is expected to dip to 71 percent by 2020, as research firm eMarketer reported. In the US, total digital ad spending will grow 19 percent to $129.34 billion this year—54.2 percent of estimated total US ad spending.