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Accelerate business growth and transformation with the power of retail media

January 11, 2023
Retail store manager using a tablet while walking the store floor and analyzing data.

With PromoteIQ, Microsoft is building a complete omnichannel retail media platform

Economic uncertainty may lead to less predictable shopper behavior, but it’s also an incredible incubator of innovation in business and media, as people are tasked to create growth with more accountability and fewer resources. At the National Retail Federation (NRF) conference next week in New York, Microsoft will share our latest developments to power resiliency in the retail industry, helping retailers in every category weave technology into the fabric of their business so they can do more with less.

As digital commerce evolves, the importance of retailers in the advertising ecosystem is skyrocketing. And we want to empower this. It is our vision to create the industry’s most complete omnichannel retail media stack to support retailer evolution through retail media. With Microsoft’s retail media platform, PromoteIQ, retailers will be able to fully enable their brand partners to connect with audiences through onsite, offsite, and in-store activations. An omnichannel platform empowers retailers to meet their shoppers where they are with ever-changing multichannel behaviors and preferences while helping their brand partners reach people at all stages in the shopping journey – all while delivering measurable return on investment through a holistic platform experience. Today, we’re announcing:

  • More retailers globally are choosing PromoteIQ to power their retail media programs
  • The Microsoft Retail Advertising Network will allow retailers to monetize more of their onsite inventory
  • PromoteIQ Offsite and In-Store proofs of concept are furthering our vision to deliver capabilities that help retailers succeed in an omnichannel shopper environment

Brands today already know how critical it is to have access to shopper experiences and data, which can be used strategically to shape the end-to-end customer decision journey – from awareness through conversion. Shopper and shopping data, such as purchase history, give retail media programs a big advantage over traditional publishers, which include social media apps and content sites, that simply don’t have as much or as rich user data. This data will be increasingly important with the deprecation of third-party cookies, enabling retailers to offer targeting and closed loop measurement for digital campaigns with much greater precision. It’s no wonder that eMarketer projects retail media spend to hit $61.15bn in 2024 in the U.S. alone, nearly 20% of total digital ad spend.

At Microsoft, we’re empowering retailer success by creating an economic engine for retailers while enabling them to own their data and customer relationships. Having built some of the largest programs in the industry, Microsoft brings the deep experience and sophisticated technology required to build incremental, high-margin revenue engines with retailers. Our investments are improving matching and yield, leading to higher shopper engagement, and creating improved outcomes. With approximately 3X the average MROI (marketing return on investment) on retail media campaigns, we’re delivering compelling performance results, benefiting both retailers and their brand partners. That’s why nearly 10,000 brands, such as Unilever, created over 70,000 campaigns on our platform this past year.

This progress has been coupled with a platform innovation agenda to build a complete retail media solution suite. Underpinned by our PromoteIQ retail media platform, we’re equipping retailers and brands with new monetization mechanisms to connect effectively with shopper behaviors across onsite, offsite, and in-store activations.

PromoteIQ Onsite

PromoteIQ’s onsite capabilities are designed to increase shopper engagement and drive sales by empowering a retailer’s brand partners to promote products across highly trafficked pages on that retailer’s site. In the U.S., retailers continue to choose Microsoft to power their retail media programs. Recently, we announced that Sephora had chosen the PromoteIQ platform.

This is why Kroger Precision Marketing, the retail media business of The Kroger Co., leverages the PromoteIQ platform to deliver new capabilities and performance that increases interest and engagement from brands and partners alike.

Michael Schuh, Kroger's Vice President of Media Strategy & Product, said, “With the combined power of Microsoft PromoteIQ technology and our data science, we are able to empower brands and agencies to deliver relevant advertising on our digital properties. Together, we’re driving inspiration, conversion, and measurable outcomes that are meaningful for business.”

PromoteIQ Onsite is a foundational aspect of our expanding business and international growth strategy, and today we’re excited to announce Endeavour Group, Australia’s largest retail drinks network and portfolio of licensed hotels, has selected PromoteIQ to help launch MixIn by Endeavour, their retail media program. MixIn is enabling suppliers to deliver campaigns to reach customers in meaningful ways, including on-site and in-store activations.

In addition, we’re expanding our onsite capabilities and announcing the pilot release of the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network. The Microsoft Retail Advertising Network is designed to easily help retailers monetize more of their onsite inventory and drive incremental shopper traffic to their website by partnering with hundreds or even thousands of brand advertisers using the broader Microsoft Advertising platform and ecosystem. Retailers can hit a saturation point where they’re unable to get more demand from their largest brand partners. This is where the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network comes in, helping retailers unlock new budget from the broader array of Microsoft Advertising brands that also sell on a retailer’s site.

PromoteIQ retailers are selecting the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network to connect more brand partners to their shoppers while enhancing their program monetization. Kohl’s, a leading omnichannel retailer with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states, plus the online convenience of and the Kohl’s App, has selected the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network.

With deeper integration between our platforms comes new opportunities for retailers and brands alike. With the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network, brands using the Microsoft Advertising platform will have the ability to set up their ad campaigns to serve on Microsoft and partner properties and participating retailer websites. This will help brands reach a highly relevant shopper audience and see improved performance. As a result, participating retailers are likely to see a no-cost boost in the traffic directed to their websites. This is powered by automatically matching retailer products to the corresponding and participating brands and directing interested shoppers to retailer websites.

PromoteIQ Offsite

Offsite has become a critical tool for retailers to leverage their data and help brand partners reach shoppers at the awareness and consideration stages by extending their audience reach outside of the retailer’s own web properties.

Today, we’re announcing PromoteIQ Offsite, which will enable retailers to activate their first party audience data to help their brand partners reach shoppers using third party inventory across the open web and social. Starting in February, PromoteIQ Offsite will enable retailers to leverage their own first-party data as well as Microsoft and initially Meta audiences – including lookalike modeling capabilities – for maximum targeting effectiveness.

PromoteIQ Offsite can be especially powerful combined with the explosive growth of connected TV (CTV). By leveraging shopper data, retailers can help brands to target and evaluate the impact of their CTV ads – a capability that’s expected with other digital media and across devices – now on the biggest screen in the house – the TV. Retailers will be able to derive actionable insights through unified reporting and attribution, an incredibly important measure whether in a boom time or in times of economic uncertainty.

BJ’s Wholesale Club, a leading operator of membership warehouse clubs, recently announced the use of PromoteIQ Onsite and Offsite solutions to power BJ’s Media Edge™, a comprehensive portfolio of retail media solutions for their brand partners.

PromoteIQ In-Store

While the last few years have fueled massive investments to support consumer shopping behavior online, for many retailers the most important revenue source is still their brick-and-mortar stores. In-store extends retail media programs into real-world stores, bringing physical shopper marketing into the digital age. Like its ecommerce counterpart, in-store allows brands to connect with high-value shoppers using connected digital signage, whether they’re at the point of purchase or browsing brands as they walk through the store aisles.

We’re announcing today that the PromoteIQ platform has completed a proof of concept, PromoteIQ In-Store, to support retailers as they innovate with content and hardware partners on in-store retail media activations. PromoteIQ In-Store will become available in the next 12 months. Because in-store requires additional physical setup and equipment, including digital signage, we’re working with partners to create an interoperable platform for the ecosystem.

With today’s announcements, the Microsoft PromoteIQ platform will bring together the most complete and holistic suite of retail media products, targeting and measurement capabilities in the market to empower retailers and brands to meet their customers wherever they are, online or offline.


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