What’s new in online marketplaces: 2021 Q3

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Amardeep Notey

Marketplaces Account Manager


Marketplaces

Quarter three has been an interesting time to work in marketplaces. Alongside witnessing the full return of physical stores, we’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Criteo’s new RMP platform and run some additional activity on Tesco.

The US ecommerce market continues to thrive, totaling $221,7 billion in Q2, an increase of 7.6% from Q1. Brick-and-mortar sales are also benefiting from pent-up consumer demand, estimated to grow by 6.3% in 2021 marking the highest growth rate seen since 2011.

Every quarter, we provide an update on what is new with online marketplaces. Here we look at what has happened in Q3 of 2021.

Criteo RMP

The highly anticipated launch of RMP has been a central focus in Q3. Last quarter we looked at the differences between the RSX and RMP platform, including flexible attribution and retailer segmentation.

To date only Asda has migrated from RSX to RMP, with Morrisons now migrating next year. Despite Morrisons not yet migrating, we have been able to see some changes.

  1. As RMP accounts are given preference over RSX, overnight we were able to see a big increase in visibility metrics such as impressions and clicks. It is difficult to scope whether the increased visibility is leading to an increased sales revenue at this point, although as we collect more data this will become clearer.
  2. By having data segmented by retailer, we now know that Asda is responsible for the majority of activity when compared to Morrisons. We have found that impression volume can be as much as 90% favoring Asda.
  3. It is now possible to have platform-specific strategies. Products rank quite differently on Asda and Morrisons, so an objective we have set is to use our sponsored ad activity to boost organic rankings for products. One way we’ve done this is by identifying stock keeping units that do not rank well, and then supporting them through ads to grow the account.

The RMP platform is still newly live, and we expect to be able to share more insight over the next quarter.

Citrus Ad Tesco

Sainsbury’s Citrus Ad is yet to see many changes or updates. However, the Tesco side has now been fully rolled out, which means any retailer can now make use of the platform. We’ve been working with Citrus Ad for over two months and have largely positive things to say. Due to the sheer scale of Tesco winning placements, the platform is capable of delivering great sales volume.

The platform is limited in ad inventory and offers only two placements. However, they are placed at the top of search which means they are prominent, and we are seeing a strong click through rate.

There are plans in place to add additional ad placements to the platform over the coming year. Citrus Ads has shown strong potential in the short time it has been live, and it will be interesting to see how the platform develops.

Amazon updates

It has been a relatively quiet quarter from Amazon with not too much being added to the console.

The Amazon Advertising Console this year has tried to give its users a better sense of share of voice (SOV). This is something that several other ad platforms already have, and Amazon is now starting to make strides in this area. Earlier in the year the impression share report was released, and now a new metric has been introduced. The metric is called top-of-search impression share and is a measure of a campaign’s impressions in the top of search placement expressed as a percentage.

This is currently available for Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand campaigns and is already proving very useful. Previously, it hasn’t been possible to identify how visible campaigns are against peers. With this metric, it’s possible to identify how aggressive you can go, making it very useful when optimizing campaign CPCs.

The Amazon console has always been CPCs based, however, this is no longer strictly the case. It’s now possible to setup Sponsored Display ads to pay via CPM basis rather than CPC, which makes sense given the main aim of the ad is to drive awareness. Additionally, to help optimize these campaigns, viewable impressions and cost per 1,000 viewable impressions have now been introduced which are metrics other programmatic platforms use to optimize campaigns.

Occasionally, it has been difficult to justify the use of Sponsored Display ads because of the poor return on ad spend they deliver, so this is very useful to see Amazon employ additional data points helping show how useful they can be for driving brand awareness. It will be interesting to see how Amazon builds on this in the future.

Marketplaces are a growing force in the online experience. Platforms continue to evolve as traffic reaches record highs and the holiday season approaches, ecommerce marketplaces are evolving into a fundamental part of the digital customer journey.

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