Walmart revamping, expanding ad business; adding new platform

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Walmart Connect

Walmart renamed its its media business and is making a number of strategic moves, including adding a new platform that will launch in time for holiday 2021, with a goal of growing the unit into one of the top 10 advertising platforms in the U.S. during the next few years.

Walmart Media Group has changed its name to Walmart Connect, with the name meant to reflect the different ways in which brands can reach the retailer’s 150 million customers. As part of its new strategic initiatives, to expand its reach Walmart is partnering with The Trade Desk to launch what it called a “first-of-its-kind” demand-side platform for suppliers and their media and ad agencies in time for the 2021 holiday season.  

Walmart said the new offering will combine the best-in-class technology and performance of The Trade Desk platform with the scale of the retailer’s own first-party shopping data, ultimately allowing advertisers to drive more effectiveness with their overall media spend.

“Walmart is pioneering a new frontier in digital advertising, providing marketers with access to shopper data for the first time, in a way that both protects consumer privacy and improves the consumer experience,” said Jeff Green, CEO and co-founder, The Trade Desk. “In doing so, marketers will be able to create much more refined, relevant and measurable advertising campaigns, which can be adapted on-the-fly to changing circumstances and real-time performance.

In other strategic moves, Walmart Connect is unveiling new capabilities that allow advertisers to reach Walmart’s physical stores. The retailer is now offering media placements on its in-store TV walls and self-checkout screens with nearly 170,000 digital screens across its more than 4,500 stores. Many brand messages can be delivered with date, time and geographic specificity.  The company also will look to sell advertisements in its events, such as the drive-in movies it held last summer.  

“These advancements make Walmart Connect one of the largest in-store activations and digital out-of-home ad platforms in the country,” the retailer stated. 

Walmart is also growing its business on its own digital properties, including, pickup & delivery, and the Walmart app to offer holistic campaigns including search and display media, across the online shopping experience, putting advertiser messages right next to where customers are making purchasing decisions. 

“This part of the business is growing fast – last fiscal year, it saw nearly double the amount of revenue and more than double the number of advertisers,” Walmart stated.