Retail Media, Part 1: The Growing Influence of Walmart Advertising

May 11, 2021

Digital Marketing By ChannelAdvisor

How much time and attention is your brand devoting to advertising on Walmart Marketplace?

If the answer is anything less than “a lot,” it may be time to revisit your digital marketing strategy.

With 100 million unique monthly visitors, Walmart is fast becoming a preferred destination for droves of consumers as they do more shopping online. An estimated 90% of Americans shop there, and many of them do so daily. The retail giant’s e-commerce business grew 69% in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 and doubled in size following a surge of 50,000 new sellers.

Put simply, Walmart Marketplace is growing in influence. And it’s changing the way third-party sellers connect with consumers.

The increasing importance of Walmart advertising

Web traffic and sales aren’t all that’s increasing on this vital e-commerce channel. As consumers continue to make more purchases online, and as the marketplace continues to attract more of those shoppers, the company’s retail media business is accelerating, too.

The number of paid search impressions on Walmart has more than doubled over the past year. One recent analysis discovered that an average of four paid search ads now appear on the first page of results, compared with just 1.7 in January 2020. Researchers at eMarketer say the increase is a “strong indicator that [Walmart’s] ecommerce platform is now drawing sufficient search volume to support a meaningful and attractive search ad business as the company looks to expand its digital advertising footprint.” 

In fact, the marketplace’s search ad revenues are expected to increase 69.9% by year’s end. So if you advertise on Walmart, it’s time to buckle up for some stiff competition.

The company’s advertising arm, Walmart Connect, increased its number of net new advertisers by 40% as brands and retailers sought to reach shoppers closer to the point of sale. As the business continues to build up its media networks and add features such as retail intelligence and performance-based marketing, sellers have even more reason to invest in digital marketing campaigns across the platform. The marketplace has also been opened up to non-US sellers, which means there will be even more brands and retailers bidding for top placements.

In other words:

The bidding challenges many third-party sellers are already experiencing are likely to become even more fierce in the months ahead.

Making the most of your Walmart ad investments

As the bidding wars begin to build, it’s imperative to have the right plans in place. With more product listings competing for limited space, the battle for Walmart visibility goes far beyond traditional best practices and product content optimization. 

Looking ahead, a well-managed Walmart advertising strategy will be essential for long-term marketplace success. And thankfully, there are ways to make the most of Walmart’s advertising opportunities — even as the marketplace becomes more crowded.

For example, many brands and retailers are working to gain a competitive advantage by: 

  • Using search query reports to identify keywords that are likely to perform well
  • Automating bidding and keyword creation
  • Leveraging custom campaign scheduling and dayparting

These and other advanced strategies are all made possible by ChannelAdvisor’s most recent product release. With expanded support for Walmart advertising, third-party sellers can rely on the e-commerce platform to automate campaign bidding and keyword selection, conduct bulk actions and apply ad rules based on performance — all in the same place they manage marketplace listings.

To learn more about these features, along with additional tips you can use to get ahead, check out the free on-demand webinar: Spring 2021 Product Release: Enhancements and Additions To Help You Sell More. You’ll learn about ChannelAdvisor’s expanded support for Walmart Connect, along with features to help you increase sales, improve fulfillment and more.

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