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OMG stands with Albertsons Media Collective in advocating for retail media network standards

Albertsons is proposing retail media networks adopt a host of IAB standards.

June 23, 2023 | By Jack Neff

Albertsons is proposing a standardization framework to improve transparency in retail media, with Omnicom Media Group, Unilever, Pinterest and R3 backing the idea. An outline of the framework is to be unveiled at an event at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity today.

The idea is to create common definitions and standards among retail media networks (RMNs) for metrics such as return on ad spending, clicks, conversions and conversion rate, new-to-brand customers, incremental sales, customer lifetime value and third-party measurement.

Albertsons is also proposing RMNs adopt a host of IAB standards on elements such as ad units, non-disruptive ad experiences and new media experiences such as virtual reality, digital video and connected TV. Details are included in a whitepaper published today.

“CPGs, our clients, are investing a lot in headcount to try and figure out how to normalize [retail media data and standards] so that we’re actually comparable to each other,” said Kristi Argyilan, senior VP of retail media at Albertsons. “This is a framework for retail media networks to come together and talk about” those things.

While other RMNs have not yet publicly committed to joining the framework, some are poised to do so, Argyilan said.

“It’s not a stone tablet,” she said. “It’s a call to conversation.”

But ultimately Argyilan believes it can lead to a common set of definitions, standards and practices that will take the friction out of the market and in turn enable the industry’s growth, projected by eMarketer to go from $45 billion annually today to $106 billion by 2027, she said.

Ultimately, she said a common framework might be something that could be accredited by the Media Rating Council, where so far only a handful of individual RMNs, including Amazon, Walmart and Instacart, have sought accreditation for portions of their offerings and measurement.

Argyilan said she believes that such a framework could pave the way for more consumer brand media dollars to come into retail media, because spending with retailers will be seen less, as it is by some industry analysts and brand marketers today, as merely a shift of money from trade and shopper budgets or a “tax” necessary to get products on shelves or promoted in stores.

A report by the ANA earlier this year described many RMN advertisers as “reluctant buyers,” citing some of the standardization issues. And many in the ad world, including WPP’s VMLY&R executives, have been calling for standardization. Delivering on standardization can help overcome that reluctance, Argyilan said.

“At Unilever, we are supportive of this workstream as we believe it’s essential for the industry to come together to tackle standardization when it comes to attribution, measurement, frequency of reporting and transparency,” said Aaron Sobol, head of U.S. media investment and partnerships, in a statement.

“Omnicom Media Group shares Albertsons Media Collective’s commitment to assuring advertisers can have confidence in their retail media investments, and their belief that confidence can best be achieved through standardization,” says Ben Hovaness, senior VP of marketplace intelligence for the agency group. “That’s why OMG created the Council on Accountability and Standards in Advertising (CASA), and why we stand with The Collective as active advocates for assuring clarity, safety and transparency in this rapidly growing investment channel.”

Albertsons and OMG also announced yesterday a collaboration in an multi-party clean room powered by Snowflake and measurement partner VideoAmp, with audience data from NBCUniversal, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery linear and streaming channels.