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Affiliate marketing and retail media: The opportunities for retailers and brands.

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Affiliate marketing and retail media: The opportunities for retailers and brands.

Global retail media ad-spend will surge to €153bn by 2027. Learn about the opportunities that exist for retailers and how the affiliate channel, and Awin, can support.

Retail media has undergone significant evolution since Amazon pioneered its retail media network in 2012. Over the years, a diverse array of retailers, spanning from Walmart and Tesco to Boots and Instacart, have established their own retail media networks. 

This proliferation has fueled substantial growth, with projections from eMarketer’s Insider Intelligence indicating that global retail media ad spending will surge to €153bn by 2027.

What is retail media?

At Awin, we define retail media as an advertisement strategically placed on a retailer’s e-commerce site to positively influence customers precisely at the point of sale. This form of advertising empowers brands to enhance their visibility within the online shopping environment.

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Traditionally, retail media placements were primarily acquired by advertisers already selling products on the retailer’s e-commerce platform. These placements served various purposes, from driving awareness and consideration to, notably, boosting the sales of their products on the retailer’s site. An approach commonly known as endemic retail media.

More recently, a trend has emerged in non-endemic retail media, where advertising placements are secured by advertisers seeking to target specific consumer segments. In this context, retail media placements are bought by advertisers in the exact same way as they would with other paid-media outlets. According to research from Merkle, 63% of retailers have non-endemic advertisers actively leveraging their retail media networks.

Retail media networks are the dedicated advertising platforms crafted by retailers to provide advertisers with access to promotional inventory across their various channels. These platforms enable advertisers to leverage the retailer’s first-party data, tailoring advertisements to target shoppers with precision and relevance. 

The growth of retail media

After a sustained period of explosive growth, the enthusiasm surrounding retail media is unlikely to wane anytime soon. McKinsey research indicates that 73% of advertisers anticipate increased spending on retail media networks in the next 12 months, with 70% reporting superior performance compared to other marketing channels.

The remarkable growth in retail media is propelled by a concentration of three key drivers:

1. Revenue pressue on retailers

The pressure on retailers to identify new revenue streams and enhance margins is a primary driver. Rising inflation, weak customer demand, and intensified competition from low-margin retailers have forced retailers to seek new avenues for revenue generation. According to BCG, retail media networks can achieve robust profits ranging from 70% to 90%, a significant appeal for those operating on slim margins.

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2. Cost effective acquisition for advertisers

The ‘dash to digital’ shift triggered by the pandemic has made online e-commerce more challenging, intensifying the need for advertisers to explore new avenues for driving sales. With increased digital adoption comes heightened competition. A study from IAB Europe and Microsoft found that 92% of advertisers are currently partnering with retailers to reach new customers.

3. Third-party demise

The diminishing value and use of third-party cookies in customer targeting and advertising serve as a catalyst for retail media growth. While third-party data is on the decline, the importance of first-party data collected by retailers is rising. The ability to leverage first-party transactional and behavioral data offers advertisers a significant opportunity to target potential customers effectively. 

As third-party cookies fade away, 91% of advertisers foresee retail media playing a key role in their advertising strategy.

Retail media opportunities

Retail giants like Walmart leverage endemic retail media placements to offer their brands a targeted approach to reach in-market audiences throughout the customer journey. This could involve sponsored search listings, prominent product features, or other strategies to enhance visibility and drive conversions.

More retail media networks are embracing innovative approaches, such as shoppable TV. A noteworthy 57% of marketers anticipate shoppable video content to be the next frontier in retail media. For instance, Coca-Cola collaborated with Roku to introduce a holiday-themed screensaver on users’ devices. Users could then purchase Coca-Cola products straight to their home via DoorDash.

Non-endemic retail media opportunities present an underexplored landscape within the retail media space. Strikingly, 58% of advertisers express their interest in leveraging non-endemic data to target qualified audience segments.

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At Awin, we have supported brands like The Hut Group and Currys to establish their own retail media networks, enabling them to promote complementary advertiser offers during the checkout process. The concept of checkout marketing is powerful, as it not only creates a sellable ad-placement for retailers but also enhances the shopping journey. Numerous case studies demonstrate that retailers can improve their conversion rates by offering customers value-added rewards at checkout.

Beyond checkout marketing strategies, we have also assisted retailers in launching digital reward platforms. To foster customer loyalty and sustained engagement, personalized rewards are key. Notably, we have observed diverse industries, including network operators, banks, and utility providers, embedding third-party advertiser offers into their reward programs. 

Overcoming the challenges of retail media

Despite the continued growth of retail media, it is not without its challenges. The lack of standardization in measurement and the walled garden environments of retail media networks, pose obstacles for advertisers looking to increase their ad spend. According to a report by Epsilon, 42% of advertisers do not plan to change their retail media ad spend through to 2026. The hesitation is largely attributed to the difficulties associated with measuring performance.

Here is where the affiliate marketing channel can play a crucial role in supporting retail media. The affiliate marketing industry is founded on the foundations of robust and transparent tracking, providing advertisers and partners with real-time reporting insights.

Given the expansive nature of the retail media landscape, advertisers also face the challenge of selecting the right retailer to align with their objectives. Awin has developed a carefully curated discovery matrix that offers key information about each retail media network and the opportunities they provide. This resource aids advertisers in making informed decisions about which retailer to partner with.

Whether you’re looking to create your own retail media network or promote your products through retail media, Awin provides the tools and support needed.

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Visit Awin to find out more.

By Lee Metters, client partner, Awin

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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

Four-day workweeks might have all the buzz, but one major tech company is going in the opposite direction.

Samsung is implementing a six-day workweek for all executives after some of the firm’s core businesses delivered lower-than-expected financial results last year.

A Samsung Group executive told a Korean news outlet that “considering that performance of our major units, including Samsung Electronics Co., fell short of expectations in 2023, we are introducing the six-day work week for executives to inject a sense of crisis and make all-out efforts to overcome this crisis.”

Lower performance combined with other economic uncertainties like high borrowing costs have pushed the South Korean company to enter “emergency mode,” per The Korea Economic Daily.

Related: Apple Is No Longer the Top Phonemaker in the World as AI Pressure and Competition Intensifies

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Executives at all Samsung Group divisions will be affected, including those in sales and manufacturing, according to the report.

Samsung had its worst financial year in over a decade in 2023, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that net profit fell 73% in Q4. It also lost its top spot on the global smartphone market to Apple in the same quarter, though it reclaimed it this year.

Though employees below the executive level aren’t yet mandated to clock in on weekends, some might follow the unwritten example of their bosses. After all, The Korea Economic Daily reports that executives across some Samsung divisions have been voluntarily working six days a week since January, before the company decided to implement the six-day workweek policy.

Entrepreneur has reached out to Samsung’s U.S. newsroom to ask if this news includes executives situated globally, including in the U.S., or if it only affects employees in Korea. Samsung did not immediately respond.

Research on the relationship between hours worked and output shows that working more does not necessarily increase productivity.

A Stanford project, for example, found that overwork leads to decreased total output. Average productivity decreases due to stress, sleep deprivation, and other factors “to the extent that the additional hours [worked] provide no benefit (and, in fact, are detrimental),” the study said.

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Related: Samsung’s Newest Galaxy Gadget Aims ‘To See How Productive You Can Be’

Longer hours can also mean long-term health effects. The World Health Organization found that working more than 55 hours a week decreases life expectancy and increases the risk of stroke by 35%.

The same 55-hour workweek leads to a 17% higher risk of heart disease, per the same study.

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John Deere Hiring CTO ‘Chief Tractor Officer,’ TikTok Creator

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John Deere Hiring CTO 'Chief Tractor Officer,' TikTok Creator

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Agriculture equipment company John Deere is on the hunt for a different kind of CTO.

The brand on Tuesday announced a two-week search to find a “Chief Tractor Officer” who would create social media content to reach younger consumers.

One winning applicant will receive up to $192,300 to traverse the country over the next several months showcasing the way John Deere products are used by workers, from Yellowstone National Park to Chicago’s Wrigley Field and beyond.

“No matter what you do — whether it’s your coffee, getting dressed in the morning, driving to work, the building you go into — it’s all been touched by a construction worker, a farmer, or a lawn care maintenance group,” Jen Hartmann, John Deere’s global director of strategic public relations, told AdAge.

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To kick off the search, John Deere tapped NFL quarterback Brock Purdy (who will presumably be a bit busy this Fall to take the job himself) to star in a clip in which he attempts to set out on a road trip in an industrial tractor.

Suited up in the obligatory vest, work boots, and John Deere hat, Purdy’s progress is interrupted by teammate Colton McKivitz hopping into the cab while a string of messages floods in from other athletes and influencers expressing interest in the job.

The clip also represents the first time that the 187-year-old company has used celebrities to promote itself, Hartmann told AdAge.

According to the contest rules, entrants have until April 29 at midnight to submit a single 60-second video making their pitch for why they should be the face and voice of the company.

In addition, entrants must live in the 48 contiguous states or DC — sorry Hawaii and Alaska residents. Interestingly, any AI-generated submissions are prohibited, too.

Videos will be judged against four categories — originally, creativity, quality, and brand knowledge — after which five finalists will be chosen and notified after May 17.

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How to Capitalize On This Thriving Talent Pool to Drive Your Company’s Growth

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How to Capitalize On This Thriving Talent Pool to Drive Your Company's Growth

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As business operations shift, executives and entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to an on-demand workforce that is simultaneously empowered by technology and drawn to purpose-driven projects.

Consider Upwork, whose 2020 Future of Workforce Pulse Report revealed that nearly 80% of hiring managers engaging freelancers feel confident about doing so. These hires provide coveted expertise — on a project-to-project basis — that entrepreneurs need to scale their operations without incurring long-term overhead costs.

This new market paradigm also promotes dynamism, with 79% of businesses agreeing that freelance talent enables greater innovativeness. Perhaps most telling, 84% of hiring managers utilizing it feel more assured about adapting to future disruption, compared to just 69% of those relying solely on full-time staff.

By capitalizing on freelance marketplaces, entrepreneurs can amplify employer branding, augment capabilities and future-proof organizations, even amid turbulence. As nearly 60% of hiring managers plan to increase engagement with freelancers over the next two years, the time is now for executives to realize their inherent potential.

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Related: Navigating the Great Reshuffle: Why Your Employer Brand is Key in Recruiting Talent

The job market continues to shift

After a season of massive hiring, we’re back to seeing layoffs and downsizing. Companies are feeling the bloat—from unused office spaces with rising rent to oversized employee structures — and are shifting focus to hiring only the most essential positions. This leaves a critical talent gap needed for complex projects and specialized tasks. Highly skilled and specialized independents can fill this void.

A few key benefits to engaging them:

Access to niche experts: Platforms like Toptal and Guru provide access to elite professionals from leading Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups. Whether the need is for a machine learning specialist, growth strategist or financial modeler, entrepreneurs can now curate on-demand teams that boast specialized skillsets, enabling them to focus investment on projects with the highest strategic value.

Enhanced agility: Leading corporations increasingly “rent” skills by tapping freelance experts for initiatives involving new technologies or while entering unfamiliar markets. With niche contributors available to plug knowledge gaps, owners can explore ideas that once seemed unrealistic due to internal constraints—unlocking inventiveness and first-mover advantage.

• Stronger employment brand: Blending full-time employees with project-based freelancers signals a commitment to modernization and work-life balance. Offering both engaging work and flexibility will help draw exceptional candidates and help you compete with corporate giants for top-tier talent.

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Related: Can Retirees Thrive in the Gig Economy? Navigating a Changed Workforce

Tips for capitalizing on gig talent

Having explored the forces reshaping work, executives may wonder how to effectively leverage freelance platforms. After all, how can you know you’re getting your money’s worth if a hire isn’t physically present full-time?

• Define projects clearly: Contract hires thrive when expectations and deadlines are established upfront. So, clearly, detail needs around deliverables, success metrics, required skills and projected time investments. Staying ahead when it comes to communication and expectations will help avoid headaches, including delays.

• Build loyalty with talent: The best independent professionals have options regarding the projects they accept. Study their profiles to discern passions and incentives. Offer interesting work, flexibility and strong communication to motivate interest and improve results.

• Manage collaboration: Provide steady context, feedback and guidance at each project stage, but also foster autonomy, even while directing efforts toward strategic goals. A dynamic balance of these qualities drives optimal outcomes.

• Continue expanding your talent pool: Add proven freelancers to an internal database for repeat engagements, and notify talent about new initiatives for which their expertise would provide an edge. Uncovering additional ways, freelancers can enhance the business deepens the relationship.

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Related: Fill Your Talent Gap by Sourcing Candidates From the Veteran Community

Top platforms for connecting with talent

Now comes the hard part: finding contractors who bring fractional expertise sets. There are a growing number of platforms, of course, but I’ve found that the following stand out as leaders:

Fiverr: Ideal for execs seeking design, digital marketing, writing, video and admin support. Known for affordability and ease of posting jobs. It taps a global talent pool, too.

Upwork: A flexible platform that spans more than 150 skills. Used by everyone from small businesses to global enterprises. Strong at IT, development, design, finance and consulting.

Toptal: Focuses exclusively on the top 3% of talent. Best for expert software developers, designers, project managers and finance experts. All contributors are extensively vetted.

Contra: A growing independent platform that vets and connects both job candidates and hiring companies. Best of all, it doesn’t take a commission from projects.

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Related: 3 Strategies to Optimize Your Hiring Process and Find the Best Employees

The numbers speak for themselves: businesses engaging freelance professionals report greater confidence and competitiveness, as well as the ability to withstand turbulence, yet legacy beliefs can still cause hesitancy among those keen to hire. Supported by such specialized collaborators, companies can explore new horizons unencumbered by a one-time narrow view of staffing models.

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