- Walgreens added new capabilities around television and first-party data to its retail media network, according to an announcement.
- Walgreens Advertising Group will now offer brands the ability to reach consumers via over-the-top (OTT) services, connected TV (CTV) and traditional linear TV across 100 apps and 10 supply-side platforms, with an inventory of 2.5 billion daily impressions.
- The company also announced a first-to-market collaboration with OpenAP that lets brands use Walgreens' first-party data as part of TV buys. The additions of advanced TV and data capabilities will help Walgreens differentiate its media network from other retailers' offerings and better compete with Amazon.
With its move into advanced TV and first-party data capabilities, Walgreens can help marketers reach audiences and address two pressing concerns: the need to play on the quickly growing CTV landscape, and the increased priority of using first-party data for targeting and measurement as data privacy tightens.
"At Walgreens Advertising Group we have three principles that are core to our DNA: to help brands deliver more relevant personalized experiences, to support audience-led and channel agnostic media approaches, and to make it easy to work with us," Luke Kigel, vice president of Walgreens integrated media and leader of Walgreens Advertising Group, said in the announcement.
By making OTT and CTV inventory available through its programmatic buying arm, wagDSP, and integrating its customer and transaction data, Walgreens enables brands to better target consumers, measure outcomes and optimize in real time. The move into CTV comes as marketers boosted CTV spending 22% to reach consumers on the platforms where they spend the most time, driving the channel to a higher growth rate than both mobile video and desktop video, per an Interactive Advertising Bureau survey. CTV was a major focus of this spring's NewFronts presentations by companies including YouTube and is primed to be a marketer priority in 2021 and beyond.
Meanwhile, Walgreens collaboration with OpenAP on an integration of its recently announced OpenID could help brands as they look to connect Walgreens' first-party data — drawn from the 100 million member profiles in its loyalty program — to their advertising efforts. First-party data is increasingly key to marketers — especially the CPG brands that are sold at Walgreens — amid several major changes to data privacy, including Google's move to kill the third-party cookie. Walgreens now allows brands to execute against deterministic audiences, with closed-loop measurement available by the start of the broadcast year, per the announcement.
The pharmacy chain was a late entry into the retail media network space, launching Walgreens Advertising Group in December after its chief rival CVS and other brick-and-mortar retailers including Walmart, Target and Kroger rolled out their offerings. The new capabilities could help it better compete in the space as retailers all play catch-up with Amazon and its surging ad business.