- Walmart Connect, the retailer's recently rebranded advertising network, this week expanded its approved partners program to include HarvestGroup, Stackline and Tinuit. The addition of the three companies to the Walmart Advertising Partners Program is part of the company's effort to help advertisers run their campaigns more efficiently, per an announcement emailed to Marketing Dive.
- Harvest Group is an omnichannel retail growth agency, Tinuiti is a performance marketing agency that specializes in online marketing and Stackline is a retail intelligence and software company focused on e-commerce, according to their respective websites. Third-party service providers Flywheel, Kenshoo, Pacvue and Teikametrics already belong to the Walmart Advertising Partners Program, which was launched as a self-serve platform in January 2020.
- The number of advertisers that use services from Walmart's partners has grown 10 times from a year earlier, amid a 56% gain in search inquires and 185% growth of Walmart sponsored products ads that appear on the first page of search results, category pages and item pages on its site, per its announcement.
Walmart's expansion of its partnership program with Harvest Group, Stackline and Tinuit aims to lure their clientele to its growing advertising platform and give marketers more resources to promote their products among its various sales channels. With many consumers still avoiding stores, Walmart is among the retailers that saw a surge in e-commerce activity last year. Walmart's U.S. e-commerce sales grew 35% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, helping to drive a 2.1% gain in revenue to $141.7 billion during a period that included the holiday shopping season, per its quarterly report. As shoppers place delivery and pickup orders from its site, marketers have an opportunity to reach them with a variety of ad placements.
As Walmart competes more directly with Amazon, whose business segment that includes ad revenue grew 64% YoY to $7.95 billion in Q4, the retailer has ramped up its efforts to grab a share of marketers' media budgets. The company in January rebranded its media network as Walmart Connect to encompass omnichannel campaigns that include its website, mobile app, membership program and various in-store experiences. Walmart last year increased the number of net new advertisers by 40% as more marketers sought to reach shoppers closer to the point of sale.
Walmart also partnered with ad-tech firm The Trade Desk to create a new demand-side platform (DSP) for marketers that buy media in automated auctions. The platform, which has a target launch date ahead of the 2021 holiday season, will give marketers a way to harness Walmart's shopper data to improve their ad targeting on other websites aside from its e-commerce platform.
The company this month announced plans to buy the technology and IP behind Thunder, an ad-tech solution focused on creative automation, in an effort to grow its self-serve display platform. Thunder's automation capabilities aim to make campaign management more seamless and accessible to a wider range of advertisers including smaller suppliers. The purchase helps to fill out its suite of services for marketers, and follows its integration last year with an omnichannel analytics solution called Performance Dashboards into its media network.