Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Retail Media Networks get actual skin in the game with branded keyboards

By Leo Giel, CEO, Tappa

One of the biggest trends in digital marketing over the last two years has been the growth of retail media networks.

A retail media network is a network established by a retailer as an ad business. This media network enables that retailer to advertise to their users on their app, site, or other digital platforms, and to also sell those ads.  Retailers that have rolled out retail media networks in recent years include Walmart, Target, Instacart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Michaels, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, and Walgreens. For retailers, it’s the digital extension of in-store shopper marketing programs, which enable selling end-of-aisle or special shelf displays in their physical stores to the marketers selling products in their stores. As the leader in digital grocery sales in the US, Walmart is a dominant player among retail media networks.

And retail media networks aren’t limited to traditional retailers. Marriott, Lyft, and Uber have all launched retail media networks.

Add retail real estate with a retailer-branded keyboard

A great opportunity for retailers rolling out retail media networks to expand their sellable real estate is through a retailer-branded keyboard. Today, it’s easier than ever for any marketer to offer their users a branded keyboard easily downloaded and installed by the end user. And once users have the retailer-branded keyboard installed, engagement soars because there will be more touchpoints between the user and the retailer. These additional touchpoints should result in greater conversions, too.

A retailer-branded keyboard enables sending product offers directly to your keyboard users. And with users accessing their branded keyboards on average 80 times per day, this increases the likelihood of users seeing and engaging with the content sent to them.

Beyond special offers and other product-related content, a retailer-branded keyboard also facilitates the creation and distribution of branded GIFs and stickers, which can be shared in the keyboard or pushed out across social media to supplement the value of social marketing campaigns.

Retail media networks address the first-party data challenges

In the last two years, marketers have been challenged by decreased performance of social marketing campaigns due to Apple and soon Android privacy changes which will severely limit the use of first-party data. Because retail media networks offer marketers the ability to engage with prospects based on that retailer’s first-party data, they provide marketers with more cost-effective and efficient targeting opportunities.

The addition of a retailer-branded keyboard will provide marketers with more opportunities to engage with the retailer’s relevant users – based on first-party data – while also providing retailers with ad monetization opportunities.

New monetization stream with retailer-branded keyboards

One key feature of retailer-branded keyboards is the integration with an on-keyboard search engine to enable engaging with users when they ask intent-based questions in the search queries. As one would expect, users of retailer-branded keyboards run queries that are contextually relevant to the keyboard’s brand.

The intent-based search feature provides a revenue opportunity for retailer-branded keyboards: monetizing search queries. Marketers bid on keywords associated with the queries conducted by users. Based on revenue share agreements between the retailer and the keyboard developer, retailers profit from the intent-based search functionality included in retailer-branded keyboards.

So not only do retailer-branded keyboards provide marketing support thanks to engagement metrics that often exceed those of apps, but retailers also generate revenue from the intent-based search functionality.

With more and more retailers (and non-retailers) launching retail media networks, now is the time to consider adding a retailer-branded keyboard as part of a retail media program. The proven increases in user engagement and the additional revenue stream will improve the performance and profitability of the retail media network. 


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