Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Get excited, we are amidst the next industrial revolution!

By: Yael Heffetz, Media Consultant at CvE

While we are all a bit obsessed with trying to be the oracle of all things digital (does anyone still say that..?), I paused for a moment of reflection, crystalising why today more than ever, it is crucial we will all try to be oracles.

 “[1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
[2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

Genesis 1

When the Genesis of digital marketing started some time ago, darkness really was everywhere.
These days, we are witnessing a new Genesis of retail media. Astoundingly, even before it commenced, someone(s) ensured to dispel the darkness.

In the beginning of digital marketing, we knew far less than what we were about to learn. But that wasn’t the true darkness, the real problem was that we didn’t have any resources apart from our common sense. The great news is that despite being the fortunate ones to write the next chapter in the history of Digital Marketing, this new media Genesis comes while everything is laid right there under our noses. The web offers online courses, endless articles, podcasts – you name it. All we need to do is reach out and grab it.  

As a marketeer, that started her marketing path in telemarketing, I remember that we used to call prospects one by one. We targeted individuals which were in completely random lists. It is astonishing to learn that marketing not that long ago looked like the beginning of time with a dose of the wild west.

User privacy (GDPR) was not even a concept, audience segmentation was nascent, and the world of digital marketing was so young, unfamiliar and untrusted, that advertisers had to be heavily persuaded to consider shifting budget from TV, print and radio, into this shiny new world, full of promise.

It is hard to put a figure on the exact day that digital marketing was born. The official birthdate of the internet is Jan 1st 1983 and digital marketing followed rather quickly, somewhere in the 1990s.

Thus, we are looking at a piece of history of about 34 years. If we would contrast this to one of the best remembered revolutions that had similar global impact, it would be the industrial revolution.

When the industrial revolution commenced (1760), the global population was estimated by 770,000,000*, by the time the revolution ended (did it really end…?), the world population was estimated by 1 billion – which equates to growth of ~30% and some say, capitalist economy emerged.

Fast forward to 1990 and the world’s population had ballooned to 5.3B (a growth of 430% in 150 years) and since that day, the era in which digital marketing emerged, the world population grew by an additional 53% to reach 8.1B, in just 34 years.

Those figures will help you put into perspective the current era and its enormous potential.

Many marketers, brands and manufacturers have started to understand the strength that their customer’s data holds. Not only that they understood it, there is a whole new world awaking and underneath the somewhat unfamiliar grounds, our ability to see the future and take the right steps, would mark the beginning of a new digital revolution – the retail media era.

While the commerce market is currently evaluated to show a spectacular growth of 25% YOY over the next 5 years in the US market only (BSC Commerce Media Survey), the implication and predictions for the retail media ad spend, are clear, though rather extraordinary.  

In the US only, according to the eMarketer forecast, conducted in Nov 23, retail media ad spend will reach $109.4B by 2027 (chart 2).

Just to put this in perspective according to a study conducted by Statista, Nov 2023:

Ad spending in the Digital Advertising market is projected to reach US$298.4B in 2024.” (chart 3). This is EXCLUDING the retail media ad spend, which is projected to be US$59.61B during 24. This would mean that retail media will represents 16% of the total ad spend in the US for 2024.
By 2027, the current estimate is that total ad spend will land on US$376.50B, meaning that retail media ad spend would account for almost a quarter (22%) of US ad spend.

In the early days of digital marketing, it took far longer than 3 years to convince advertisers shift budget from traditional channels to digital. But the real narrative here is that there won’t be much of a shift needed, as e-commerce and the middle-class population around the globe are both ballooning, marketing budgets will respectively grow as well.

While the e-commerce market is growing annually (chart 1), ad spend is growing with it (chart 3):

The incredible and interesting point to look at, whilst analysing this new shiny revenue stream (retail media), is the speed at which it is growing and how all supporting data and management platforms are evolving in its’ wake.

Walmart Connect introduced recently their Ad Manager platform. The platform fundamentals reflect the basic principles of Google Ads, GMC (Google Merchant Center), and SEO within high-end dashboards. Despite the fact that this new revenue stream is still in its infancy, the market is ready, even with well-established platforms!

When Google Ads was launched, individuals relied solely on their common sense. Help pages and courses were nowhere to be found. As such, while we are privileged to witness those initial genesis days, we are not surrounded by darkness at all. On the contrary. Light really does shine everywhere, in podcasts, in articles, in help pages, in courses, in any digital form one can wish for.

To summarise, I hope that now once all is laid out clearly, one can understand why I would encourage all fellow marketers to start getting their grip on retail media. It is a fast-paced and rapidly accelerating, exciting, and welcoming new world, far less intimidating than expected. There are no entry barriers when trying to acquire knowledge in all of retail media various aspects.

Simply reach out, choose your starting point and off you go.