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Diving deep into Digital Commerce at CES 2024

Last week, musicians, athletes, movie stars, platform and tech leaders, robots, and more took the stage in Las Vegas for four days of inspiration at CES 2024. The event consisted of keynote sessions, exciting launches, and the latest prototypes so with so much to see at CES, our experts have captured the key digital commerce themes and announcements to keep you up to date with the latest and greatest trends from our fast-paced industry.

Written by
Flywheel
January 17, 2024
5
mins
Ecommerce
Retail
Walmart
Amazon
Diving deep into Digital Commerce at CES 2024

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Key Themes: 

  1. Data and Deprecation: The value of data is higher than ever, but so is the need to provide the best real time metrics to prove out investment. This was at the top of the agenda for advertisers and platforms this week. While retailers have always touted their premium data and ability to close the loop, high investment in retail media is pushing the requirements even further. Many partners talked about evolving their metrics to go way beyond ROAS as well as touting new bidding tools and measurement frameworks that will go deeper into delivering against the needs of advertisers.
  2. AI: Yes, we had to say it. While it can be used as a buzzword with no meaning behind it, we saw it come to life on the show floor and within many of the keynotes and panels; supply chain that predicts order needs based on weather, social media popularity and more, robots that adjust to your preferences, holograms that can predict how you may look in 20 years, bidding models that continuously optimize based on previous outcomes, emails summarized with next steps. While there was talk of the downsides of AI, many of the applications we saw confirmed that it will make our lives easier. 
  3. Focus on Above the Line Advertising: Consumers are getting bombarded with ads and are continuing to step back and find ways to bypass these outreaches - which is forcing brands and marketplaces to be more strategic in where they focus and how they measure. Optimization will be the key of 2024 for upper funnel advertising.
  4. Social Upleveling: Creators have amassed a ton of power. In order to continue demanding the fees that top talent gets, they need the sales data to prove it. Integrations and partnerships are being solidified quickly which will give brands the opportunity to ensure return on an investment that was previously limited to awareness. 
  5. Hyperpersonzlization: With more data, more smart devices and more tech backed by large language models, everything can be hyper personalized. This goes beyond targeted digital ads and becomes things like curated digital showrooms online or IRL applications - step into a room in your house and once cameras recognize that it is you, it sets the room temperature, lighting, music, runs the vacuum and more to your preferences based on your past interactions. This shows up in a myriad of applications. 
  6. Mixed Reality: Technology brought the blending of physical and digital together in more advanced forms this  year. Holograms seemed to be all the rage this year as attendees patiently waited in lines to turn themselves into young and mature versions of themselves. Virtual reality headsets were all over the floor as well as the more practical smart glasses for everyday use. 
  7. Mass Monitoring/Tracking: What happens in…it doesn’t stay there because everything is being monitored, giving us the ability to continuously improve! Robots that watch your dog during the day - tracking what they eat; smart plants with apps to track growing and adjust lighting, food; smart bird feeders with cameras to capture the type of bird; personal care devices ensuring you're cleaning properly.

Key Announcements:

Albertsons Taps Criteo to Power Retail Media Ecosystem

Summary: Criteo will now power Albertsons’ on and off site inventory, allowing advertisers to use a simplified self-service tool to buy placements including search, sponsored video and display. Onsite search was previously powered by CitrusAd, while display was managed service. 

Our take: As one of the first API partners to Criteo, we’re excited about this partnership which will unlock stronger efficiencies. Our JBP also unlocks advanced reporting for Albertsons, allowing us to action on insights more effectively. 

Read more here

Instacart Delivers Google Shopping Ads for Its CPG Partners, Powered by Its Retail Media Data

Summary: Google shopping ads will be available using Instacart’s retail media data. 

Our take: We’ve seen this offering from other retailers and think it’s a great way for advertisers to bring their items to the top of product listing ads on Google to then drive to Instacart (likely not the right solution for DTC brands) and then receive closed loop reporting.  

Read more here

Walmart Launches GenAI-Powered Search Experience for iOS Consumers

Summary: Walmart announced quite a few new offerings during their Keynote, however, most relevant to retail media was their GenAI-powered search - an enhanced search experience that elevates the shopping experience, allowing customers to search by specific use cases (e.g.“best smart TV that’s 60in” or “football watch party”), generating more relevant and cross-category results. (note, still in BETA)

Our take: As Walmart continues to focus on upleveling the consumer experience, we think this will help further differentiate themselves from Amazon and other large players in the ecom space. This will be a great way to drive discovery based on data. 

Read more here

Omnicom Integrates Creators with Amazon Posts and Measures Influencer-Driven Commerce 

Summary: Creator assets can be repurposed on the Amazon AdConsole for Posts, to reach shoppers with high performing creative, allowing advertisers to directly attribute sales to creators. 

Our take: While social has historically been awareness driving, we’re very excited to bring proven influencer content closer to the point of conversion in a way that will allow us to analyze performance in the context of the broader Amazon marketplace.

Session Spotlight: Flywheel x Amazon on Connecting Advertisers and Publishers in a Cookie-less World

Christine Gambino, Chief Product Officer at Flywheel joined Amazon Ads for a fireside chat. Here are some of the highlights:

On Connected TV: It’s critical as mature brands invest in upper funnel that we can granularly measure the performance and correctly attribute sales. Connected TV is an excellent vehicle to bridge this gap for brands as upper funnel measurements have previously been more probabilistic vs deterministic (i.e. what we think happened vs. what definitely happened). Mobile shopping and TV viewing, for example, are more prone to errors where users accidentally click or quickly scroll through, giving the false impression of success for advertisers. We have been working with AMC to rethink how we attribute upper funnel tactics, which allows us to connect upper funnel tactics in a more deterministic, "what definitely happened?" way.

On Addressability: In the offline world, there are many journeys where we can’t truly see the customer path to purchase. The best part about clean rooms (like AMC) is they allow us to build more effective audiences. This flexibility and control ultimately informs smarter targeting decisions, reduces ad waste, and sets a proper foundation for building out full funnel campaigns. We believe our ability to combine media data signals together with ASIN level intelligence across the full path to purchase will be the next breakthrough for the industry that we are excited to crack.

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