When we asked an array of experts what they believe is the biggest challenge facing the retail media landscape as we go into 2024, there was a common theme.

“The biggest challenge facing the retail media landscape as we head into 2024 is the increased fragmentation,” asserts Jaclyn Nix, EVP Sales and Operations at CitrusAd. “We’ve heard from agencies and brands that when the tools are fragmented it makes things more difficult, especially if it’s a brand-new platform.”

Nich Weinheimer, EVP of Strategy at omnichannel marketing platform Skai, agrees: “Marketers cite fragmentation and the lack of standardisation as significant gaps that need to be bridged to open up the next era of retail media. The existing fractured retailer media network (RMN) technology and services landscape will impede growth targets and network expansion goals if unaddressed.”

How can the effects of fragmentation and lack of standardisation be countered in 2024? Here’s what our experts had to say.

Read our digital and marketing trends for 2024. Or find out more about our eLearning plan, Optimising the Retail Media Opportunity.

RMNs must make their data more accessible

“Looking ahead to the coming year … we’re going to see an increasing number of traditional vendors jumping on the retail media wave, which will create further confusion for brands as they try to understand how exactly to deliver ROI from any retail media spend,” predicts Nicole Kivel, Managing Director, Northern Europe at Criteo.

Maren Seitz, Senior Director at independent analytics company Analytic Partners, agrees with the problem at hand: “As a whole, retail media is in its development stage and clearly growing – this third wave of digital advertising is rolling and building enormous speed. … The increased attention means increased pressure to demonstrate impact, which will be a heavy burden on all those involved. Advertisers are becoming increasingly concerned about… the difficulty of accurately measuring the impact of marketing efforts.”

“Retail media networks must make their data more accessible and allow brands to set up holistic measurement,” she adds.

Take a deep dive into retail media with Econsultancy’s new learning plan, ‘Optimising the Retail Media Opportunity’

Retailers and agencies must support CPG brands

Ian Black, Head of Retail Media at Publicis Commerce, notes that the fragmentation of retail media and resulting complexity will particularly impact CPG brands, who are “selling in upwards of 5-10 retailers, [meaning that] the process of planning and measuring campaigns effectively across their retailer base is already becoming increasingly challenging, especially when balancing with trading dynamics.”

Black believes that the onus falls on retailers and agency partners to help brands navigate this complexity. “Brands understandably will be more reluctant to invest further without clarity on the business impact of their existing activity; it’s up to us to support them and ensure they are adopting intelligent solutions that tangibly tie retail media to business outcomes that can translate across retailers.”

Lori Johnshoy, head of global retail and CPG strategy at data collaboration platform, LiveRamp, echoes the need for collaboration. “While the proliferation of media networks has provided exciting opportunities, it has also created a fragmented landscape with varying data formats and measurement standards. This makes it difficult for brands to effectively compare performance across different networks and optimise their campaigns.

“The good news is that positive steps are being taken to address these challenges. The IAB/MRC Retail Media Measurement Guidelines provide a much-needed framework for standardised measurement, and we can expect to see more collaboration between retailers in 2024 to further refine and implement these guidelines.

“Ultimately, success in the retail media landscape will depend on the ability of networks to work together and provide brands with the data and insights they need to make informed decisions and achieve their marketing goals.”

Cookie deprecation will bring RMNs into focus

“[Fragmentation] will be exacerbated in 2024 once Google deprecates third-party cookies — as RMNs offer brands a key safe haven for targeting with first-party data,” predicts Skai’s Nich Weinheimer.

“Thus, just as retailer media networks are becoming more critical to marketers, there’s an increasing demand for better measurement, standardisation, and control, making this challenge even bigger than before. This oil and water juxtaposition will be fascinating and likely play out dramatically!”

Standards for measurement, privacy, and interoperability

Eric Brackmann, VP of Commerce Media at Koddi, predicts that retail media (also called commerce media to encompass offerings beyond retail) will adopt a number of industry best practices for measurement, privacy, and interoperability.

“The industry will see a greater push for standardised and transparent measurement. Establishing common standards will enhance collaboration and improve the overall quality of data and analytics.

“There will also be continued efforts to establish and adhere to rigorous standards for customer data privacy. Commerce media networks and advertisers will need to work together to ensure responsible and ethical handling of customer information, investing in clean rooms and similar technologies. The decline of third-party cookies will play a major role here as well.

“[Lastly], unification will extend to creating interoperable ecosystems where different components, such as campaign management, ad delivery, and measurement seamlessly work together across channels. This will allow for better data analysis and enhance the overall advertiser value proposition.”

Read more expert predictions on the evolution of full-funnel retail media or dive into all of our predictions for 2024.