Daily Insights

Serving Sophisticated Ads

By: Max Schichan | Oct 11, 2019

Ocado, like many retailers, offers paid placements for brands to boost their visibility on its platform. To upscale its merchandising options and develop advanced ad serving capabilities, Ocado announced a partnership with Citrus Ad.   

Citrus Ad is a third-party ad serving platform that places native Sponsored Products and banner ads on retailer sites to improve the shopping experience through personalization, and allows brands to invest in digital shelf space. Citrus Ad also recently announced a partnership with Argos to equip the site with its technology. These partnerships highlight the shift in retailers enhancing their digital offering and capitalizing on their high volume of site visits.

All major retailers in the U.K. including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Ocado already offer paid placements on their sites, but these are limited in terms of sophistication of the buying platforms and variety of ad types available compared with Amazon. According to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food UK, Amazon features fifteen times the number of Sponsored Products than other retailers⁠—one of the key tools brands use to obtain outsize visibility.  

What does the ad serving platform mean for brands? 

  • Improved buying and reporting
    Ad serving platforms automate ad buying and let brands enter real-time auctions to compete for the best placements. The buying mechanisms and reporting follow the same principles as Google Adwords or Amazon Sponsored Ads platforms and allow brands to manage their investment and measure their returns.
  • Better targeting
    Ad serving platforms enable brands to ensure their products are showcased to a relevant audience,  providing consumers with a personalized shopping experience.
  • Higher competition
    The democratization of ad platforms will allow indie brands to gain strong visibility on retailers’ digital shelves and consequently increase competition for established brands. Index brands should, therefore, closely monitor their competitor’s performance on retailers to ensure they’re not losing digital ground.