A new survey from IAB Europe highlights the urgent need for standardization in retail media, especially around measurement and attribution. The 2023 Retail Media Standards Survey polled 110 respondents across buyers, sellers and enablers of retail media in Europe.
The headline finding is that lack of standards is hindering further investment in retail media. Only 53% of buyers find the buying process efficient, while sellers are split on the efficiency of selling. When asked to explain why, respondents cited "lack of standardization", "different platforms, reporting and APIs" and "multiple buying methods" as key pain points.
This lack of standards manifests most clearly around measurement and attribution. As the chart below shows, 89% of all respondents said media measurement is in need of standardization. For attribution measurement the figure was 88%.
Digging deeper, media and attribution measurement also came out top when respondents were asked to select the top 3 priority areas for standardization
In verbatim responses, buyers and sellers called out the need for "standardisation of and transparency in attribution and definitions", "unified measurement of metrics" and "a solid attribution model which is widely used across multiple large retailers".
Right now, every retailer has their own approach to measurement and attribution. This makes it extremely difficult for buyers to accurately evaluate campaigns across different retailers. And the lack of third-party verification further undermines trust and comparability.
As one respondent put it, "we need same KPI definitions and a same calculation methodology" to be able to meaningfully compare campaign performance across retailers.
The conclusion is clear - standardization in retail media measurement and attribution should be the top priority for the industry. As the IAB states, "the survey results clearly indicate the need for standards to be developed in retail media in Europe".
This will require coordination and commitment from both buy and sell sides. But the potential upside is huge -with standards in place, buyers can invest with more confidence and the entire retail media market can scale. Other forms of digital advertising have shown the way, now it's time for retail media to step up.
With buyers and sellers aligned on the need, the next step is execution. It will require compromise and resource from all players. But the prize is a bigger and better functioning retail media ecosystem.