Welcome to Unpacking the Digital Shelf, where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age.
Hey, everyone. Peter Crosby here from The Digital Shelf Institute. We come bearing great news for the industry. The Wild West of retail media has just started on a path to get way less wild, and way more transparent, accurate, reliable, and secure all thanks to the work of the IAB, the Media Rating Council, and experts from across the industry. Yes, the IAB has released a landmark new set of guidelines for retail media and measurement, a significant step forward to help organizations, "Ensure compliance with privacy regulations, maintain transparency with users, and enhance privacy protections in reported outcomes datasets."
Joining us today on this Unpacking the Digital Shelf megasode are Jeffrey Bustos, VP measurement addressability data at IAB, Kelly Kachnowski, VP of commercial development at the Mars Agency, and Michael Schuh, VP of media strategy and product at Kroger Precision Marketing. Let's dig in.
Oh my gosh. I am so excited about this episode of Unpacking the Digital Shelf. We have some of the brightest minds in retail media talking about the newly released retail media measurement standards from the IAB. We have so many guests today. This is a megasode, so hang in. We've got a long one coming at you because we've got so many brains on here to dig into this.
We have IAB's very own, and the lead on the new standards, Jeffrey Bustos. Kelly Kachnowski from the Mars Agency, and Michael Schuh from Kroger 84.51. Thank you all so much for being here today and talking about this truly groundbreaking moment of maturing for retail media and the industry. Our audience knows that with the plethora of retail media networks, it has been a challenge to identify what to prioritize, how to measure, and how to strategize around retail media. I just was so excited that the IAB recognized that and brought together a great coalition of brands, agencies, and retailers to tackle this really important moment. Jeffrey, we'll start with you. How did all of this start, and how did these standards come to life?
About a year and a half ago, we really launched the Retail Media Committee last year in June, and there's always been conversation on standardizing retail media. I did think that it was a little early to standardize last year just given all the innovation that was still happening. We also thought it was important, as a group, to provide an overview of guidance and best practices in retail media, so we first focused on the Retail Media Buyer's Guide, which we published in July. Once that was done, in April of this year, we set forth to develop retail media measurement standards, looking at recommendations, best practices, and business requirements for retailers.
We partnered with MRC, the Media Rating Council, and the objective of the working group was bringing retailers, brands, agencies, and active companies that were working, currently working on measurement to identify ways in which we could bring more transparency and consistency to measurement across the retail media ecosystem.
I think one of the most exciting parts of this is that most of the retailers do want to standardize, be standardized. They're the biggest champion, so it made my life very easy on that, so that was very exciting. Obviously, there was a lot of engagement and excitement from the brands and the agencies because, obviously, especially agencies are having to balance this across not only various retailers, but also various brands.
This is really just such an exciting time to have brands, retailers, agencies, everyone working together, so I really applaud you on doing that, Jeffrey, and really exciting, Kelly and Michael, to have you be a part of that. Michael, from the retailer perspective, can you tell us why you think the standards are critical to the industry, why you're excited to be a part of it? We'd love to hear the retailer side.
Absolutely, yeah. Peter said part of it in his opening too, just around the number of retail media companies out there and really, how that makes it difficult, I'm sure, with your firm, or brand, and agency partners all the time on how it makes it difficult to understand performance and to understand what retailers are providing back in terms of performance metrics and outcomes.
As I think about the importance of the standards, it's really because signal loss has really broken some of the old media investment models. You think about some of what the ANA and others have published recently around the amount of dollars that are really heavily wasted in the programmatic and environment, and across digital media as a whole. Retailers have really grown in importance as a media platform and a media investment strategy because of new signals that are leading to better media planning and better media measurement technologies.
The signals are closer to the advertisers' traditional ... to their business and traditional media metrics, and it's moving the industry from just reporting on clicks, CTR impressions, and reach to things like sales, household penetration lift, other things that matter.
Those signals mean that there's some greater complexity to work with and to understand. With so many retail media players out there, and many of them doing it very differently, being on different parts of the maturity curve and where their business is, universal definitions and standards are just absolutely critical to help us speak the same language, help brands ensure that the measurement that they're getting have a high standard of performance and accuracy that they can compare and just understand, transparently, what's happening with their media investment.
I'm really confident that what's going to happen as an end result of this being a first step, certainly, in terms of establishing standards, the end result is going to be a media economy that delivers more relevant messages for everybody involved, for advertisers, for publishers, and for consumers who are consuming media across their entire digital ecosystem.
Yeah, Michael. As you know, our listeners are the brand manufacturers, the suppliers, as you might think of them, and the people who are deciding where to put their investment dollars to reach those new shoppers and to ... As you know, and retail media has really become a powerful place to not only get performance-driven advertising but also really set brand stories and drive affinity. It's become a full-funnel kind of opportunity, and so that's why I think you've seen all of the investments flow towards that medium. It's also a time when our listeners and their executives are looking at, "How do we all of this profitably? How do we know that we're getting the best return for our dollars?"
I'm wondering if part of this is that, just as part of you at Kroger have been such a leader in creating this opportunity, do you hear that back from your brand partners? We'll talk to Kelly about this in a second, but is that part of the drive for you is wanting to make it a very clear investment decision for the brands that you work with?
Yeah, absolutely. When we first launched Kroger Precision Marketing almost six years ago at this point, we set out on our mission to actually hold media more accountable. It's not something we talk about all the time, but when we first launched and even throughout our journey, that's what we talk to brands about, is we want to help drive accountability with media investments.
Accountability to real outcomes and these standards and the conversations that follow are really what's going to help a brand, or an agency, or an investment team really understand the efficacy of their investment on one platform versus another, and where there's differences, how to understand those differences so that a dollar here and a dollar there, whether it's upper-funnel, mid-funnel, lower-funnel, it doesn't matter. We should be measuring what matters and doing it in the right way.
Kelly, I bet you have been involved in a lot of those conversations with folks like Kroger on behalf of your clients and on behalf of your agency. How does this new moment or these new standards, what's the before and after to you? How has it felt, and then how do you feel like this will shape the progression of the industry moving forward and the work that you do?
Yeah, it's been a challenge because we are dealing with a lot of different information from a lot of different sources. The standards are really going to bring us closer to helping to make our brand clients make better comparisons so that they can make those strategic investment decisions. We think about that in a couple of different ways. One, how do we compare the retail media performance with national media? There's only a limited amount of money that brands have to spend, and they have to decide, across their different budget items, where they're going to invest.
Now with the standards, it'll help us be able to compare those two things more apples to apples so we can make those decisions, and the standards are more in line with those existing media standards, as we were saying. Then secondly, looking across retailers. That's where, I think, the Mars Agency, that's where a lot of our challenge comes in because it's been, historically, very difficult to take in the reporting from the different retail media networks and compare them.
We've built our own technology within the agency to help our clients do that, but by standardizing those definitions and forcing people to give more transparency into the methodology ... Not forcing, but recommending that transparency, we'll be able to then better compare apples to apples, and it'll help our brands make more holistic budgeting decisions with a lot more information, a lot more intelligence going into that.
I think, most importantly, the standards are educating the industry. I think that the sophistication of analytics teams across businesses is different. It's varied, and this is helping brands understand what they can go ask for. Maybe not everybody knows that they can go ask for certain types of reporting and information. It's also helping to set some expectations on not asking for the moon because a lot of times, folks don't understand the lift that's involved to be able to give custom reporting for a lot of different campaigns. That's a lot on the retail media network, so this will help level-set those expectations. If we can hold everybody accountable to meeting these standards, I think it's going to be really a seed change in how we do business.
Agreed, and a really big moment for the industry because I know that having that partnership is just so important. Jeffrey, without further ado, let's dig into some of the standards. Can you talk about just the key areas that you focused on when it came to creating these standards?
Yeah, so we focused on six key areas. The first part that we focused was on data quality and processing. We want to make sure that retailers are providing and really ensuring that the data that they're using is viable and you can trust it. Then the second part, from there, we looked at audience measurement and metrics. How are audiences being measured? How are those audiences being developed?
Chapter three is really where it's interesting. We talk a lot about in-store digital based-place measurement, which obviously, in-store is seeing a lot of innovation and growth. A lot of the projections from eMarketer for there were providing in-store zones, and pretty much are saying, "In-store has measurements already. Let's not create chaos there."
I think where it gets a little more fun is on chapter four, when we talk about ad delivery and viewability. We really expand on the notion where for any reported outcome, you need to have a way in which you can prove that someone was exposed to the ad, either through viewability verification or through extrapolation that can prove exposure. Because if you just think about it from a basic perspective, closed-loop measurement just means the ability for me to know the impact of the ad through the outcome. For me to really trust that closed-loop measurement, I need to make sure that someone saw the ad.
Then the next chapter is really on guidelines and best practices on measuring incrementality. There's been a big push for retailers to have incrementality or iROAS be the metric that they champion, which we think is great, but I think that when there's such big emphasis on a metric, it's important to provide standardization guidelines on how that metric is being derived, the methodologies.
Then finally, we talk a lot about reporting and transparency and identifying certain metrics that need to be defined and standardized across all retailers. To what Kelly was saying, we need to have a way that you can easily compare performance across retailers. I think also, to what Kelly said, is that it's not just standardizing retailers. It's also standardizing brands. Customizable attribution windows is amazing. That would be amazing, but I don't think that anybody has the data and technological power to be able to do customizable attribution windows. Maybe in a few years with AI. It's also trying to make sure that you identify things that can be standardized that are actually possible with the technology today.
Then also for brands, it's also holding them accountable to make sure that they're more standardized in how they look at things, to what Kelly was saying. Because if every brand takes these standards and then asks for their own little specific things on it, we go back to the same problem that they can't measure things comparably anymore, so it's really on how to bring both sides ... Standardize it and just have a happy medium in which we can continue growing retail media.
Well, first of all, thank god we didn't get through a podcast without mentioning AI because it's going to save the world. I'm sure, but no, I mean that's where you can, hopefully, lean into things like that to actually get some of this sort of next-level things going. The standards that you have here, the categories of them are really exciting because in all the conversations that Lauren, and I, and others have had around this, these are the themes that keep coming up that make it very difficult to do business in this environment.
I want to dig in on the one that you called out as the most fun, which is ad deliverability and viewability. As you mentioned, it's a really important metric for brands because if they're not being seen, then you just wasted your dollars or certainly wasted it from the perspective of your bosses, the owners of budgets, CFOs being able to feel confident in the spends that they're making. How did that discussion go? What came out of that discussion, in a little bit more detail, for our listeners?
With that discussion, we were really able to dive into what was technologically possible. Because, again, a lot of it with these standards, the objective was, let's develop standards that can be implemented by retailers within six months, so we didn't want to create impossible standards that maybe retailers were like, "This is amazing. It's going to take us three years to build it," just because the technology doesn't exist. That was one of the limitations that we had or parameters that we had around it, but then it was really investigating how you can ensure that there was exposure and you can prove out the exposure.
There was various methodologies in which were outlined, and then what we did is we made sure that there was sufficient transparency and overview on how those methodologies were used so that brands can feel secure on the measurement, that they're on the outcomes that are being measured. I think, to your point, a lot of the conversation was also that ... To paraphrase Cara Pratt, we really need to focus on the outcome metrics and not really the vanity metrics.
She says it way better than I do, but I think that's really also where we need to start working on, what is the outcome? What are we really trying to achieve based on an objective? Especially the retail media that provides closed-loop measurement. Your CPM and CPCs really don't matter if you're achieving your outcome, and that should really be the focus. That's why when we focus on that, we really wanted to make sure that there was the match between somebody being exposed to the ad and the outcome of the ad, and not so much the vanity metrics of somebody just being exposed to the ad and transacting on that exposure.
Yeah, I think vanity metrics come into play when there's really nothing else there to grab onto and now, this transition to a path of better and better measurement is super exciting. Michael, you're one of the ones ... Well, you created the fire to put your feet on, but when you think about, certainly, the initial standard, "We can accomplish this in six months," how do you feel about where that's headed? Then how do you think about, without obviously any, I'm sure you don't have any levels of great detail, but the path forward? Because this is the beginning, I'm sure. Overall, what do you think about it for your, for the retailer side of the equation?
Yeah, the outcome measures, and what Jeffrey mentioned there at the end, is so, so important. One of the things we've tried to do as part of this is actually just back to basics first. There's so many things that are really well-established already. One of the things I appreciate with how Jeffrey, and the IAB, and the MRC being involved as well, the approach that we've taken is not to rewrite everything, and rewrite for what is a different channel, retail media. Let's start with what exists.
There are very well-established standards for what it means for an ad to be viewable. Retail media is not a separate channel. It's media, and to date, with how fast retailers have grown up as media companies, it's been really inconsistent in how some of those standards have been followed or applied and that's putting it nicely, in some respects. With that lens of bringing forward things that already exist and things that retailers can implement in six months or less, we know that retailers are publishers. They're publishers of content and context on their own sites and apps, and we should treat that experience very much the same.
When I say get back to basics, you've got to get the core right first. You've got to understand, even for the simplest of metrics like reach and attributed sales, those have to trigger off of viewable impressions. They have to be based on an ad that was seen by a real human in view on the page or on the app, and there's two core reasons I see for that. First, brands and advertisers have to be able to understand and compare across their performance investments or at the very least, know where there are differences. We've talked a little bit about that already.
Getting the foundation right, secondly, or wrong will have a domino effect into those other more complex measures that retailers are capable of bringing forward. Jeffrey mentioned incrementality, in-store sales attribution, incremental household penetration. Those are really important things. Growth in category share. But if they're all based on a foundation that is different across every area, some impressions viewable, some not, some impressions delivered, some not, those other metrics are going to fail as a result of that. What I view this moment as so important for is getting the basics right and then enabling us to bring forward those outcomes that are going to truly transform what media does for consumers.
I love that point you made. Retail media is still media. We've been doing media for a long time in many different aspects, so I think that speaks to, internally as an organization, thinking about who's focusing on this and how you're working cross-functionally around media. Also, I love that comparison that you need to have the building blocks and the basics first to then be able to get to some of those more complex metrics.
When we think about attribution and incrementality, that's another really hot topic. I was just talking about it today with another brand. When we think about having a clear picture about how much money you're spending and what you're getting out of that, Jeffrey, what came out of that conversation and what did you get to in terms of how to define the attribution and the incrementality?
For incrementality, one of the things, one of the main topics that we really dove into was the use of synthetic controls and the weighting in terms of attribution as well. For example, if you search cereal and you look at the product display pages, and Frosted Flakes comes up as an ad, and you click it, and you buy it, direct attribution. That's great. Incremental, that's 100% incremental sale. One of the things we said, that if you're not doing a ... You don't have a control, and hold that group, and doing a true A/B test and use synthetic controls, then you need to ensure that you're weighting not just the behavioral attributes but also the traffic sources within the platform and their search intent.
If you were to have searched Frosted Flakes and you also bought the Frosted Flakes, any A/B test would weight as differently. With synthetic controls, that may not always the case, so we did say that you had to ensure that you were weighting ... I would probably be weighted higher because I did a non-brand search and I bought the product, and you did the brand search and you bought the product.
We also talked about, in terms of viewability, if from the product display page, same experience, non-brand Frosted Flakes and I buy the product and there's an ad in the bottom, but the ad just rendered but it was never viewable, you shouldn't attribute a sale to that because I never saw it. Then even if I did see it, you should definitely weigh that much lower if you use synthetic controls if I buy the product. Because most people that are in the product display page bought the product, so the incremental value is not that high, and that's something that you may not ... You definitely have to ensure that you're reducing that data bias for synthetic controls.
Then for attribution, we provide a lot of best practices on how you should be looking at, same thing, weighting and then also a lot of examples and recommendations on statistical models, which we thought were really important. Yeah, I think one thing to really echo kind of like what Michael said in terms of really ensuring that we're striving to improve the industry. Every time we get on a call, Andrew ... I mean, sorry. Michael was always talking about, how can we ensure that we are doing what's right and not what's easier? He really set the bar.
I think that's one of the reasons that it's great to have Michael as a co-chair, because he, to his point, I think he's really trying to see what is moving the industry forward and what can continue growth. Because at the end of the day, yes, retail media is growing continuously and it's growing really rapidly. If we want this growth to continue long term, the objective of the retailer should be, "How can I help my ... How can I improve the customer experience to move more products?" Because the goal of this brand is, "How can I move products off the shelf?" If you are not creating an ecosystem that helps brands and agencies do that as seamlessly as possible and measure success on that, short term, yes, you're going to be very profitable but long term, there's no profitability or growth in the industry that way.
If everyone wins together, that's really what success is. We all need to focus on being our best partners so I love that, Jeffrey. I think that's amazing and I think that's the beauty of these standards. Kelly, from your perspective on the agency side, when you think about attribution and incrementality, what did you feel came out of the retail standards?
Yeah, I think what was really interesting is that I think folks came into the discussion with a clear thought in their mind of what the attribution window should be. The point of the standards is not to define that specifically because measuring the sale of a refrigerator is completely different than measuring the sale of a can of soup. We're all coming from different perspectives, so it was interesting, I think, the revelation of we have to define the definitions.
We have to define the recommendations for transparency, but we're not necessarily trying to define the specifics. I think that might have been a little eye-opening to some folks. Like they had, "What should that be?" Well, it's not about what should it be, but are you getting that information from your reporting? Then just to echo what Jeffrey and Michael have both said, the point of this is that we're all coming from different perspectives.
Listening to the conversations was so interesting. It was very robust. At the end of the day, the collective goal is understanding. Everybody wants the campaigns to be successful because everybody wants a positive experience for the shoppers. Setting these standards and thinking about the discussions on attribution and incrementality, it's level setting us in a place where we can then start to grow and get to deeper insights, deeper information. This is the first set of standards, but what are we going to do in a year as we start to increase what we're able to do with this information? It's definitely helping the collective industry.
It's so great to hear all of you talk about this. One, just I know how much energy you all have put into this, and others in the industry, so it's really exciting to just hear your passion for it and how diligent you've been. I think what you talked about, Kelly, is so true that when you're writing regulations, whether it's at this level or all the way at the governmental level, you have to be very careful to know that ... Like how do you regulate without either tamping down innovation or codifying something that just will be out of date in the next six months?
Finding that right balance and giving enough room for innovation and the industry keep moving, it must be kind of a juggling game. Did you struggle with that along the way? Or it sounded like some of those conversation came up.
Yeah, I think that they did. I would like to, I think, the Mars Agency with the report card made my life very easy because they kind of already set the blueprint on what that conversation would look like. They developed ... The report card is great because it looks at all the different attributes that retailers have. It talks about the innovation that they have.
When we started drafting them, I definitely used those as an overview of saying, "Well, these are the measurement requirements. These are who the retailers are." Then, "How can we develop standards that look at non-derived metrics?" That way, innovation continue happening. Maybe in five years, we decide that incrementality isn't it, but we focus on non-derived metrics such as attribution, viewability, which at the end of the day, those will always exist to get any derived metric we come up with later, so that was one of the things that we really wanted to focus on. We weren't going to dictate how you measure ROAS. We were going to dictate the metrics that go into measuring that, so that was one thing.
Then I think with innovation, I think it was important to, obviously, with the example of the chapter three when we look at digital based-place ads environments for in-store, there we were just saying, "Hey, these are the definitions for in-store." We talked about exposure zones, dwell time engagement. We didn't put any specific limits on what a dwell time is, what engagement exposure zones distance. What we really just said is, gave the overall definitions and allowed the retailers to really decide on that.
Then also, providing that education because at the end of the day, is, if a retailer provides enough transparency where both the brand and the retailer can discuss what the exposure zones should be for them and how they're viewing that performance, I think that's really important. Because at the end of the day, Peter, to your point is, how do you balance customization and standardization with a platform and solution that is very much personalized driven?
A lot of what we focus is, how can we call out ways in which there can be more transparency to the methodology so that even as there's more innovation, you're still using data modeling, you're still using statistical models, there's still data bias, there's still data controls? That's really what we focused on. At the same point, we also left a lot of open room so that we're probably going to look at in-store alone, by itself.
We hinted that we were going to do an in-store taxonomy, and we talked about in-store zones. We did leave a little bit more room so that the industry can continue to innovate, and then we'll see where that ends up maybe in a year or two, and then we may have to readdress some of the points to continue with the innovation, especially as we look at off-site and in-store.
What I find really interesting is that you also did the Buyer's Guide before you did the standards to also get everyone in the right headspace and thinking about it in the same way. Because I think one of the challenges with retail media is someone might not be native to knowing retail media, may not have done it for the past five years. It might be new to them so they might only know one metric or one element of it.
The Buyer's Guide really set the stage to make sure the education was there, everyone was talking about the same things, and now the standards really help the brands and the retailers build their strategies in the right way. For anyone who's listening, I encourage you to look at the Buyer's Guide and also to look at the standards together, because I think that really sets a great stage.
Kelly, when you think about making changes ... Jeffrey shared that six months to make these changes that were set out from the retailer standards. From the agency side, how are you going about making those changes? Have you maybe spoken to any other agencies? How are you feeling about implementing these things moving forward?
Yeah, well, and Jeffrey mentioned the Retail Media Network Report Card that our agency puts out. The first thing we're doing is looking at, how do we incorporate these standards into that report card so that we are providing a measure of how we think retail and media networks are living up to those standards, so that'll be a concrete point that we can pull into that rationale. In terms of changes, it's giving us a resource to point to when we make measurement and reporting recommendations.
It's giving us those proof points to say, "It's okay to ask for these things." I think it's just helping us have those conversations. Having all of the transparency guidelines outlined in the standards is just going to help us get the data points we need to better compare apples to apples and help our clients make those investment decisions. I think it's supporting everything that we've been saying, but been really helping us have those conversations with our brands and our retail partners.
Michael, from the retailer side, I can almost imagine during joint business planning with some of the brands, maybe they bring this to the table, or this is the standard or the framework that they use to have these conversations. How are you imagining including these standards in your conversations with brands and making these changes internally?
Yeah, they certainly do and I expect they will more so after this as well. That's really, for me, what's been a big part of this process has been, how do we enable the right transparent conversations between sellers and buyers? That happens in pockets today, but we need to empower everybody to do that because that's what's really going to help lift the industry and help create a better experience for consumers. Because I think about retailers. It's been awesome to actually collaborate with many different retailers as part of the group. Some of them in the grocery space like me, and some of them in different verticals, Best Buys or Home Depots of the world.
Everybody's made different choices as they've stood up their media business. Some of have built things internally. Some of have relied on ad tech partners. I expect that some of the more mature media platforms and retailers will have less to change in some respects. I expect there's going to be a lot who need to rely on different partners or agencies to help meet the standards and help drive the right visibility and transparency into their practices based on the data asset that they have, the inventory that they have on their site, and other things.
We often talk about this thing, retail media, but the underlying data is very different for every retailer. Yes, it's behavioral. Yes, it's first party. Some of it's digital. Some of it's in-store. Some of it's tied to a loyalty program. Some of it's based on credit card transactions and other things. It's very different, and so those transparent conversations between sellers and buyers are going to be one of the most important outcomes out of this.
It's not to say that brands and agencies won't stop advertising with certain retailers who don't follow the brands. It's just going to create a bridge and create a more productive conversation on what needs to be true to enable a certain retailer's capabilities and data measurement offerings to really influence that brand's investment in a bigger way, and just create that benchmark and framework for the conversations they should have.
Michael, if you could say to the brand, "Here's one thing that I want you to do differently in joint business planning with Kroger, or one thing I want you to get out of the standards that would be valuable for our partnership," what would it be?
Ask us more questions, challenge. I think there's a lot of our brand partners that do challenge us today, that bring their feedback, that call us out when they don't understand something or they don't see something from us. That's what we want. We welcome that feedback. We welcome that conversation. I think you mentioned the Buyer's Guide a little bit ago too. That served as a foundation to help educate on what retail media is, why it's important, what it's out there, what it can do for brands and their investments.
This is about enabling brands to enter those conversations with their retailer partners, myself and my teams included, to come prepared with questions to be able to really get into what's happening with their business and how they can grow, how they can grow their category share, how they can leverage the retailers' capabilities to be more effective with how they spend.
Jeffrey, I want to ask you what happens from here in two dimensions. I actually want to start with a long-term view first because as you think about this, this is to Michael and Lauren's point, now these requirements having been sort of cooked up in the lab are about to go out and sort of meet the fog of war out in the world.
I'm wondering, what is the time span for ongoing revision and where these go? Because these should be building standards of this for the next decade of the digital shelf. How do you think about the arc of the next period that these go out and live in the world, so that before there's a new version or something like that? How do you think about that span, first of all?
I think the first step for us would be education. I think education's incredibly important. We're working on some partnerships that will help that education. Kelly hinted at the report card that me, selfishly, I was like, "Can we include them?" I think that education's going to be great because the standards, they are very technical. They get very ... They're very descriptive, so I think that somebody that is on the product engineering or actually on the measurement analytics part of retail media understand it. The question is, how do we create education so that the person is deciding on those budgets, optimizing on those budgets, meeting on those negotiations can understand what the standards are?
It's partnering on education, so that's going to be a big part that we'll publishing various guides and guidelines on education so that brands and agencies can understand, "How do I use this?" Then also, guidelines so that retailers can be like, "What do I do? How should I prioritize it? What does this mean?" We're working on some partnerships that we'll be announcing in the next coming weeks on how we were thinking of doing this.
Then I think from there, obviously, one of the things also is that the standards, there's not going to be a retail media standard. There's various standards with the guide, so it's going to be each chapter, essentially, and that just will allow for the flexibility for that. Retailers can get fully standardized across everything, just because the specific ability for them to be standardized across everything, just I would say very few retailers today would be able to be accredited fully.
Depending on how that goes, we may have a full certification of retail media, but we'll start from there. Then also working with other auditing companies on creating specific audits for retailers, long term. I think beyond that is, how can we ... The objective of the standard is, how can we make it easier for you to buy retail media? A lot of what we're thinking about is beyond standards. It's creative ad specifications. How can we improve the ability for you to buy retail media? We're having a lot of discussions on what that might look like, what that might be.
Obviously, there's a lot of ideas, but that's what we're thinking, long term, beyond measurement. Then have the standards out for a few months and see where they are. Then also look at in-store, so that's what we're thinking in terms of long term, in terms of standardizing of retail media.
Great. I certainly want to give credit where credit is due. I think Michael mentioned them earlier, but the Media Rating Council, the MRC has been an important part of this effort as well, yes?
Yes. Ron from the Media Rating Council has been paramount on this. He has been incredibly patient and helped us a lot in drafting, and coming to compromises, and really aligning, ensuring that we are as concise as we can be. Yeah, they've been incredible partners and we're obviously going to continue working with them.
We've worked with them before. We're going to continue working with them, and I think that the next project will probably be digital based-place, but it'll be an MRC-led project. We'll be participating because it'll be much larger than just our group. There's a lot of ways in which we're looking to ensure that this initiative continues to grow in the right direction.
I'm sure both patience and a sense of humor is critical when you're building regulations for an entire industry-
... so I'm glad you had all of that. Let's zoom into the short term here and put our listeners' feet to the fire right now. How can our listeners participate in this process, add their voice? What can they do?
The Retail Media Measurement Guidelines went out for public comment on September 13th, and they will be out for public comment until October 13th, and then you can ... We'll publish them at IAB.com, and then you can send over your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will reconvene October 19th. All the comments that we get from folks will be anonymized.
I will be using that few days to anonymize everyone's feedback and just add comments to the document. Then the group will address all the comments, see what should be added, what's relevant, what's not relevant. I think, a lot of the times, we're also trying to ensure that there's certain parameters on what we're covering and what we're not covering.
Then we hope to get these addressed, hopefully, by the end of the year. If not, if we go into December, we'll probably publish them in early January, just because December with the holidays. Yeah, I think that would be the next steps in how we're going to be addressing this.
Great. We hear so often from our listeners who have been vocal about the struggles that they have with figuring out how to work well in retail media, how to think about accountability, so I encourage everybody to take that fervor and put it into investing back in these standards, because there's no better body in the industry than the IAB to be taking the mantle of this on. This seems like a very important place to participate with your voice, so I would encourage that.
Kelly, you're often the middle person in-between all of these players. What advice would you offer to folks that are trying to understand these and put these into action?
Yeah, I think from an action perspective, I have two things. One is, communicate this information throughout your organization. Oftentimes, the folks responsible for retail media within a brand organization, sometimes, they're part of the rest of the media team. Sometimes, they're separate. Sometimes, they're closely aligned with their analytics team. Sometimes, they're separate. There can be a lot of silos within an organization and this gives a reason to come together and have those conversations, and come to that kind of mutual understanding, so communicate, share, get this information across your organization.
Secondly, it's a great push to make sure that brands and agencies are using this to have conversations with our retail partners and continue to push for standardization, continue to push for transparency. Because if we don't adopt it, if we don't all agree that we're going to abide by the standards or at least strive to abide by the standards, it's never going to work.
We all have to make sure we're holding each other accountable and pushing for standardization, for transparency, for better reporting, and getting the information that we need, and holding ourselves accountable too to understanding that information as we're out there buying retail media. It only works if we all do it, so ....
Yeah. Michael, what do you think about that? Kelly kind of saying it lives and dies on the people adopting it, using it, feedback, et cetera, and actually conversing around it, what do you think? What does the future look like here?
I love that. I'll second everything Kelly said there. It's about those conversations. It's about the conversations that retailers and brands will now be able to have much more directly about the planning, the activation, the performance of their media investments together.
I'll broaden it a little bit and I'll ask the audience really to embrace change because while we're talking about, very clearly, the relationship between retailers and brands, and how we understand investments and everything else, this isn't just about changing retail media, or shopper marketing teams, or even commerce or brand teams. This is about changing the entire industry. This is about having meaningful conversations on sales and attribution, on real business outcomes. These standards are going to enable that.
Anything worth doing is usually hard. It's been hard to get to this moment, and this next phase is going to be even more challenging. Embracing change and having that mindset as you go into those conversations is going to be just incredibly important to make us successful and to help change the entire media industry for the better.
I want to put, I don't know, some movie music theme behind that because-
... that was amazing. I don't know if there's anything else to be said there. I've spent a good portion of my adult life serving on boards for non-profits I believe in, things like that. There are always the people that come to the table to make things happen, and then there's a lot of people that have an opinion about it.
This is the moment where I just would encourage everybody to come together and make this work because it's so important for a really critical area of investment. And in this economic environment, and money's no longer free and all that stuff, making sure you're getting the bang for your buck and finding new shoppers. That's what the whole ballgame's about. Retail media in terms of privacy, and targeting, and all those other good halo things that you get out of it is a really important place to invest in.
First of all, thank you all so much for the investment you've made personally and professionally into this, and to take the time to be here and break the news with us is just, it's an honor for the DSI and we're really grateful.
Thank you so much. It was just incredible to have all of your voices here to share the insights and break the news on the DSI, so we really appreciate everything you're doing for the industry. It's just really, really exciting.
Yeah. I would say, go to iab.com. You'll find these new regulations there. If you have any questions about where to find it or what's going on, email@example.com. Because the people on this podcast are not only brilliant, they're also really good-looking, so we're going to send out a video version of this so that it's more easily sharable within your organization. I'll explain how to find that in the closer, but also, we'll be publishing it on our LinkedIn channels and things like that.
Lauren, I know you're very interested and involved in this, so folks can always reach out to you. You have great ways of connecting or making sure, and everything will also be at digitalshelfinstitute.org. Right?
Yes. Happy to help. If you have-
Did I mess that up?
... questions, let me know. I can connect you, digitalshelfinstitute.org. It'll all be there for you.
Great. Thanks again, team. We really appreciate it. Congratulations.
Thank you so much. Really enjoyed it.
Thanks to all our guests for helping us break the news of this significant step forward in maturing the retail media market. We are grateful to the IAB for sharing this news with us. You can also access the video version I mentioned by going to our podcast page at digitalshelfinstitute.org. The link will be available under the listing for this episode. We'll also be sharing the link on our DSI LinkedIn page. Thanks for being part of our community.