CVS Pharmacy launches ad network for in-store, online campaigns

Dive Brief:

  • CVS Pharmacy this week introduced a media network to sell advertising directly to marketers including consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. The CVS Media Exchange (CMX) aims to help marketers reach consumers when they’re most ready to shop, Chainstore Age first reported.
  • The media exchange gives advertisers access to online and offline channels, including in-store ads and banners on the CVS.com website, along with programmatic display, online video, social media and search. CVS estimates that 76% of U.S. consumers lives within five miles of at least one of its stores.
  • To help marketers track the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, CVS is offering an in-store and online measurement system and value-added metrics such as brand health, sales lift and growth of new buyers, per Chainstore Age.

Dive Insight:

CVS’s planned rollout of an ad network, which had been in discussion for several months, comes as more retailers are selling digital ad inserts or are offering brands ways to promote their products in stores. Such advertising is especially powerful in reaching in-store shoppers when they’re closest to the point of sale, and may be seeking more product information to help them make a purchase decision. CVS’s ad network also is notable for its omnichannel offering that includes a mix of digital and in-store vehicles for marketers.

CVS is the latest retail chain to form an advertising network that includes digital placements, entering a market dominated by Google and Facebook. Amazon several years ago started selling ad space on its e-commerce site, and quickly became the third-biggest digital ad platform in the U.S. With more people shopping from home during the coronavirus pandemic, CVS has an opportunity to carve out a bigger slice of the U.S. digital ad market by highlighting its advantages in reaching a more targeted group of consumers who are ready to pull out their wallets.

It’s not the only brick-and-mortar retailer to develop a strategy for advertising sales amid surging online sales. Walmart for several years has been building out a media platform, and this month announced the launch of its first omnichannel reporting solution for scalable campaigns. The chain’s Walmart Media Group in January introduced a self-serve ad platform to help marketers buy search and sponsored product ads. Target, which last year renamed its in-house media company as Roundel, and Best Buy also have steadily sought to build their ad sales businesses, Ad Age reported. Any retailer with more than 500 million unique visitors to its website is likely to create a media business, Forrester Research predicted last year.

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