Ten ad tech companies, such as Walmart and Klarna, are hiring to get a portion of their growing e-commerce advertising pie.

  • Retailers of all kinds are actively entering the advertising business.
  • Adtech companies have emerged more and more to help build and scale these businesses.
  • These 10 companies are helping companies like Walmart, Dollar General and Klarna crack retail media.

This is the tenth in a 10-part series examining Amazon’s burgeoning advertising business. The people driving it, the ripple effect on other companies and what’s next.

Retailers like Walmart, Michaels and Kroger are building up their advertising divisions aggressively, and advertising tech companies want to get some cash.

Retailers see an opportunity to gain a bit of an Amazon-dominated but growing industry. Boston Consulting Group estimated E-commerce advertising will grow to $100 billion by 2026, accounting for 25% of total digital media spend.

Retail media is also a way for retailers to offset tight margins. According to BCG, the gross margin for advertising sold on retailers’ own websites is at least 70%, while retail margins range from 19 to 38%.

“Retail media creates a revenue pool that can be innovative in funding retailers’ key strategic bets,” said Lauren Wiener, Managing Director and Partner at BCG.

With billions at stake, the cottage industry, made up of startups and tech giants including Criteo, PromoteIQ, and Trade Desk, has emerged to help retailers sell ads on websites and on the web.

These retail advertising technology companies provide a wide range of services to retailers. For example, Michaels outsources advertising sales to advertising technology company Criteo, and Walmart works with the Trade Desk for programmatic advertising. Two competing ad technology companies, CitrusAd and Criteo, both build tools for Target’s advertising platform. Other ad-tech companies help advertisers reach a sufficiently large audience by managing their purchases in a broad retail environment.

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Matt Prohaska, CEO of Prohaska Consulting, likened the growth of the retail advertising technology industry to the early days of social media advertising, where dozens of third parties were created to help advertisers buy ads on Facebook, Twitter and Snap. Many companies struggled when social media companies started offering similar tools for free to advertisers, and Prohaska predicts that retail advertising tech companies will follow a similar path. He also said he sees these ad-tech companies as targets for retail acquisitions.

“There’s definitely a desire to pick up some of these companies when they’re large and have an appropriate valuation in the M&A market,” he said.

Insider identified 10 companies that are listed alphabetically and are helping retailers build their advertising business. Where possible, we have listed funding or revenue figures.

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