Paid and Owned Media

Looking for a New Revenue Stream? Leverage Your Owned Assets.

As marketers are tasked with prioritizing efficiency, an often-overlooked lever is emerging as a make-or-break driver for margin relief: monetizing owned assets. Using owned media like websites, email lists, or apps (essentially anything powered by customer data) to generate incremental revenue can be the difference between weathering a storm and thriving through it.

3 Ways Owned Media Can Generate Additional Revenue

The numbers tell a clear story: monetizing owned assets can add a few thousand dollars1 a month for smaller organizations with 50K page views per month all the way up to $3.4 billion2 in annual ad revenue for large retailers like Amazon. Let’s explore a few creative yet proven methods e-commerce retailers can use to monetize their owned properties.

Add Display Advertising to Your Site

One of the fastest ways to monetize a website or app is to add display advertising. Display advertising includes text, image, and/or video ads that are featured on the top of a page, along the side, or interspersed between content blocks. Display ads generate revenue through pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) models and are typically placed on your site by partnerships with ad networks like Google AdSense.

The value of display advertising will depend on your traffic and your site category. Online calculators can give you an estimate of how much revenue you could generate annually from adding ads to your site.

The key to display advertising success is striking a balance between maintaining a positive user experience and revenue generation. Ads that are relevant to your audience and placed appropriately tend to be well-received and can provide a steady revenue stream. Contrastingly, ads that feel intrusive or that aren’t relevant to your audience can drive visitors away from your site. The good news: most ad networks allow you to specify what types of ads you want shown on your site. This flexibility allows you to monetize your site with limited drawbacks to your user experience.

Thinking beyond your website, it’s also possible to add display advertising banners to email campaigns. Although this process may be more manual, it provides a strong offering to partners because it allows them to use your customer data to target unique segments and reach customers proactively.

Spin Up Sponsored Products 

If your site offers products from multiple brands, offering the option to pay to feature a product prominently on your page is the next step to monetizing your site. Many organizations that offer sponsored products provide brands with four placements: homepage, product listing page (PLP) search and browse, product detail pages (PDP) via “featured product” carousels, and email. Typically, retailers offering sponsored product slots don’t allow brands to specify individual placements (e.g., homepage v. PLP). Instead, the retailer sets up the campaign so that the brand’s ads are eligible to show up in any and all placements relevant to the brand’s target customer. 

Sponsored products benefit brands by giving them more exposure to customers. Similarly, sponsored products benefit customers by surfacing relevant products to help them find the best option. To maximize the user experience, we recommend limiting sponsored products to 1-2 homepage content blocks, the top 2-3 search results on PLPs, and one PDP carousel. Offering sponsored products above and beyond these suggestions can negatively impact customer experience and decrease the value to brands of purchasing one of your sponsored product slots.

Consider Building a Retail Media Network

If you have strong first-party data, a highly trafficked website, and offer multiple brands in your assortment, a retail media network (RMN) is a lucrative website monetization strategy.

A retail media network is established when a retailer (or other business with first-party data) offers brands the opportunity to run ad campaigns on the retailer’s owned properties, such as a website or mobile app. Unlike running display ads or offering sponsored products, RMNs allow retailers to offer ad space directly rather than using a partner to supply the ads. This shifts responsibility for reporting from an ad provider to the retailers and also allows the retailer to apply closed-loop measurement to assess ad performance.

Close the Loop on Purchase Behavior with Retail Media Networks

Closed-loop measurement refers to being able to attribute an ad’s impact to the purchase of the advertised product, effectively “closing the loop” on an ad unit’s effectiveness in driving purchase behavior. Closed-loop measurement is a gold mine of information for brands and retailers because RMN-owned ad inventory offers 80-96% margins on the dollars brand partners invest. These margins are enticing on their own but can also serve a larger purpose: providing funding for other business-enhancing initiatives. Retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target use retail media networks to fund product development and offset delivery costs, plus boost overall retail sale margins.

How Retailers Activate Retail Media Networks

Retailers often start retail media networks by offering onsite ads, which are ads placed on a website or app like display ads and sponsored product listings. These ad types align with monetization opportunities mentioned earlier, enabling retailers to prove the value of this offering before making larger investments in retail media network capabilities.

The next level of sophistication that retail media networks offer is the ability for brands to target specific audiences. Retailers do this by segmenting their customer base into targetable groups centered around shopping behavior (i.e., verified purchasers of a brand), life moments (i.e., opening a registry, purchasing baby products), and lifestyle (i.e. consistent purchases/bundles that predict broader purchase habits). Audience segmentation commands higher rates and margins for retailers because they give brands the ability to target their marketing investment to niche subsets of the broader population.

In short, there is a lot of opportunity and complexity in retail media networks. Stay tuned for more on retail media networks – we’ll do a deeper dive into RMNs and the revenue opportunity they present in an upcoming post.

Ready to Elevate Your Owned Media?

Monetizing existing owned assets can be an effective way to generate incremental revenue, especially in uncertain times when an economic recession seems possible. Whether you’re taking your retail media network to the next level or you’re looking into adding display ads to your site, we can help you unlock the full potential of your online platform. Reach out to get started.

[1] SEO Chatter [2] ecommerceDB

Lisa Clinton Loftus

Director, Client Services

About the Author

Lisa is a Director of Client Services at Ovative, where she leads client engagements and delivery for Ovative’s largest clients. In her role, Lisa is responsible for defining and implementing cross-channel media strategies and driving operational excellence across marketing disciplines. Prior to Ovative, Lisa spent just under a decade with Deloitte Consulting, with a focus on bringing calm to... Read More >>

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