Walmart’s Ad Platform Continues Evolving

Jacqueline Barba
Digital Editor
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Walmart is officially launching its demand-side platform, Walmart DSP, for suppliers and their media and ad agencies in a move to expand the retail giant’s off-site media opportunities at scale.

First unveiled during the introduction of the Walmart Connect media platform in January 2021, Walmart DSP was built in partnership with independent demand-side platform The Trade Desk.

In a recent media release, Walmart described its standalone platform as a combination of the robust scale of Walmart’s first-party omnichannel data and the “best-in-class” technology and performance of The Trade Desk. The company says Walmart DSP will help advertisers be more effective with their overall media spend and broaden their shopper reach.

Walmart DSP will be available for select suppliers by the end of October 2021, just in time for the holiday shopping season. At launch, Walmart says marketers and advertisers will be able to access capabilities powered by of Walmart’s omnichannel data from its more than 150 million weekly shoppers, including:

  • Reaching specific audiences with increased precision by leveraging Walmart’s past purchase and predictive audience segments, as well as brand-level shopping behavior data from across the entire Walmart ecosystem, including the Walmart website, mobile app and some 4,700 physical stores. 
  • Display, streaming video, mobile, audio and connected TV (CTV) capabilities, enabling advertisers to manage multiple campaigns within the same platform.
  • Connecting online-to-offline sales by leveraging Walmart’s purchase data to measure both online and in-store transactions, and link these to specific media tactics to make campaign improvements and inform future strategies.

Walmart classifies the last point as one of its DSP’s key differentiators. By connecting and measuring both online and in-store performance, the Walmart DSP offers targeting, reporting and omnichannel insights down to a granular level.

While the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated Walmart’s e-commerce sales growth, its U.S. e-commerce sales slowed in the latest fiscal quarter (ended July 21), rising only 6% compared to 97% in the year-ago period as more shoppers returned to in-store shopping. However, online growth on a two-year stack has more than doubled, increasing 103%.

“We want to make it easier and simpler for brands and advertising agencies to partner with us through programmatic and self-serve solutions, and Walmart DSP is the latest release in our product innovation pipeline to deliver on that goal,” according to the company.

"Even as the pandemic continues to evolve, consumers remain happy shopping online as evidenced by Walmart’s continued success in this realm,” Brent Ramos, director of product search at Adswerve, told Path to Purchase IQ. “Much of the e-commerce success is a direct result of Walmart’s online advertising strategies where visual search ads and consumer-driven marketing tactics have resulted in increased traffic and engagement with their target audiences. Walmart’s display ads, visual search capabilities and sponsored products are highly focused on the needs of their consumers and are seen across all of their services, including their website and app. It’s this type of advertising and Walmart’s ability to hyperfocus their marketing tactics to match their customers’ needs that continues to set them apart from other retailers as the e-commerce boom persists.” 

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