Retail Marketing Summit: ‘More customers, more transactions and more opportunities’ – News Corp’s plan to penetrate the retail media space

Pippa Leary, managing director of client product at News Corp Australia, knows her appearance at the Mumbrella Retail Marketing Summit on Wednesday may have been confusing to some.

“Particularly when the prevailing narrative is that retailers are looking to move up the funnel and get into the business of media,” she told the audience during her keynote at the panel: ‘The evolving role of retail market in high-intent environments’.

“Why would we, as a publisher, be encouraging other businesses to come and eat our lunch?”


Leary explained that NCA is different from other Australian publishers. “For the last few years we’ve been on our own retail journey, transforming ourselves from a billboard — where we just show ads to our audiences on behalf of our clients — into an integrated shopfront where we also sell products to them, on behalf of our retailers.

News Corp is looking to take a chunk of the $1 billion-plus retail media space in Australia, currently dominated by Amazon, Coles, and Woolworths, which holds three quarters of the market. Airlines, banks, and other retail groups like Chemist Warehouse and Wesfarmers have also waded into the sector. Nine is developing RTLX, their own retail media solution, but no Australian publishers has entered the space. Until now.

“We have sought to expand our coverage of the retail marketing funnel – and the next step down the funnel, and increasingly important looking to the future – is the retail media environment,” Leary told the audience. She explained that successful retail media needs to “offer more than just onsite solutions, be it in-store or ecommerce sites, and need to be part of a broader retail marketing strategy.”

Leary said News Corp Australia’s “journey down the funnel” means a focus on two things for their retail media play: “using this first-party data to identify high-intent audiences as they hit our network, and creating content specifically aimed at moving our audiences through the purchase funnel.”

The skills and insights gleaned have resulted in Intent Connect, News Corp’s end-to-end insights platform, which collects about 2 billion first-person data points every month.

“We’re now in the unique position to meaningfully help retailers build new advertising revenue streams as they embark on their own Retail Media journey,” Leary explained.

The first step? “We help you acquire new customers, at scale, by identifying high-intent audiences, and intercept their  shopping journey with your ads across our network.”

Then, News Corp puts an advertiser’s products in what Leary called ‘high-intent’ environments”.

“It’s like having a magic lens that shows you shoppers ready to spend,” Leary said of the insights platform. “Through our affiliate network we check out thousands of Australian shoppers every year; understand their path to purchase, figuring out what they want to buy and then we help you pop up in their world with your ads.

“This way, you’re not just waiting for people to show up; you’re reaching out to them where they already are, when they’re ready to shop. We call this our ‘BuyNow’ segment and it connects retailers to high-intent audiences in a very meaningful way.”

The appeal to retailers is clear, especially when used across News Corp’s 17-million strong userbase.

“It’s about making sure when someone’s ready to buy  — no matter what environment they are in — they think of you and your partners first.”

News Corp has been preparing for the ending of third-party cookies for five years, “making sure we can still reach all these potential buyers without missing a beat”.

The result is what Leary said is “one of Australia’s largest first-person data ecosystems”, which is tied to what are called ‘persistent identities’, meaning no data will be lost with third-party cookies.

Intent Connect isn’t just about reaching new customers, but also about retention. NCA has teamed with LiveRamp, InfoSum, Salesforce and Adobe, “to deliver market-agnostic opportunities for RM’s to match your customer databases to our 17 million monthly users in a way that is completely privacy compliant.”

“And finally, we close the loop on performance through our external attribution partners giving you a complete understanding of what’s working, where your clients are seeing the biggest returns and proving the value of your RMN to the partners you work with.

“In essence, we keep filling the top of your retail media funnel, but with customers who are more likely to buy, which works for your clients/suppliers.”

Leary stressed the importance of creating “high-intent” environments where connect product discovery is linked to purchase through what NCA calls “commerce content”.

“High-intent environments are the first step consumers take when they actively enter the market; proactively stepping into content experiences designed to guide them through their purchase journey,” she explained.

“It can be as simple as typing into search ‘best hair dryers’ or ‘best mattress near me’.

“Once the audience hits the link and ends up in one of these environments it sends a clear, actionable signal; I’m ready to buy. This is crucial as it signals when to shift your communications to pure performance messaging  – be it a special, a price drop or a new offer  – whatever it takes to convert into a sale.”

As she explained, since the cost-of-living crisis, upwards of 70% of shoppers say they always research before buying a product online.

“It’s essential to connect with potential buyers when they are making decisions to direct their spending towards your business.

“And this is exactly what News Corp Australia does better than anyone else; we bring your retail network into the discovery phase of the marketing funnel, amplifying your brands to active shoppers at a scale that is hard to achieve in isolation,” she said.

“The greatest threat Retail Media Networks face is that they only talk to the customers who are already a fair way down the funnel – making scale a perpetual issue.

“When you use what we call commerce content  – strategically positioned content that reviews and talks about the benefits of your product by trusted third parties – we are able to deliver more customers, more transactions and more opportunities for you to amplify the brands you work with.”


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