Walmart’s retail media business is bringing some of the biggest names in social media and livestreaming under one roof, giving advertisers more ammo to get out in front of younger consumers in a broader array of promotional formats.
Building on its “Partner Program” strategy, which Walmart Connect expanded on in July with five new e-commerce adtech platforms, the retail giant is unveiling an “Innovation Partner Program” that includes TikTok, Snapchat, shoppable livestream platforms TalkShopLive and Firework and TV streaming service Roku.
“Walmart Connect is committed to improving and innovating new ways for suppliers and sellers to connect with customers throughout the shopper journey by creating a multilateral culture of experimentation,” Seth Dallaire, executive vice president and chief revenue officer, Walmart U.S., wrote a company blog post. “As the media funnel continues to collapse, advertisers are realizing the opportunity to reach shoppers on leading platforms where they are increasingly spending their time.”
These strategic partnerships are designed to give advertisers “test and learn” opportunities with social, entertainment, television-based commerce and livestreaming throughout the entire holiday season.
TikTok, arguably the hottest platform in social media, offers advertisers increased access to the coveted Gen Z audience. More than 50 percent of TikTok users say they watch ads on their feed instead of scrolling past them, according to the Chinese social media giant.
The first-to-market pilot between TikTok and Walmart Connect will provide advertisers with the opportunity to serve in-feed ads on TikTok, leveraging the impact of the platform’s sound-on full screen video format together with Walmart Connect’s targeting and measurement.
Another major social media platform popular with younger audiences—Snapchat—will bring advertisers Snap Ads, Collection Ads and Snap AR with Walmart Connect geo-based measurement of omnichannel sales lift. This is the first-time advertisers can buy Snap ad units through Walmart Connect and get in front of the Snapchat audience. According to Snapchat, 75 percent of 13-to-34-year-olds in the U.S. wield more than $1.9 trillion in spending power.
On the heels of the TikTok and Snapchat partnerships, Dallaire cited recent Accenture data predicting social growth would grow from 10 percent to 17 percent of e-commerce by 2025. Two-thirds (64 percent) of social media users—an estimated 2 billion social buyers—said they made a purchase on social media in the past year.
And as shoppers increasingly turn to online video to discover, research and purchase products in their omnichannel journey, advertisers need to meet customers where they are and create compelling video experiences. This is where the next two partnerships for Walmart come in.
With Firework, the retailer offers supplier-funded shoppable livestreams and short shoppable videos on Walmart.com/live. Walmart Connect is testing how brands can leverage Firework’s capabilities to create premium, engaging, mobile-first video experiences and, to start, has partnered with Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble.
And TalkShopLive, which already was a Walmart enterprise partner, also will collaborate with the retailer to enable supplier-funded shoppable livestreams. These streams will be placed on display across Walmart.com/live, TalkShopLive’s platform, brand and publisher sites, and other areas across the web, helping to connect the retail landscape via TalkShopLive’s embeddable video player. Walmart Connect is currently testing how brands can amplify their content and has already executed livestreams with Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Samsung, among others.
The final partnership is an exclusive deal with Roku that enables streamers to purchase featured products by using their TV remote to go straight to checkout. Featured products use billing and shipping information pre-populated by Roku, before being fulfilled directly by Walmart. The new experience offers product discovery with checkout, enabling purchase directly at the time of inspiration.
This experience will be funded by advertisers through Walmart Connect and Roku Advertising. Walmart Connect will connect brands to customers through the “t-commerce” platform on Roku. Advertisers will receive insights on effectiveness with Walmart Connect measurement.
With all five partnerships in tow, the newly expanded Innovation Partner Program includes additional touch points and channels to reach customers with the new ad formats. Walmart said it aims to work with each partner to more deeply connect advertisers with customers throughout key moments in the shopper journey.
“Our partnerships further underscore how Walmart Connect is committed to evolving our business and expanding our offerings to actively stay ahead of what advertisers need,” Dallaire said. “There is no other platform that can extend to new formats where customers are engaging and interacting, and leverage Walmart’s unparalleled first-party omnichannel data to deliver measurable sales performance. We are excited to test, learn and iterate on what drives performance for advertisers as we continue to break new ground with our partners.”