Retail media networks continue to gain popularity with rich consumer data and the ability to reach audiences at the point of purchase, especially as cookie deprecation approaches, according to new research from leading software platform for digital media measurement, data, and analytics, DoubleVerify (DV).

A retail media network (RMN) is an advertising channel offered by a retailer that leverages first-party consumer data to target audiences on their own properties and extended networks. RMNs combine two types of inventory for advertisers: Owned & Operated (O&O)—ads that run on the retailer’s own sites or apps, and audience extension—ads that use the retailer’s first-party data to reach shoppers across the web.

DV’s findings reveal that RMNs over-index for media quality in terms of brand suitability and ad fraud, with fraud rates nearly one-third (31%) lower than the DV overall fraud benchmark and brand suitability violations lower by 10% than the DV overall brand suitability benchmark.

DoubleVerify CEO, Mark Zagorski said, “As retail media investments surge, these are encouraging numbers. In addition to being rich in first-party data, RMNs see lower fraud and brand suitability violations than do other environments. Ultimately, better media quality equates to better ad performance.”

While RMNs saw better than average brand suitability and fraud rates, viewability across RMNs is 8% lower than the DV viewability benchmark. Specifically, RMN O&O inventory had an average viewable rate of 36%, while RMN audience extension inventory scored considerably higher, at 73%.

This discrepancy reflects the strategic focus of e-commerce platforms, which prioritise enhancing the shopping experience and maximising conversions, with advertising viewability optimisation often taking a backseat.

Regardless, the low viewability score of O&O RMN inventory should not be a cause for concern. DV discovered that O&O inventory effectively targets shoppers when they are most likely to engage, resulting in engagement rates 183% higher than DV’s attention baseline.

“The distinct roles of audience extension and O&O inventory in RMNs necessitate a nuanced understanding of KPIs. While audience extension ads boast higher viewability and exposure, it’s important not to overlook the high user engagement profile of O&O inventory,” Zagorski added.