Wear sunscreen and go up!

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99.
Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

Well, sunscreen is important but less relevant for your retail media plans.

If we could offer you only one tip of advice for the success of your retail media business, moving your ads to the top of your page would be it.

There are plenty of things you can do to improve your retail media earning (here are some of them) – You can work on relevancy to improve CTR, increase your sales efforts, improve competition and CPC’s, change bidding auctions etc. – but there is one key thing that makes the biggest impact: Your ads positions (and the number of ads you have) and how flexible you are with them.

Your retail media business should be flexible to respond to the demand that you are getting from your advertisers, and it should evolve all the time (positions and quantity).

In our last post we talked about Magazines. When they published the first magazine in the early 1930 it had 1 or 2 advertisements. Then as more advertisers wanted to advertise, the publishers added more and more ad pages until in 2009 the first article in a Vogue magazine was presented in page 78! Everything before that were ad pages.

As demand for ads increased, more ad slots were offered and in better positions.

Needless to say that they put most of the new advertisements in the first pages of the magazine and not towards the end.

They could have put all the articles first but no, they put the ads first because the position of the ad is more important.

Ads that appear first get more visibility (impressions) and performance (clicks and conversions) and they are easier to sell.

Same goes for your retail media business.

When demand for your sponsored product ads increases you should add more of them and improve their position.

In June 2022, Walmart connect shared that: “We’ve expanded our Sponsored Products inventory for ads to serve in in-grid placements 1, 2, 3 and 4. For the rest of the search grid, two ads will continue to appear for every 10 results. This means items now have more opportunities to surface at the top of searches, which can help boost product sales and lead to higher ROAS.”.

Amazon did the same in September 2021 (and did it many times before).

The ad’s positions keep changing and keep getting better.

Here are 2 recent case studies from different big ecommerce websites that show the impact of the position in search result pages.


Case study I – Moving from 3-4-7-8 to 2-3-4-5

This store moved the top 4 ads in the search result page from their original placements in slots 3,4,7 and 8 to positions 2,3,4 and 5.

The first ad that moved from slot 3 to slot 2 increased its clicks by 25%.

In total, the number of clicks on the 4 ads increased by 30%.

The Ad’s CTR also increased dramatically.

Later on, the store added more slots towards the end of the page but it had a very low impact on the total number of clicks.


Case study II – Moving from 3-4 to 1-2

This store had 6 ad slots in the page. 2 on the top of the page, 2 in the middle and 2 at the bottom.

You can see in this chart the performance of each slot (clicks vs slot position):


The first ad was presented only in the 3rd position (there were 2 organic products first) and generated more than X10 clicks than the ad in the 27th position.

Based on these 6 points we created a formula to estimate the potential of the 1st and 2nd positions.

Looks aggressive, right?

A few weeks later, the store made the switch and moved the first 2 ads from slots 3 and 4 to slots 1 and 2.

This is what really happened when the change was done:

The green dots and the line represent the clicks performance of the new ads.

The ads in the 1st and 2nd position did a bit better than expected.

This minor change increased the store’s ad revenue by 50%!

The change in the ad positions had other positive effects – It increased the number of ad impressions, clicks, conversions, CTR and conversion rate (meaning that the ads were more relevant and useful for the shoppers) but more importantly for the advertisers – It improved their ROAS and reduced their ACOS!


Being first is key

As you can see from the 2 examples, moving up the fold has a great positive impact but there is a huge difference between placing your first ad in the 1st slot vs. the 2nd one.

If your ads are in the first positions, it means that there is no way to get the top shelf unless you run a sponsored product ads campaign. Zero chances.

Selling the top shelf is different than selling “better appearance” or “more impressions” and generate different results. This is the best shelf in the store and just like the organic result in slot 1 gets much better performance than the one in the 2nd slot same thing happens with the sponsored one.

Therefore, as said at the beginning, there are many things you can do to increase your ad revenue and we can share many more tips (here are some of them) but trust us on the ad positions – When you can and you have the demand, bring your ads up the fold.

About Mabaya

Mabaya, a Criteo company, offers a white-label self-service retail media platform for online retailers and marketplaces that enables sellers and brands to bid in order to ensure their products are listed in premium locations in the online store.

The platform is integrated in more than 50 ecommerce sites around the globe (such as Bol.com, Jumia, Manomano, Kaufland, Hepsiburada, Falabella etc.), serving more than 70,000 advertisers and sellers.