June 2, 2022

3 minute read

Allocating Retail Media Budgets 

There has been an explosion in the number of retail media networks that brands can, or in some cases must, advertise on.


While excellence on Amazon Advertising was sufficient in the past, brands now need to be proficient on Walmart Connect, Target Roundel, Kroger Precision Media, Lowe’s One Roof Media, Walgreens Advertising Group, Gopuff Ads, Ulta Beauty Media…you get it!


Retail media is everywhere, while budgets are inherently limited. This creates a challenge for marketers.

  • Where do we spend our marketing dollars, for what purpose, and does this align with what our retailers want from us?

Kiri Masters, Head of Retail Marketplace Strategy at Acadia, recently published a report that recommends brands move away from blunt instruments of allocation, such as basing it on historical sales performance or ROAS.


Instead, she sees a future where brands have clear business goals in mind and budget is allocated towards specific funnel stages that align with those goals.


Kiri and I spoke about her research, what needs to change inside organizations to adopt her preferred framework, and what challenges exist in retail media.

Key Takeaways from our Discussion

  • Data is power: Start reporting in the framework format to show where ad spend is taking place, at which point in the funnel, and at which retailer
  • Know where you’re going: Having total clarity on what goal an advertiser is trying to drive is critical to proper budget allocation
  • Acknowledge “retail media” is simply “media”: CPG advertisers tend to view retail media through a traditional P&L perspective, ignoring the awareness and consideration activations that can drive sales in different channels

Key Topics Covered

  • 2:55: Why Kiri & Team undertook the research
  • 4:25: Framework is agnostic to retail media networks
  • 6:25: Research methodology
  • 8:40: Today, brands allocate budget based on customer sales levels or based on blunt metrics like ROAS
  • 15:05: The framework indicates brand advertisers should be allocating by funnel stage
  • 17:55: What must happen inside brands to change their budget allocation process?
  • 22:00: Do advertisers have clear goals they’re optimizing towards with omnichannel media?
  • 25:30: What are challenges advertisers will face implementing the framework?
  • 26:53: Very few advertisers are following this type of framework today
  • 28:58: What future research questions exist for retail media?

Recommended Next Steps

After watching the interview, I highly recommend not only reading the report, but assembling your retail media data in a similar framework and using the data as a conversation starter internally. ????

Retail Media Allocation Report

Learn about Kiri

Kiri Masters is Head of Retail Marketplace Strategy at Acadia. Before its acquisition by Acadia, Kiri was previously the founder & CEO of Bobsled Marketing, a digital agency that helps established consumer brands grow their retail marketplace sales channels. Bobsled was named one of the top 18 Amazon firms by Business Insider and ranks in the Marketplace Pulse Top 100.

Kiri is a contributor to Forbes, where she writes a weekly column about retail marketplaces from a brand’s perspective. She hosts the Ecommerce Braintrust podcast, and is the co-author of the books Instacart for CMOs and Amazon For CMOs (ranked one for the top 100 retail books of all time).

Kiri is an Australian national that has lived in the US (off and on) since 2012, most recently becoming an Atlanta transplant.

More on Bobsled Marketing, an Acadia Company

Bobsled Marketing is a top-ranked digital agency that helps consumer product brands to grow their sales on online marketplaces. Specializing in operations, marketing and advertising on online marketplaces (Amazon, Walmart, Instacart), Bobsled has been named one of the top 18 Amazon firms by Business Insider and ranks in the Marketplace Pulse Top 100.


In February 2022, Bobsled was acquired by Acadia, a digital marketing agency for ambitious mid-market brands.


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