Connecting The Dots With Walmart Connect

A podcast interview withJeff ClarkVP, Product and AnalyticsConnecting The Dots With Walmart Connect

Jeff Clark began at Walmart in 2017, before Walmart Connect was Walmart Connect, and before even Walmart Media Group prior to that. But whatever you call it, Walmart is homing in on a major opportunity in the booming retail media category. Clark, who’s now Walmart Connect VP of product, product marketing and analytics, is focused on execution.

He has one consistent refrain when it comes to the potential for Walmart’s programmatic business: “If we’re able to get it right.” Retail media has already reached escape velocity, so to speak. After all, as Clark puts it, “we’ve grown from basically zero dollars to a business that’s now bigger than The New York Times.”

Connecting The Dots With Walmart Connect

Advertising is reaching meaningful scale, even by Walmart standards.

As Clark notes, the company broke out the Connect group’s revenue for the first time during an earnings call in February (they were at a £2 billion run rate, by the way). But the momentum for Walmart Connect is tempered by caution. The strength of Walmart’s shopping data and the relatively easy pickings of programmatic revenue must be balanced against its primary relationship with its shoppers.

And it’s gained enough programmatic experience in its ranks to know it shouldn’t jump headfirst into the programmatic ecosystem. Plus, Walmart still has relatively untapped first-party data opportunities to boost its ad business. Consider this: The Walmart+ membership program – its answer to Amazon Prime, is an important part of Walmart’s first-party data set that powers Walmart Connect – costs £13 per month.

In August, Walmart announced that it would add a subscription to the Paramount+ ad-supported tier, which costs £5 per month, to the Walmart+ package, to entice its shoppers to join Walmart+. Walmart Connect is an important part of that deal, Clark says. Walmart has some reserved Paramount CTV ad inventory.

But the deal also provides incremental value for Paramount, since its ROI will improve when Walmart adds in its sales attribution.

Also in this episode: Starting at Walmart when advertising was “an incubator project,” the retail perspective on the third-party cookie deprecation saga and watching the Walmart business add new teams in ad industry hot spots like New York City and San Francisco, while Bentonville, Arkansas remains “the mothership.”