In the new competition for online retailers to bolster their digital advertising offer, Walmart has made a key new acquisition with the startup Polymorph Labs, an ad tech company.

Walmart, the largest US retailer, announced the news explaining that over the past couple of years the company had been “quietly” building up its advertising business, known as Walmart Media Group.

The firm did not disclose the terms of the deal or how many employees the San Francisco-based startup would add.

According to Adexchanger, the deal brings Walmart a supply-side ad stack that will allow it to provide full campaigns and measurement capabilities to partner brands. The addition of Polymorph enhances WMG’s attribution, as it can now connect ad server data to its own user account and transaction data. It also brings Walmart a self-service ad platform, which has become the industry norm.

TechCrunch notes that the deal allows Walmart to expand into new areas such as real-time auctions with different pricing models. The news follows reports that Walmart has brought its ad sales in-house in order to simplify its offer to large suppliers.

WMG launched in June 2018, combining solutions such as native-style sponsored search, audience targeting and measurement under a single banner. The offer is this: packaged goods companies can use Walmart’s offline and online shopping data to inform personalised digital marketing campaigns delivered at the moment of purchase.

Advertisers are offered a range of solutions across Walmart’s portfolio of brands, such as, apparel retailer Bonobos and e-commerce firm, as well as offsite targeting on Google, Facebook and beyond. Ad formats include banner ads and sponsored product inventory, as well as brand landing pages and homepage takeovers.

The news feeds into a brewing trend that WARC covered in detail in its Trend Snapshot: Walmart, Kroger and the rise of e-commerce media. It is effectively the process of retailers following Amazon’s increasingly popular advertising model, in which user data can be used to create an effective and measurable advertising proposition.

Sourced from Walmart, Adexchanger, TechCrunch, WARC