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Walgreens Is Latest Retailer To Launch Its Own Media Network.

Add Walgreens to the list of retail giants that have launched their own media network. Aiming to unlock the value in the first party data collected from its loyal customer program, the retailer (and radio advertiser) last week officially launched Walgreens Advertising Group after one year of operating in stealth mode.

WAG not only sells advertising placements across its owned and operated assets but also a offers a network of curated third party websites, according to Adweek.

The appeal to media buyers is tapping into its My Walgreens loyalty program, which has collected data on more than 100 million members.

As Adweek describes it, an advertiser could cross-reference their own first-party dataset with MyWalgreens data to target an attractive subset of users to serve ads to based on their previous purchases. Email addresses registered with MyWalgreens and other “data signals” can be used to correlate ad exposure and purchase behavior, both online and in-store.

“A big part of it has been figuring out how to unlock the power of your first-party data, it’s easy to say but it’s hard to do,” Luke Kigel, VP of WAP and Walgreens Integrated Media, told Adweek. “Getting all the piping, agreements, privacy compliance and legal support is what we’ve been trying to do to truly tap into the power of the first-party data … we’re at a point where we’re very confident in our accelerated capabilities.”

As advertisers brace for the coming of a cookie-less digital marketing world, first party data is becoming more important, Adweek explains, putting retailers like Walgreens with deep customer datasets in the driver’s seat. “The inherent value of first-party data is clear: rather than rely on outside tech companies, companies from retailers to online publishers own the consumer information that is gleaned from consumers visiting and registering on their sites,” writes Adweek programmatic reporter Ronan Shields.

The CVS Media Exchange, or cMx for short, launched in August, leveraging consumer data on 74 million CVS customers to target consumer packaged goods advertisers with a menu of options including “in-store advertising and banners on, to programmatic display, online video, social media and search engines.”Last year Target launched Roundel, an updated version of its Target Media Network, and Walmart has its own Walmart Media Group.

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