Walgreens Launches Self-Serve Advertising Group

Walgreens Advertising Group leverages data from more than 100 million loyalty members.

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Need to Know

  • Walgreens Advertising Group leverages the pharmacy’s customer insights and rich first-party data to help brands maximize their ROI.
  • Brands can use WAG services to advertise across multiple platforms, including Walgreens digital platforms and stores.
  • Walgreens has access to consumer data from more than 9,000 stores and 100+ million loyalty members.

Analysis

US pharmacy giant Walgreens is the latest retailer to dip its toes into the retailer-as-agency arena, as the company announced the launch of the Walgreens Advertising Agency (WAG) last week.

With WAG, Walgreens offers clients access to consumer information from more than 9,000 stores and more than 100 million loyalty members. The agency promises to leverage this data—and its insights—to provide a variety of advertising and media services, alongside creative services, and robust optimization and measurement. Brands will be able to directly connect with consumers using a reach and depth that surpasses traditional media buying.

“At Walgreens, we have an unparalleled insight into consumers’ needs and shopping preferences when it comes to health and wellness items and everyday needs,” said Luke Kigel, VP, Walgreens integrated media and head of Walgreens Advertising Group. “Leveraging advanced technology to unlock the power of our first-party data, we can help brands accelerate ROI by delivering relevant and personalized experiences to their highest-value consumers.”

Brands that use WAG’s services will be able to reach shoppers across a variety of channels including digital display, video, social, streaming audio, email, as well as Walgreens digital platforms and stores. Walgreens will also provide SKU-level real-time optimization—another tool that sets it apart from traditional media and marketing agencies. It’s a double win for Walgreens: first, brands pay for advertising or media placement; then, consumers pay to purchase a brand’s product.

Walgreens follows Amazon and Walmart into the retailer-as-agency game. In January, Walmart brought its advertising operations in-house with the newly formed Walmart Media Group, which places ads targeted at customers in 4,700 stores. Through Walmart’s self-serve advertising portal, advertisers are able to search and bid on ads that appear on Walmart.com. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Amazon Marketing Services, which launched in 2012, reportedly saw a 51% increase in advertising revenue last quarter, earning almost $100 billion for the three months ending on September 30.

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