As the cookie dies and retail media grows, The Mars Agency expands its commerce offerings

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Given the focus on cookie deprecation changes this year, agencies and clients will increasingly seek more transparency with campaign insights and data across retail media. So commerce shop The Mars Agency in early January introduced two new products for its commerce marketing platform, Marilyn.

Mars added the self-serve dashboard and commerce media benchmark database to help brands unite their commerce media measurement and planning in a single place. (More on the the demise of cookies here.)

Rob Rivenburgh, global CEO of The Mars Agency, said he sees these developments as part of an effort to go beyond pure media metrics and “get a full view of program performance” for commerce marketing. As part of Mars’ commerce strategy, Rivenburgh said Marilyn lets clients analyze all aspects of commerce, from e-commerce to analytics.

“We believe great commerce marketing comes from maximizing the total business impact of every program,” Rivenburgh said.

Yet as commerce has expanded, it’s come with a commensurate rise in measurement challenges in the expanding retail media market — as well as growing concerns over the impending death of the third-party cookie, said Dan Slivjanovski, CMO of media measurement company DoubleVerify.

“With the decline of third-party cookies causing signal loss on the open web, advertisers are increasingly turning to retail media networks to utilize first-party data and connect with shoppers at the point of decision,” Slivjanovski said. “For RMNs to maintain and increase their investments, they must independently verify performance on their platforms.”

More retailers will continue turning their first-party data into monetizable business, Slivjanovski added. As retail media spending increases, stakeholders will likely have to turn to more third-party measurement tools.

April Carlisle, evp of commerce for Spark Foundry, echoed the integration of retailers’ data into more programmatic partnerships — and agencies can leverage this for audience and commerce planning and performance. “RMNs have become full-funnel media partners,” she said.

With The Mars Agency’s Marilyn, the dashboard tool visualizes global campaign results in one place for comparison across different vendors, while the benchmark database helps track data across past campaigns to provide benchmarks at the retailer, category or brand level.

Last October, Mars introduced the Marilyn Commerce Marketing Technology platform after a redesign that moved measurement beyond campaign-specific metrics, like ROI or ROAS. The agency said clients using the platform insights saw commerce media performance improve by an average of 21% year over year.

The results have benefited The Mars Agency’s business as well, with the company reporting some $1.2 billion in planned or executed commerce media spend in the past 10 months. The agency also said it has seen a 59% increase in year-to-date billings from January 2023 to November 2023.

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