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Amazon Has a Big Advertising Business. Walmart Wants One Too

(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. is big in almost every way—4,755 stores, 1.5 million employees and $380 billion in revenue in the U.S. alone. But one part of the world’s largest retailer remains minuscule. That audience, and the purchase data they generate, are catnip for big advertisers like Coca-Cola Co. and Kraft Heinz Co. But Walmart and other retailers historically haven’t done enough to convert that data into dollars, particularly online. Those brands are also shifting marketing dollars away from traditional ad agencies, showcased by last week’s surprise sales decline from French ad giant Publicis Groupe SA. But Walmart and its ilk will have to move fast: Amazon’s ad business doubled in size last year, and 97 percent of brands who advertise on Amazon find it valuable, according to a survey by Feedvisor, which sells advertising and pricing software used by Amazon sellers. By 2004, Walmart TV had 180 million monthly viewers, but the advent of digital media upended its channel in the same way it disrupted traditional networks.Now, retailers are paring data harvested from purchases and loyalty with analytical tools that promise advertisers bigger bang for their buck.

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