Ulta Beauty is joining several major retail chains by introducing a new retail media network. Known as UB Media, the network allows brands to send targeted ads on Ulta Beauty’s app, website and other digital channels, such as email. It also lets marketers use Ulta Beauty’s shopper data to better place ads across the web. Ulta Beauty currently boasts 37 million active loyalty members, who generated 95 percent of the retailer’s total sales during its latest fiscal year. UB Media, first announced during an analyst day in October 2021, is an evolved version of Ulta Beauty’s digital marketing partner program, which has been around for a few years.
Total Retail’s Take: Like so many other retailers, including Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, among others, Ulta is looking to cash in on one of its most valuable assets: first-party customer data. The beauty retailer possesses one of the industry’s top loyalty programs, Ultamate Rewards, which captures the kinds of first-party data that are so attractive to advertisers. Furthermore, the future deprecation of third-party cookies leaves many brands searching for alternative ways to better target customers and prospects with personalized ads, and retail media networks are helping to fill that void.
And the market opportunity is significant for retailers. Ad spend on U.S. retail media increased 53 percent to $31.5 billion last year, according to figures from eMarketer. The research firm estimates that number will reach $52.2 billion in 2023, representing nearly one in five of all digital ad dollars.