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02/04/2021

Walmart buys ad tech to support self-serve display portal

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart is continuing to bulk up its media business with technology acquisitions.

The discount behemoth is following up on the recent creation of its Walmart Connect media group and partnership with The Trade Desk by announcing the creation of a display self-serve platform. As part of its platform development strategy, the company is acquiring the IP and technology behind Thunder, a creative automation ad-tech company.

Coming later in 2021, Walmart’s display self-serve platform will be designed to enable advertising partners to activate and manage their display campaigns with the help of automation. Advertisers will be able to produce advertising creative using the assets they want and automatically generate the right sizes and specifications for their campaigns. 

In addition, advertisers will be able to see how the look and feel of different ads perform and make edits accordingly. Walmart will integrate the newly-purchased Thunder technology with its display self-serve platform to help brands automate their creative. The retailer also expects Thunder to increase ad effectiveness over time with creative versioning, testing and optimization, thereby unlocking advertiser-specific insights for higher return on ad spend.

While Walmart expects its largest suppliers to adopt automation technology fastest, it is building its new platform to scale for Walmart Marketplace sellers and suppliers of all sizes.

During the past two years, Walmart has increased its advertising self-serve and automation capabilities by launching performance dashboards and the Walmart Advertising Partners Program, as well as by acquiring the technology and assets of Polymorph Labs, a Silicon Valley-based advertising startup.

“We know we have a big opportunity to serve clients in a way no one else can – as a closed-loop omnichannel media company,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart, in a corporate blog post. “We’re focused on expanding our offerings to create measurable value for our partners and customers alike in our stores, on our digital properties and across the internet.”