An introduction to onsite retail media


Retail media is one of the world’s fastest growing advertising disciplines. With its expansive scope, though, it can also be one of the most complex, with new channels and terminology emerging at a staggering rate. Even for the best informed brands and agencies, keeping pace with those developments can be challenging.

In the latest in a series of articles exploring the state of the retail media landscape today, Ed Semple looks at the area of “onsite” media – what it is, what it does, and how advertisers can capitalise on the opportunities it offers with the Tesco Media & Insight Platform.

In 2022 alone, advertisers around the world invested £81bn into retail media[1] – and much of that online. With the continued growth of ecommerce has come the opportunity to engage with millions of customers as they build their digital baskets, giving advertisers the chance to sway decisions at a critical moment. For consumer packaged goods brands in particular, that has led to a growing focus on the digital properties owned by grocery retailers.

Enter “onsite” media. Onsite refers to any media placement that is available on a retailer’s own digital properties, typically their website or mobile app. In that respect, onsite can cover a wide range of advertising opportunities that run from awareness-driving banner ads through to personalised promotions and other targeted content. Offsite media – an area that we’ll cover in a future post – relates to digital ads delivered away from a retailer’s properties.

In the context of the Tesco Media & Insight Platform, “Onsite” is one of five key retail media channels. Onsite encompasses a set of retail media products that can be used to engage with customers browsing both the website, and those using the Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app.

There are three key products that sit beneath the Onsite umbrella. Combined, they enable advertisers to highlight their goods to customers in a range of helpful, relevant, and effective ways. Let’s see what those products are, and how they can be used to engage with Tesco’s online customers.

1. Onsite Display Advertising

From the homepage to the checkout, and the Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app offer a wide range of ways in which to reach out to customers. With shoppers looking for inspiration as they browse, Onsite Display Advertising gives brands the ability to capture their attention and highlight the unique qualities of their products.

At Tesco, Onsite Display Advertising is split into three different categories:

  • Tenancy Advertising Placements – focused on engaging customers across their shopping journey, opportunities here include interrupt banners, homepage tiles, and page headers.
  • Creative Solutions – designed to raise awareness and drive interest, available placements include text-to-win banners, new product banners, and dedicated brand zones.
  • Ad-served Banner Placements – zeroing in on the highest traffic areas, major opportunities here include banners that run in key locations on the and grocery homepages.

2. Sponsored Products

Visibility plays a critical role when it comes to online grocery; 41% of all search-related basket additions come from the first two results[2]. Designed with that reality in mind, Sponsored Products enables brand advertisers to bid for placements in key locations on and the Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app.

Sponsored Products currently takes three different forms:

  • Relevant Sponsored Search – ads that appear natively in the top two positions when customers search for a generic or competing brand, with world-leading data science used to help determine relevance.
  • Sponsored Offers at Checkout – here, sponsored recommendations are shown to customers at the checkout in carousel format. Naturally, ads are only shown to customers who don’t already have the featured item in their basket.
  • Sponsored Browse – finally, Sponsored Browse surfaces relevant recommendations when shoppers are browsing departments, aisles, and shelves. As with search listings, sponsored recommendations appear in the top two positions.

In addition to the above, we’re also looking forward to launching new formats within the world of Sponsored Products later in 2023.

3. Zones

Zones are seasonal and mission-themed hubs that help brands boost the visibility of their products around specific shopper objectives. Event Zones focus on key seasonal events like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, while Mission Pages address specific needs and categories.

  • Event Zones – content hubs themed around key moments on the calendar, Event Zones include a key sponsor position. With that sponsorship comes media placements including branded banners, thumbnails, and product stamps, as well as one-click “add to basket” tiles.
  • Mission Pages – acting as bespoke, content-led destination shops, Mission Pages offer fixed brand placements around key shopper mindsets. Example Mission Pages include the likes of the Taproom, which profiles craft beers, and the self-explanatory Coffee House.

Connecting advertisers with tens of millions of shoppers every month, and providing a range of targeted and measurable opportunities, Onsite is an integral part of the Tesco Media & Insight Platform. As shopping behaviours continue to evolve, and more shoppers begin to combine online grocery with trips to the store, Onsite gives brands the ability to create seamless connections with their customers.

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at the other side of digital retail media – the world of offsite.

[1] Retail Media Networks Are The Next Big Advertising Channel – Forbes, 1st December 2022 (pound sterling value converted from US dollars)
[2] Adobe Analytics 52 Weeks: Sep 2021 – Aug 2022