Walmart just acquired a Silicon Valley startup as it works to build an ads business like Amazon's

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesWalmart’s looking to take on Amazon.
  • Walmart is moving further into the advertising business.
  • The online giant just announced that it plans to acquire advertising startup Polymorph Labs.
  • Walmart’s announcement signals that it’s getting serious about leveraging its scale to make an impact in the world of advertising.
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Walmart is diving into the advertising business.
In a statement posted on the retailer’s website on Thursday, Walmart Media Group VP and General Manager Stefanie Jay announced that the company has been “quietly building our advertising business.”

The statement also announced Walmart’s upcoming acquisition of Polymorph Labs, an advertising startup offering a “cloud-based, self-serve platform,” according to an additional statement on the acquisition.

“This technology complements Walmart’s current omni-channel ad targeting and measurement solution, and will provide a platform for continued future innovation, such as real-time auctions across multiple ad-pricing models (cost per click, cost per impression, cost per conversion),” Jay wrote.

Walmart Media Group’s goal is to provide advertisers with automated ad delivery, data on different audience segments “based on shopping behaviour,” and measurements determining an advertiser’s ROI.

Read more: Walmart is assembling an army of thousands of robots that it’s putting to work in its stores

Polymorph’s LinkedIn page says that the Silicon Valley-based company was founded in 2013.

This latest move is a sign that the retail giant is serious about leveraging its enormous scale in an entirely new business. Walmart estimated that it attracts 160 million shoppers to its stores and sites every week.

Bloomberg’s Matthew Boyle was first to report on Walmart’s foray into advertising, noting that the retailer’s move is likely the result of Amazon’s enormous success in the business.

“Simply put, we can help brands understand if someone saw their ad on Walmart’s platform or across the Internet, and then purchased the product in-store or online,” Jay wrote in a statement. “No one else can do this at scale like Walmart.”

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