Walmart buys tech startup to compete with Amazon

Walmart on Thursday announced its purchase of a tech startup to build out its "in-house" ad technology, an attempt to better compete with Amazon.

While Walmart and Amazon are longtime competitors, Amazon has significantly outpaced Walmart in its online ad business.

In an attempt to push further into the ad business, Walmart acquired Polymorph Labs, a Silicon Valley advertising startup.

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"Polymorph’s technology ... will make advertising with Walmart easier for thousands of brands while delivering more relevant digital ads to consumers," Walmart Media Group's vice president and general manager, Stefanie Jay, wrote in a statement posted to the company's website.

Walmart Media Group runs Walmart's advertising business. 

Amazon accounted for nearly 4 percent of total online ad spending in the U.S. in 2017, raising $3.3 billion in ad revenue, the Associated Press noted. But Walmart has been making some headway in the advertising business, there are not similar figures available for Walmart. 

"Over the past few years, we’ve been quietly building our advertising business at Walmart," Jay wrote.

Polymorph will help deliver advertisements to users based on their shopping behavior, automate ad delivery and measure how effectively that ad-targeting helps retailers, according to the statement. 

"Ultimately, the acquisition of Polymorph technology will enable both existing and new advertisers to control their ad spending with us and reach their desired audiences more effectively," Jay wrote.