Criteo out to prove it's no cookie-cutter adtech app

Criteo helps brands retarget specific audiences using signature adtech tools. In the near future, the company will not rely on third-party data.

Criteo out to prove it's no cookie-cutter adtech app

For years, performance marketers have relied on Criteo (NASDAQ: CRTO) to run cookie-based performance marketing campaigns. However, will this app still be as reliable in the upcoming cookieless era of 2023?

To answer that question, the publicly-traded firm recently launched a rebranding campaign. The move underlines its new focus of relying less on third-party data and more on the retail media ecosystem.

Here are six things marketers should know about Criteo.  

What is Criteo?

Criteo is a display advertising optimization platform that helps businesses build awareness, acquire customers, and generate sales.

Some of its key features include ad retargeting, CTV and mobile app ads, as well as retail media. The firm places heavy emphasis on its contextual targeting service, which displays ads based on each visitor’s transaction history, buying behavior, and the specific web page the visitor opens.

The platform claims to have first-party data of 2.5 billion active shoppers. Using its AI and intent signal, Criteo routes ads to unique audiences that will potentially match the offered products. For example, an avid shoe shopper will see shoe ads when visiting a fashion-related website.

See: 12 martech companies with great tools for global teams

Marketers can set up ad campaigns on Criteo simply by selecting ad objectives, target audience, budget, and launch schedules. Criteo will also recommend related audience data pools to help marketers reach new potential accounts using ads.

Like many other adtech platforms, Criteo gives performance reports to help marketers track and analyze their advertising campaigns.

What is the price for Criteo?

Criteo doesn’t have fixed pricing. The company buys ad inventories and sells them using a cost-per-click bidding system to clients.

What is the company’s traction?

Criteo reported annual revenue of US$2.07 billion in 2020, an 8% decline from 2019. 2021 has been a promising year for the adtech platform, as it generated US$541 million in revenue (+7% annually) and US$23 million in net income (+43% annually) in the first quarter.

Criteo has acquired eight businesses, including Tedemis, AdQuantic, and HookLogic. More than 20,000 companies use Criteo’s services, including global brands like Adidas, P&G, Pepsi, and Sephora.

Who owns Criteo?

megan clarken criteo ceo

Criteo was established by a group of four entrepreneurs with expertise in marketing and tech: Jean-Bapiste Rudelle (ex-CEO), David Fisch (ex-VP of strategy), Franck Le Quay (ex-chief scientist), and Romain Niccoli (ex-CTO).

All of them have already stepped down from their stakeholder seats, and CEO Megan Clarken (pictured above) now leads the company. The four co-founders have since launched their own ventures.

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Who competes with Criteo?

Criteo is competing with a slew of adtech platforms like Adroll and Adform in providing advertising optimization services for businesses.

Founded in 2007, Adroll claims to help its customers achieve a total of US$165 billion in sales every year. Some of its customers include Lounge, Shady Rays, Volcanica, and more. There is no information about the company’s funding history or revenue figures.

Meanwhile, Adform was established five years earlier than Adroll, and has collected a total of US$25.7 million in funding from three investors. It has worked with notable names such as Hyundai, Vodafone, and T-Mobile.

What was the company’s most notable move lately?

In May 2021, Criteo made another expansion effort by acquiring retail media tech firm Mabaya for an undisclosed sum. With this move, the public adtech firm plans to strengthen its commerce media and retail media revenue, which successfully grew by 122% annually in Q1 2021.

A month later, Criteo unveiled its new branding, which came with a new logo, brand identity, and positioning. The company wants to send the message that it is ready for a cookie-less era, and will help advertisers reach customers with first-party data instead.

See: Martech startup funding news: 48+ investments and acquisitions in 2021

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