Travel Republic And Criteo Play The Dangerous Game Of Trading Impressions For Conversions

criteo travelAd retargeter Criteo has expanded its engine to analyze conversion performance rather than simply clicks – a change intended to let marketers more selectively target impressions.

The change looks good at face value, but for many companies, optimizing impressions means reducing them, which runs the risk of cutting off a nice revenue stream.

Nevertheless, Travel Republic, a UK-based online flight and hotel booking search agent and a Criteo customer for three years, participated in testing beginning last August.

“(Criteo) is trying to analyze the myriad of data points that we have around those users who we’re targeting and which ones have interacted and converted in the past,” said Elliot Pritchard, chief marketing officer for Travel Republic.

Being more selective in targeting means eliminating a lot of “wasted” impressions, Pritchard said, but can be a “dangerous game.” For a business entirely centered around online revenue, a steep drop in impressions can be a revenue killer.

From the first day of testing Travel Republic saw a drop in its volume of impressions, but a rise in conversions. Since implementing Criteo’s new engine the company said it has seen its campaign conversion rate increase 25%, a number that’s grown since initial testing and it expects to continue to grow. Pritchard called it a “learning system” that gets more effective with use.

A more selective optimization engine has removed some of the guesswork that goes in to campaigns, Pritchard said, meaning less work for his marketing team. “Because we were getting a better cost per acquisition, (we could) increase our activity further and drive incremental business.”

Criteo said it spent more than three years developing the enhancements to its engine, which now handles much more data to “no longer predict the likelihood of a click, but predict a likelihood of a conversion,” according to Jonathan Wolf, Criteo’s chief product officer.

Criteo claimed an average 38% increase in sales for customers already using the new engine – a sample size that includes billions of impressions and millions of clicks.

The retargeting company went public in October, and reported strong Q1 2014 revenue growth to $211.6 million, a year-over-year increase of 60%. The company said then that growth in mobile contributed to the increase, with 15% of revenue coming from mobile.

The new Criteo Engine was made available all customers this week.

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!

1 Comment

  1. The headline here should be more like “Criteo joins the modern age” rather than suggesting they are taking some daring new approach. Any outfit worth its salt is optimising towards conversion events rather than clicks.