Criteo Continues Growth Streak, Adding 730 Customers And Hefty Revenue Gains

Criteo-Q2-2014French performance marketing company Criteo turned in a solid second quarter, growing its revenue ex-TAC by 65% to €110 million (US$120 million), up from €67 million (US$73 million) last year.

Criteo continued its client growth streak, adding 730 net new advertiser clients in the last quarter to total about 8,500. It claims those clients are spending more, too, resulting in 25% ex-TAC revenue increases at common currency.

“Mid-market has been particularly strong this quarter both in contribution to our overall growth and net client additions,” said Criteo CEO JB Rudelle during the company’s Q2 earnings call Tuesday. “We expect we will see more and more new clients coming from the mid-market.”

Analysts on the call were interested in Criteo’s cross-device efforts and its current standing with Facebook on dynamic product ads, a type of ad unit that allows retailers to upload product catalogs or sync up their CRM files via Custom Audiences to promote products or retarget shoppers in the news feed or on mobile.

As equity research firm Evercore reported, some marketers are debating whether to run campaigns directly through Facebook or to continue working with a third-party intermediary for retargeting.

When asked if Facebook is operationalizing performance standards or instating frequency caps on dynamic product ads, Rudelle said it’s too early to determine constraints.  

“We’ve been working with Facebook to make sure our solution works well with its dynamic product ads and we’re at about 100 clients who have migrated to the solution,” he said. “There’s been positive feedback so far, but it’s too early to determine constraints from Facebook’s perspective. We will know more in the next few quarters.”

Criteo, which first rolled out its cross-device tool last fall, claimed it is in a better position to enable true matches than many of its competitors because of the complexities.

With Google, Facebook and now Adobe on the cross-device bandwagon, Criteo claims it is differentiated because of its technology and scaled retail footprint.

“From our perspective, we have 8,500 clients-plus who are willing to work with us and we have a consumer database that connects [data] through us,” said Eric Eichmann, president and COO of Criteo. “There are not many people who have that installation base who could fuel that cross-device database, and we think this complements efforts by Google and Facebook.”

In addition to its cross-device pursuits, Rudelle touted Criteo’s new “next-gen creative platform,” which he claims can dynamically tailor creative to the individual user in a matter of seconds.

The tool focuses on making the look and feel of a banner ad or mobile format responsive, “which has a surprisingly big impact on the pixel and post-click conversion rate,” he said. “It’s something we are aggressively rolling out across our client base.”

Some analysts questioned Criteo about the perception that it needs to reduce opacity around media margins, campaign performance and overall data usage.

“Measurability is absolutely key to our business,” Rudelle said. “We’re investing in our technology to show more performance. The best demonstation of this is mobile. We wanted to make sure we could measure ROI in mobile both in browser and in-app. We believe as advertising becomes more focused on performance and ROI, we will benefit.”

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