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Podcast: Survival Of The Fittest

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Today in the podcast studio, Criteo COO Mollie Spilman talks about what makes companies survive and thrive in the ever-changing digital advertising business.

Criteo was the emblem of the wild growth in programmatic marketing, and remains the second-largest publicly-traded ad tech companies with a valuation of $1.3B.

In the five years since Spilman joined to run sales, the company has grown revenue from $600 million to $2 billion. “That’s not just because we have great sales people,” she says. “That’s because we have the whole package, from sales to ops to product to R&D.”

The company has recently expanded from its traditional retail and travel verticals to other performance areas like automotive, financial services and online education. Through its acquisition of HookLogic, it gained a retail media business where it generates ad revenue for retailer websites.

Throughout its evolution, one thing hasn’t changed: “Our best customer is someone who’s really looking for performance,” Spilman says.

Starting in 2017, Apple began cracking down on third-party cookies with Internet Tracking Protection in Safari. Many viewed the changes as ominous for Criteo, and the company’s revenue growth took a hit. Google Chrome also added privacy controls, but Spilman describes them as neutral for the business.

“We’ve been honest about Safari in particular and that was a hit to our business, but what’s pretty amazing is that we still did $2 billion in revenue,” Spilman says. “We’re still able to deliver sales and performance.”

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