The Big Story: The Path Forward For Criteo And Viant

The Big Story podcast

For ad tech companies Criteo and Viant, it’s onward and… upward?

Last week, Nielsen Chief Commercial Officer Megan Clarken was announced as Criteo’s new CEO, replacing JB Rudelle. (Incidentally, Clarken’s exodus from Nielsen makes a lot of sense, considering the measurement company’s decision to split into two.) This week on The Big Story, the team discusses the task ahead of her. Criteo, once Wall Street’s golden ad tech baby, has entered an awkward puberty, the spots on its face swelling whenever Apple releases an ITP update.

And no, this isn’t exaggeration, as AdExchanger’s James Hercher points out. We must file Criteo’s straits under D for dire. Retargeting has fallen out of favor. Web browsers are cracking down, consumers are wary and advertisers are suspicious of its effectiveness.

“Unlike other DSPs, they’re so performance based and have been tied to that conversion,” Hercher points out. “Retargeting is like 89% of their business, and they’ve been trying to get people on their SaaS platform, which would be the more popular model in the general DSP space.”

But that’s a small part of their business and Criteo is trying to transition into an already-crowded field. And even if it’s successful getting to where it needs to go, external factors coming from browsers like Apple Safari could generate another earthquake across the industry.

And speaking of DSPs on a quest, Viant – once owned by Time Inc., then Meredith – is now owned once more by the Vanderhook brothers who founded it. We look at what the future holds for yet another indie buying platform.

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