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Q&A with Criteo: Retail Media 3.0

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Advertising technology company Criteo has emerged as a major player amid the rise of retail media and digital commerce. The company has continued to strengthen its retail media business over the past year with collaborations across new categories, including consumer electronics, home improvement and most recently in specialty arts and crafts under its new partnership with Michaels.

In October 2021, Lowe's unveiled One Roof Media Network, a retail media service designed in partnership with CitrusAd and Criteo to provide a portfolio of omnichannel advertising services. In addition, consumer electronics chain Best Buy recently started enabling advertisers to use Criteo’s cross-retailer, self-service platform to reach online shoppers in the U.S. and Canada.

Path to Purchase IQ recently spoke with Ryan Britton, vice president of retail media, Americas, at Criteo, to understand the company’s position in the market and its work with retail partners as well as his take on the rise of retail media and its future, current trends and third-party cookies.

P2PIQ: What types of emerging trends have you seen/experienced amid the e-commerce boom and explosion of retailer-owned media networks?

Britton: Retail media advertising has gained significant momentum over the past two years amid the e-commerce boom. Brand dollars inevitably follow the shopper, and as more and more consumers shift to shopping online across more retailers, the brand media mix has changed to reflect shopper behavior. In fact, Forrester recently predicted that retail media revenue will reach $50 billion globally [in 2022], driven in part by big-name retailers like Best Buy, Dollar General and Lowe’s.

Retailers have particularly seen how Amazon and Walmart have been able to become media moguls through their advertising businesses — and as the market continues to mature, traditional sectors like grocery to emerging ones including consumer electronics, home improvement and arts and crafts are leading in retail media. Additionally, retailers are always looking for new monetization streams and retail media is primed to help them become media moguls. Because of this, we’re seeing more talent migrate from agencies, brands and adtech to retailers. 

P2PIQ: How can retail media help brands reach omnichannel shoppers and consumers who are purchasing online now more than ever before?

Britton: In today’s fragmented marketplace, brands need solutions to help them reach the right audiences online throughout the shopper journey. Retail media is prime for this because it enables marketers to engage shoppers with relevant and non-intrusive ads near the digital point of sale on retailer and marketplace websites and apps. Additionally, from a consumer standpoint, receiving relevant and personalized advertising messages makes online shopping a much more enjoyable experience.

P2PIQ: What do you envision the next evolution of retail media and digital advertising (aka “retail media 3.0”) look like?

Britton: The next evolution of retail media and digital advertising overall will encompass going beyond sponsored ads and display. In 2022, brands will specifically focus on four key areas: leveraging retailers’ digital shelf insights to inform product decisions, experimenting with new formats like video, investing in off-site and ultimately enhancing shopping experiences for people. As shopping continues to migrate online, brands will continue to look to retail media as a full-funnel marketing approach to turn brand awareness into conversions or sales. At Criteo, we have built an open and transparent ecosystem that helps brands and retailers deliver relevant content to shoppers directly at the pivotal point of purchase. 

P2PIQ: Can you share some best-in-class examples of retailers/brands you’ve seen/worked with that are doing it right as the market continues to mature?

Britton: We most recently announced our partnership with Michaels, the largest specialty arts and crafts retailer in North America, to enable retail media advertising on their digital properties. Michaels is uniquely suited to lead in this space because of its commitment to enhancing shoppers’ experiences and its highly loyal base of Makers. At Criteo, we’ve always placed the shopper at the heart of everything we do, and so the partnership was a natural fit to help Michaels scale its retail media program with a full suite of solutions like sponsored products, display and off-site. According to McKinsey, retail media is a $14 billion market today, excluding Amazon and China, and will grow at a 22% [compound annual growth rate (CAGR)] to $32 billion in 2024, including commerce insights. The market is still maturing, which presents a unique opportunity for new retailers and brands to make a splash in the space. Ultimately, retail media is here to stay.

P2PIQ: How will the end of support for third-party cookies impact retail media and personalized advertising?

Britton: In the last few years, retail media has emerged as a strategic way for retailers to help brands tap into their valuable first-party data for granular targeting and sales-based measurement. And it makes sense for retailers to want to capitalize on their scale and first-party data with the pending end of support for third-party cookies. Retail media is prime for personalization and is a future-proof strategy that will take its place as a core part of brands’ marketing plans, rather than an add-on.

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