criteoExperts, such as the performance marketing technology company Criteo, know well that success in the digital age depends more than ever on the ability to recognize the needs of the customer early to act quickly. The data that customers are leaving behind when making use of all kind of media channels are more and more the crucial factor for achieving outstanding marketing performance.

As Ms Yuko Saito, Head of Strategic Market Development, Asia Pacific, Criteo highlighted during a recent media briefing, the days of silo structures are counted, because the channels in use obviously prevent companies from getting a holistic customer view and customer data accumulated from the individual channels must be systematically recorded and incorporated into a unified reporting before that’s possible.

While presenting the Criteo-commissioned survey conducted by World Business Research (WBR) that identified regional retail marketers’ priorities, challenges and critical success factors when strategizing to engage online shoppers, Ms Saito pointed out that the rapid rise of large eCommerce players like Amazon, Ebay or Zalando shows that in the digital era those business win that know the needs of their customers, anticipate changes very early and respond quickly. However, this is only possible if all data that customers leave behind gets systematically recorded and analyzed.

“The more digital channels are coming into existence, the more important it is to serve the customers consistently, as their expectations are constantly growing at the same time. Hence, only those who live up to be customer focused will be among the winners”, she believes.

The good news is that the digitization of sales and marketing activities provides companies with the instruments for the systematic collection and analysis of such customer data. In fact, due to the explosion of the channels and the increasing individualization, the traditional media loses in relevance.

The classic definition of target groups no longer reflects the reality

Today's customer chooses products that match his/her identity and goes with the world view respectively, I learnt from Criteo. Based on the products with which consumers surround themselves, their environment should notice what is engaging or what they stand for. Interestingly, this identification model works regardless of age, which means target groups are becoming identity profiles.

To recognize these profiles in the first place and to use them, you need better and more comprehensive data than previously. Useful data must be adjusted continuously and in real-time to position the own brand accordingly. You can make use of external data to do so, but correlate them with the own data to select the right channels for the customer dialogue, making complex analyzes with a high degree of automation across all channels necessary. The reports must be editable flexibly, and not only for IT, but also for marketing, sales, product development and service organization. Only then, the company is always close to the customer, and Criteo is well aware of that, steadily working on its portfolio.

Just yesterday, Criteo announced the acquisition of HookLogic to strengthen its Performance Marketing Platform to expand its business to brand manufacturers and retailers. Now Criteo will integrate its sophisticated technology for predictive bidding and product recommendations into HookLogic’s products, bringing increased campaign performance to brand manufacturers and enabling retailers to further monetize their site traffic via the HookLogic Exchange.

Building trust is one of Criteo’s core business principles

Criteo built its competitive advantage on the dilemma that consumers expect easy and relevant personalized experiences with brands, which in turn requires the use of marketing data, and tackling the associated data privacy concerns by introducing its approach to consumer privacy.

“Building trust with consumers and between consumers and a brand is a core business principle for Criteo. Every day, brands come to Criteo to drive sales for their businesses. When brands choose Criteo, they are trusting us to protect and treat their information with respect. To that end, we must deliver relevant ads that both enhance the online experience and provide consumers with transparency and control over the ads they receive”, the company believes.
Criteo’s approach is firmly rooted in respect for the consumer and the belief that consumers should always be able to understand the choices they make and have the ability to control their own browsing experiences. Hence, the Criteo ad choices icon, one of the first in the industry, gives consumers direct visibility into the mechanics of the company’s retargeting methods.

“Our practice enabled a choice mechanism where the consumer could make an informed decision to delete his or her browsing behavior on any given website. We were also one of the first companies to implement a user-friendly and simple-to understand privacy policy, giving consumers the ability to drill down to a level of granularity at their disposal”, Criteo states.

Universal Match delivers a unified cross-device experience while protecting privacy

Since consumers generally use multiple browsing environments on their path to purchase, many brands still struggle to uniquely identify consumers and tailor ad messaging beyond independent ecosystems, which is the reason why Criteo released Universal Match, a unique process for linking and understanding real-time purchase intent across devices, browsers and apps throughout a consumer's full path to purchase. Through Universal Match, Criteo Dynamic Retargeting effectively tailors product recommendations, ad creative and bidding for each person, so consumers receive coherent brand experiences with real-time relevance and context as they shift from one browsing environment to another.

According to Criteo, it is designed so that no identifying personal information ever needs to be stored and uses only non-identifiable keys, which are hashed versions of a consumers' email address or CRM id, to be able to deliver real-time relevant ads without the ability to identify any personal information of the consumer from the hashed key. That way, Criteo’s advertisers are able to deliver ads that sustain a relevant experience regardless of device or browsing environment.

“Since Criteo operates in global markets, including the most privacy conscious European countries, Criteo applied very strict principles to its privacy policies besides utilizing industry-standard security measures, which include the use of firewalls and encryption”, Ms Saito affirms.

Besides being committed to positive and secure online experiences, Criteo is built on maintaining consumer trust and delivering relevance, which explains how it manages to take a leadership role in shaping a global approach to consumer privacy.

By Daniela La Marca