That might sound like peanuts to a firm like Google. But for years, executives there have privately discussed their admiration for, and concern about, Criteo’s ability to lure ad-spending dollars from clients.
Criteo and other ad tech firms took Google’s search-ad business model to display ads; advertisers bid in auctions to show ads and Criteo only charges them when a consumer clicks. Criteo’s business is dependent on being able to buy lots of ad space across the Web at one price and sell it to advertisers at a higher price after targeting the ads to individual consumers and as long as that leads to sales on advertisers’ sites. Criteo was among the first firms to employ “retargeting” techniques so that a person who looked at a shirt on a clothing retailer’s site, for instance, will later see ads for that shirt on other sites.