Criteo wants to differentiate around an “always on” platform model – as opposed to inconsistent I/O-based revenue, sources say.
More ad tech companies are attempting to move from managed media to programmatic self-serve models, particularly as clients demand more control and transparency into their campaigns.
Shoe and apparel brand client Steve Madden, for instance, said it wanted more insight from Criteo into cross-channel conversion, not just dialogue on media volume with little to no visibility under the hood.
While retargeting drives results, “Every ad tech company has and will continue to be punished for a lack of quality revenue,” said Elgin Thompson, managing director of Digital Capital Advisors, particularly as brands and publishers face growing issues like ad blocking.
“Investors, both public and private, place higher value on recurring revenue and avoid impression-based and performance media plays,” he added. “Therefore, [ad tech companies like] Criteo [are] searching for a formula to generate SaaS revenue. A leadership change buys them time with investors to put in place a strategy and execute on it."
Eichmann’s appointment could also be interpreted as a signal that there is a “deep bench” at Criteo, added Thompson. This means the company is comfortable making a top-level change, despite Rudelle’s "miraculous" feat of keeping Criteo stock well above its IPO price.
Separately, Criteo has been investing heavily in diversifying its products so it can better drive value for advertisers – including its algorithmic engine for display ad retargeting and its forays into creative optimization, email, mobile, cross device and native solutions.
It is also investing in data-driven tools meant to harness CRM and perform audience targeting. Criteo’s experimentation with more user-level data for Facebook Dynamic Product Ads also portends growing interest in capabilities around measurement and attribution.
“Clients are looking for better ROI, and all publishers are looking for better CPMs,” Rudelle told AdExchanger in an earlier interview. “We’re moving into a world where clients will pick one partner to optimize their buys on all inventory.”