Last week, search engine marketing platform Marin Software announced a new partership with Criteo to offer Criteo's retargeting services to Marin's clients. According to the release, availability of "Marin Retargeting is currently in Beta with select joint clients. General availability for the solution is planned for summer, 2011." Read more.
Marin Software CEO Chris Lien discussed the Criteo partnership and its implications.
AdExchanger.com: With the Criteo announcement, it appears that for a display ad solution, Marin has decided to license/partner instead of building display ad tech itself. Why?
Today, Marin works primarily with large enterprises and agencies that are spending millions of dollars a year in online advertising. When companies like that go to select a retargeting solution, they typically look to work with an established provider and one with a track record of success. Criteo has over 5 years of intellectual property invested in retargeting and deployments across more than 1000 customers. On the premium display side, for example, we have supported integrations with tools such as DoubleClick DART and Atlas Media Console for years now. This partnership is a first for retargeting, but one that is representative of our platform approach to partnering with leaders in display and providing our customers with the option to work with the tools that best suit their needs.
You mention "unified reporting" but what are you doing about cross channel attribution between display, social and search? And, have you considered moving beyond DR metrics to brand with attribution modeling?
The Marin platform already integrates buying and measurement across search, display, and social with support for leading search engines, Facebook, and the Google Display Network. The partnership with Criteo further extends our ability to attribute and report across all of the clicks leading up to a sale by including clicks on retargeted ads as a part of the online media mix. In the coming months, we expect to forge more partnerships that sit at the intersection of these three channels, in some cases working with the publishers directly and in some cases leveraging partnerships with best of breed vendors such as Criteo. We chose to begin with retargeting generally, and with Criteo in particular, because of how performance-driven the channel is and how closely Criteo’s offering aligned with our clients’ goals. With that said, brand attribution is a piece of this story already, and one which will become increasingly important as advertisers try to measure the lift that brand ads have on performance driven media.
Ecommerce publishers have used display ad retargeting heavily. How will this new partnership with Criteo affect Marin Software's target client market?
Our core market – paid search marketing – captures the lion’s share of advertiser budgets and conversions. As advertisers extend their programs beyond search, however, they are increasingly looking for their search platform to provide integrated solutions that make reporting and optimization across channels seamless. In many ways, our partnership with Criteo is indicative of this evolution. Advertisers, and especially large-scale advertisers, require the flexibility to work with whatever solutions meet their needs. At Marin, we meet these advertisers where they are, providing an open platform and pre-packaged integrations with leading vendors.
Marin has added the social channel to its targeting platform. What is the social channel specifically - is this Facebook display ads? And will you use Criteo to retarget users on Facebook?
Today, the social opportunity for PPC ads rests largely with Facebook. We added support for Facebook Ads to the Marin platform in August 2010 via their API program. The Marin platform enables marketers to manage their workflow, analysis, and bid optimization for Facebook ads within the same intuitive interface they use for managing paid search campaigns. As more social sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn evolve their advertising platforms, we will look to extend support for these publishers as well.
What has surprised you most about the evolution of the digital ad business?
The rate of change has been the single most surprising aspect regarding the evolution of digital advertising. It was only ten years ago that analysts were predicting that the internet would deliver personalized marketing on a massive scale. Today, we are seeing that prediction come true. Tools like Criteo, for example, which have the ability to serve relevant banner ads to consumers based on products they have previously browsed, allow advertisers to tailor their message at the one-to-one level. This type of personalized engagement not only improves results for advertisers, it also enhances the browsing experience for consumers. This shift has occurred so quickly that we as a society are still grappling with some if its implications -- in terms of privacy, data use, and consumer protections. But those debates are good debates to be having, because they are debates about what the shape of progress should be. With advertisers struggling to find incremental traffic without sacrificing ROI, we expect increased use of personalization and targeting of campaigns across a variety of channels
By John Ebbert