June 15, 2023 | By Allison Schiff
Criteo wants to be an advertiser’s one-stop shop for, well, shopping.
On Tuesday, Criteo released a supply-side platform out of beta called Commerce Grid specifically for buyers and sellers of commerce media. It’s available in the US, with other markets to come later this year.
Omnicom Media Group is Criteo’s launch partner.
The SSP is housed within Criteo’s broader commerce media suite of products, which includes a monetization platform, a customer acquisition and retention solution and a demand-side platform, Commerce Max, set to fully launch in September.
Criteo was already working on a commerce SSP before buying IPONWEB last year, but that acquisition accelerated the process in a “massive way,” CRO Brian Gleason told AdExchanger.
Although IPONWEB had a supply-side platform of its own, it “wasn’t purpose built for commerce,” Gleason said. And that’s what a growing number of advertisers, agencies and retailers are looking for: technology that makes it easier to transact commerce media.
Because it doesn’t matter how big a new media opportunity is unless brands and their agencies have an efficient way to buy in, he added.
The ‘F’ word: Fragmentation
Advertisers have long been pressing for more standardized measurement and a less disjointed way to make scaled commerce and retail media buys (because we can’t all be massive like Amazon).
“The fragmentation of capabilities, buying models and transparency all make developing a cohesive, holistic strategy challenging for buyers,” said Megan Pagliuca, chief activation officer at Omnicom Media Group. “Many brands fail to harness the full potential of retail media today.”
It’s a sentiment that echoes across the buy side.
Onstage at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview event in February, Chelsea Monaco, Merkle’s VP of commerce media, pointed out how untenable it is to expect advertisers to log in to who knows how many platforms to access retail media inventory.
“Three years ago, there were probably four logos in the space,” Monaco said. “And now we’re talking about hundreds.”
Some retailers are keen to spearhead the development of measurement standards for the category. (Hey, if competing broadcasters can collaborate on a joint industry committee, there’s no reason why retailers can’t do something similar.) And Omnicom Media Group is also working on a nascent standardization effort of its own, CASA Retail, to deal with the lack of industry standards.
These types of efforts are evidence that going the walled garden route isn’t “the appropriate path forward” because it limits demand, Gleason said.
That’s not a surprising viewpoint considering Criteo positions itself as a commerce media platform for the open web.
“But if you talk to any agency or any brand,” Gleason said, “that is also not a world that they want.”