What Search Marketers Need to Know About Criteo’s Retail Media Platform

What Search Marketers Need to Know About Criteo’s Retail Media Platform

If you’ve been in the paid search industry for a few years, you’ve probably heard of – or even used – Cryto.

You may also be familiar with Criteo Retail Media in the days when it can be described as an advertising network for sponsored products, circa 2016 when Crito acquired a company called Hooklogic.

HookLogic had built a business by aggregating inventory among multiple retailers and enabling brands to bid on that inventory on a CPC basis.

In addition, you can also learn that Crito acquired a company called Storetail in 2018 to help retailers provide new creative formats and targeting options.

But what you might miss is the announcement of Critto’s new retail media platform.

For now, I am going to stick with this piece of sponsored products and the platform that powers it, as it represents an easily attainable action item that is not only going on vacation, but plans for 2021 is also.

So, let’s take a look at what the retail media platform does for sponsored products.


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This technology enables retailers to serve advertisements that fall within the existing site structure, look and feel. This allows retailers to sell placements in search results, browse pages, and anywhere they think sponsored product placements will be in line with user expectations.

Retailers can therefore focus on being able to hit the market quickly with ad offerings without absorbing the costs of owning, maintaining, and building the advertising technology stack, not ad management platforms or software developers.

Which is, if you stop thinking about it, a very large and expensive set of things to do.

Secondly, this format always gives the brand an option to advertise with that retailer.


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Traditional retailer ads can be very heavily administrative-based, even with online-only display flights, insertion orders, large budgets or minimal, weeks of planning around creative assets and after review, lockout periods, and campaigns. Reporting of those who cannot. As long as the full implantation period has passed.

While it buys large displays, you can be blamed for the in-store lift, basket analysis, and brand halo effect – it can take up to eight weeks after a campaign to achieve this.

Crito now works with retailers in North America to provide enterprise-level self-service advertising tools for brands including Target, Best Buy, Costco, Mijer, Massey, Kohl’s, Walgreens, CVS and Ulta.

What is great with retail media platforms is that advertisers can choose to appear at a single retailer, or to run a campaign with multiple retailers and still break down reporting at the individual retailer level .

Brands can use the budget cap to allocate budgets to various retailers at the required level, or leverage AI to dynamically allocate funds to get the best return on advertising spend.

Some retailers, such as Target, already use Crito for a particular environment they call “private market”, in which ads are shown only on target.com.

Being able to target only (target intended) is really valuable for brands that specifically want to push more sales on target.com or even more physical shelf space, expand classifications and those Target Plus takes advantage of the popularity of the product for sellers to require markets that need to promote their products and not have in-store presence.

how it works

The product sponsored through Cryto is a CPC model and first price auction.

It is not keyword-based. The focus is more on individual SKUs.

Keywords are already linked across all SKUs thanks to retailer product feed information, data collected from retailer sites, and Crito’s AI.

The brand then does not have to devote resources to developing creatives.

Bids can be set at the line item level and SKU level. The concept of line items is really new in retail media platforms.


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In the past, you had to segment the campaign using “product groups” to group SKUs.

Now, you create line items, and each serves as a strategy to accomplish your larger campaign strategy. You associate a retailer with each line item.

This allows you to take control of your budget, as well as see retail level reporting.

Critio Line Item

In addition, the SKU-level bidding feature now enables you to manage CPC bids on individual products.


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By adjusting the bid of a product, you can adjust the competition of the product in the auction.

Through the in-line editing tool, you can enter and save a new CPC value for each product in the Product Bid Override field. The price entered must be either equal to or greater than the minimum floor bid.

Another difference in the new platform is that these floors are now set by the retailer, so they can vary greatly within categories. The minimum bid was previously made by Crito to run network campaigns.

Once entered, the product will use the new CPC price for the bid. Products that do not have a product bid override price will automatically use the line item bid.

See criteo products

With this new campaign structure, the organization has a lot of flexibility. For example, you might have a campaign for a retailer with a line item.


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You can also have a campaign with 10-line items, each with a different retailer. Or you can have 100 SKUs on a line item.

Each line item has a start date and an optional end date. (Start and end dates are not at the campaign level.)

You can choose to set a budget for the line item, as well as use a daily or monthly pacing tool. Or, you can choose not to set the line item budget, and rely on the budget set at the campaign level.

Your choice.

Critic budget view

While daily and monthly budget pacing in the new platform was moved from the campaign level to the line item level, there is now a focus on the campaign level rather than the account level.


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In addition, Crito is now offering many more attribution options. Previously, you could only do 30-day post-click and 1-day post-view. Options now include post-click: seven days / 14 days / 30 days and post-view: any / one day / seven days / 14 days / 30 days.

Brands can now align with the attribution window they are using with other platforms if they so choose.


As noted, brands can now see retail level reporting. In addition, Crito is normalizing the matrix between retailers, making it easier for you to compare retailers’ performance.

The new platform also includes data visualization, so now you can slice and dice with customizable reports with the metrics you want.

You can download the report directly from the UI, or schedule the report via email.

Critio Reporting

how to get started

Technically, there is no minimum cost to gain access to the retail media platform.


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However, pricing on the platform depends on commitments and if you want to leverage Crito’s managed services team for management support.

With the launch of this new platform, Crito has also developed its pricing model to provide complete transparency to brands, agencies and retailers.

The new pricing model aligns with the media and cost pricing used by other media buying tools and creates greater transparency and flexibility for the payments you use.

I highly recommend checking out “Critical Product Brands: It’s Time to Take Control of Your Retail Media Destination” commissioned by Forrester by Crito. The full report is available for download and covers the retail media landscape as it is today. And you can see where you sit against the respondents and their maturity in retail media as part of their process and adaptation.

It would cost you an email to get it, but I thought it worth it. And if not, there is plenty of other material in the resources section. From there, you can contact Krito to get started.


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more resources:

Image credit

All screenshots by author, December 2020