Babar Khan Javed
Jun 15, 2017

Criteo brings direct header bidding to Asia

In response to the growing use of adblockers, a key player in the programmatic ecosystem is upping its game to serve ads that place the customer experience first.

Dushyant Sapre
Dushyant Sapre

In a move it says will help publishers increase their yield and make more money, Criteo has introduced its Direct Bidder solution in Asia.

With header bidding, publishers can offer their digital inventory to multiple ad exchanges in a format that mirrors an auction, thereby offering the publisher the opportunity to earn a higher cost per impression. This contradicts the current model, wherein a publisher would offer its digital inventory de facto to DoubleClick for Publishers, the Google ad management solution.

Dushyant Sapre, the regional director of Criteo Publisher Partnerships, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that more and more players like Criteo would be trying to connect advertisers and publishers directly on their marketplaces. He expects "certain levels of consolidation happening, simply because there are way too many small players offering small services, which may not be sustainable in the long term."

Criteo says its high-volume, high-quality traffic comes from its advertiser network of more than 15,000 clients globally and helps publishers maximize the monetization of their inventory. Publishers who have connected to Criteo Direct Bidder have shown promising results in revenue, the company said. Indonesia's Blackberry Messenger has been one of the beneficiaries of the change in inventory model.

Regarding competitive advantage, Sapre spoke of Criteo as a niche player. "We are not really an ad exchange,” he said. “What we essentially do is deliver great marketing campaigns for commerce retailers. With respect to what we do, we are doing it well. The recommendation engine and the prediction engine we employ helps the commerce retailers to drive more sales. That I think is our biggest USP, if you will."

Contrary to the normal narrative in the market, Sapre regards ad blocking as a great opportunity for the industry to revisit.

"A lot of players in the ecosystem have not thought about the consumer experience, and ended up creating non-ideal advertising experiences for the end user,” he said. “This meant ads were sliding in from the top, bottom, and sides of the screen. In doing so, this distanced the reader from the content they intended to consume. In order to avoid that, people started using ad blocking."

Criteo has a strict focus on the customer experience and in standing away from intrusive ads, Sapre said, adding that the phenomenon of ad blocking has not caught up to them as it has for others. He credits the company's business practices with its partners and publishers; Criteo belongs to the Safe Advertisers Program in Adblock Plus. In doing so, Criteo has monetized Adblock users who have configured their ad-blocking software to allow safe advertising.

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