Sophie Chen
Dec 3, 2013

Criteo expands in Southeast Asia via a Singapore hub

SINGAPORE - Criteo, a Paris-based technology company specialising in performance display advertising, has opened a Singapore office to accelerate cross-market growth and tap into the region's growing mobile population.

Saito: More APAC brands are trying retargeting
Saito: More APAC brands are trying retargeting

Through its Singapore operations, Criteo plans to expand its Southeast Asia presence to nine markets, including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore.

With many pan-regional advertisers and publishers already based in Singapore, Criteo has set out to increase its reach while accessing a quality supply of advertising inventory, as well as leverage rapidly growing internet use.

The number of internet users in Southeast Asia surpassed 62 million in 2013, according to comScore’s ‘2013 Southeast Asia Digital Future in Focus’ report. The Southeast YOY increase of 9 per cent outpaced wider Asia’s internet growth rate by more than 36 per cent.

“It’s the right time for us to launch in Singapore, as we have seen more e-commerce players emerge in this region and bring more competition, which means they need to do a better job in marketing and get their ad dollars to pay back,” Yuko Saito, managing director of Southeast Asia at Criteo, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “With Criteo’s flexible and scalable platform, we can help grow this e-commerce sector.”

Many US-based RTB (real-time bidding) platforms are investing in developing their data centres in Asia-Pacific, so it's crucial for Criteo to secure access to inventory supplies, added Max Ueno, Criteo’s managing director of Asia Pacific.

Criteo’s self-learning engine includes prediction and recommendation algorithms, a real-time buying system and dynamic creative optimisation. 

Mobile advertising is also a key Criteo focus in the region. The company has invested in R&D for mobile solutions, which includes creating a new leadership position to focus specifically on mobile advertising and the acquisition Ad-X Tracking, a mobile performance-marketing technology company.

“We have seen people in this region become more open and they are more aggressive about wanting to learn and try retargeting, which is complementary to the SEO that clients usually like to use,” Saito said. “International clients who already know about retargeting are eager to try, while local brands that are less familiar are also showing interest and want to test.”

The company mainly targets clients in three sectors, e-commerce, travel and classifieds. It is looking to enter new verticals, such as finance, automotive and telecom, Saito added.

Although Criteo has many competitors in the segment, including Google, Saito maintained her firm is not directly competing with the internet giant because Criteo is among the biggest buyers from Google’s ad exchange as a partner.

“What differentiates us from others is that we buy inventories from publishers on a CPM [cost per thousand] basis, like a lot of DSPs [demand-side platforms], but we charge advertisers on a CPC [cost per click] bidding basis, so advertisers don’t have to take any risk,” Saito continued.

Additionally, Criteo buys on ad exchange platforms, where prices constantly change, which gives advertisers more flexibility to decide where to spend their money, she added.

Criteo has other Asia Pacific offices in Australia, China, South Korea and its regional headquarters is in Japan.

The company works with more than 4,000 clients globally, including e-commerce brands in this region, such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Rakuten, Yahoo Kimo Shopping and Zalora. It also has direct relationships with more than 6,000 publishers worldwide, which provide the firm with significant advertising inventory and extensive reach. Google, Facebook Ad Exchange and Yahoo are among its partners.

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