The importance of putting relevant ads and content in front of consumers, along with providing transparency and control of the content, compelled Grant to join the advisory board. When I asked him what's missing in the advertising industry, the former AOL president and COO told MediaPost: integration, the ability to measure campaigns, ad platforms are too disparate, and display remains too difficult to manage. "I like Criteo because the technology allows you to measure results and actually see the return on investment," he says.
Buying and retargeting display ads needs to become easier and more measurable. If other industries like entertainment and electronics can work through the obstacles, so should online advertising. There's a balance between the incredible pace of innovation on the Web and looking at other industries for ideas that also could support online advertising. Grant says the Internet Advertising Bureau and other industry groups are trying to create standards in terms of ad sizes and programming in HTML.
"We see an evolution of technology, which is why we see an explosion of startups again," Grant says. "Technology has matured a bit, so developers are beginning to use similar sorts of architecture, which should give us hope that a lot of the building blocks for many of the new companies are built on similar architectural structures."
That similar architectural structure will make or break the advertising industry as it tries to integrate display ads with search advertising, video and mobile. Companies like Criteo will need to support that thesis to survive and thrive.
Criteo's growth in publisher display revenue from advertisers paying PPC provides the underpinning for its business model -- which has seen growth in search, but never worked for display ads.
Nearly 40% of Criteo's e-commerce clients plan to increase PPC display-advertising budgets, according to the company's research. The study found that more than half of Criteo's advertisers had not previously invested in display campaigns, which supports estimates from the Internet Advertising Bureau that companies spend more in online ads from January through June.
Internet advertising rose 11.3% to $12.1 billion in the first six months of 2010 compared with the same months in the prior year, according to the IAB. The industry organization estimates that companies spent $6.18 billion in Q2 2010, up 13.9% from the prior year.
To support growth and opportunity, Criteo opened a New York office to better serve its East Coast-based publishing partners.