Advertisers may have been blindsided by Criteo's $250 million purchase of HookLogic, but the deal offers more synergies in programmatic buying and bidding in search than initially thought. Analysts called the deal an opportunity to "cross-sell internationally." Criteo CEO Eric Eichmann agrees.
In an interview with Search Marketing Daily, Eichmann spoke about how HookLogic fits into Criteo's business model and the future of the two companies as it applies to search.
SMD: Will Criteo keep the HookLogic name?
Eichmann: We haven't decided on the branding, but ultimately HookLogic will become a Criteo company and the brand isn't as important as the service we deliver. There are key technology assets we will leverage from other companies. One of the key areas becomes expanding on the publisher portfolio. We think that manufacturers don't have a great mechanism for performance marketing. HookLogic brings that to the table. If and when we launch search, this could sit next to the stack of solutions.
SMD: Criteo has been building out a search product. What does that look like and how does HookLogic fit in?
Eichmann: The search product is a proof of concept. More than 95% of the 30 clients working with the beta are satisfied with the product. The shopping ads on Google, not the text, is a complicated product. You need to manage the bids for all the products and per user. All this calls for millions of millions of data points and programmatic machine-learning approach to search.
The idea is that we go to a retailer that's bidding on Shopping Ads on Google to support the algorithmic spend. We have seen that we drive anywhere between 20% and 40% better performance for the retailers. This was not the biggest reason for the acquisition, but you can imagine over time that it would make the bids a lot more powerful. It's not around the corner, but certainly it's an area of potential value.
In the search product we're developing, the idea is to help the retailer more effectively in the amount spent in search. Add the manufacturer and there's synergy there. Though we're early in the search product lifecycle, we can see it driving more performance.
SMD: Does the acquisition of HookLogic give you a stronger hold on business in the U.S.?
Eichmann: About 45% of the Criteo business is in Europe, 35% in the Americas with the majority in the U.S., and the rest in APEC. The HookLogic business is about 85% in U.S. and a little bit of the business in Europe.
We can help them expand into Europe. We work with plenty of retailers they don't. There's lots of potential, especially with their expansion into Europe.