Criteo is one of the top retail media platforms, offering a solution for retailers to serve native advertising units and sponsored listings using third-party demand. But Criteo’s tag-based solution may not be for everyone, as ad tags result in ad blocking, slow page loads, and potential security risks.
Many retailers, moreover, may prefer direct advertiser relationships, rather than working with an opaque retail ad network.
This article presents Criteo’s main competitors and offers alternate retail media solutions.
Kevel excels over Criteo because of its flexibility and customization. While Criteo enables retail media monetization, it limits how much control publishers have over these features. Kevel’s infrastructure APIs, however, provide many more controls around advertiser relationships, ad unit customization, and pricing models.
Kevel’s customers include Klarna, Bed Bath and Beyond, Lyst, Slickdeals, Ticketmaster, Yelp, and more.
Like Criteo, CitrusAd’s platform is retail-specific. CitrusAd has a broad network of advertisers for a plug-and-play solution, offering simple integration for sponsored products, banner ads, and email ads.
CitrusAd might not work for you if you’re looking for more customization. Without direct advertiser relationships, you risk off-brand ads and lost revenue.
PromoteIQ, bought by Microsoft in 2019, is another retail media focused platform that provides targeted sponsored listings. Integration is simple with tag-based ads, and like Criteo, they generate demand for your platform.
PromoteIQ stands out in their flexibility with ad relationships. Unlike Criteo, PromoteIQ allows you to manage direct deals and approve vendors before they appear on your site/app.
However, PromoteIQ’s tag-based system still limits ad unit customization and targeting control.
With over 90% market share, GAM’s publisher-side ad server towers over competitors.
GAM's' inherent problems, however, prove problematic for retailers.
Indeed, GAM is not a retail media solution and only relevant if serving standard banner ads, not sponsored listings.
Standard ad servers supply tag-based banner ads and do not work well for retail media. The list includes Adbutler, Adform, AdGlare, AdSpeed, EPOM, Revive, Smart Ad Server, UpRival, and Zedo.
The other option is to build the retail media platform yourself. Such a project could take 10-20+ engineers and a few years. On the other hand, retail companies like Walmart and Amazon have driven billions from their homegrown solutions.
While this approach may provide full flexibility, it pulls resources from other projects and delays your new solution for at least a year.
Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of building an ad server from scratch.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Criteo, we’d love to chat about the pros and cons of Kevel over Criteo. You can reach out to us here.