5 min read

Top PromoteIQ Competitors & Alternatives

Holly Shuffett
Holly Shuffett
Updated on
May 10, 2024
Ad Server Comparisons

This article explores PromoteIQ alternatives and what each retail media solution can offer your ad business. 

PromoteIQ was founded in 2012 and acquired by Microsoft in 2019. The New York-based retail media platform powers targeted sponsored listings through a simple, tag-based ad integration. It stands out for both its Microsoft-complementary offerings and flexible ad relationship management. 

However, PromoteIQ’s tag-based system comes with limitations -- most notably, a lack of ad unit customization and targeting control. Although PromoteIQ boasts “a better outcome for shoppers, retailers, and brands,” retailers looking for more ownership over their retail media platform may want to consider other retail media solutions.

Top PromoteIQ Competitors and Alternatives

  API-first     Tag-based     Revshare pricing     Programmatic Demand     Ad blocked     10+ years of experience  
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Kevel’s Retail Media Cloud™ empowers retail media networks through flexible API offerings that improve the shopper experience without the need to forfeit any control over first-party data. Kevel’s ad tech infrastructure has helped multi-brand retailers launch differentiated retail media  networks in as little as 14 days, and the team at Kevel is committed to helping digital retailers scale their own distinct ad platforms. 

When to consider Kevel

  • You care about innovation. Kevel is constantly developing new features and products that will set your ad platform apart from the crowd. These easily-integrated features won’t leave you with a mundane ad business that’s identical to your competitors, but with innovative, standout ad formats that advertisers will pay premiums for. From unique formats like Video Shelf ads to native, Kevel offers total creative flexibility. 
  • You want to prioritize performance. Site performance is crucial for keeping users’ attention and delivering top notch browsing experiences. Kevel’s tech can integrate server-to-server or client/app-to-server, reducing latency and delivering fast-loading ads. Edmunds’ Kevel-powered ads achieved response times as low as 35ms, even at scale.  
  • You want server-side integration. All of Kevel’s ads load server-side, meaning alongside your organic content, which keeps users engaged for longer. This can translate into more impressions, higher CTRs, and ROAS -- plus faster response times and the ability to combat ad blockers. 
  • You don’t want revshare pricing. With Kevel, you only pay for what you use. This means operating costs can stay the same while you scale your revenue -- no more losing out on revenue or feeling like you have to build features from scratch, yourself. 
  • You want a unified ad tech stack. The flexibility of Kevel’s APIs means you can build on top of existing infrastructure or preserve internal tools while still streamlining your ad tech stack. 
  • You don’t want to lose ad revenue to ad blockers. Kevel’s server-side ad requests can monetize ad blocked users, a demographic which has been steadily growing in recent years.

When to think twice

  • You don’t need much customer support. As one of the longest tenured ad servers on the market, the Kevel team prides themselves on being consultative experts as well as a tech stack provider. While Kevel’s 1:1 support can take place as frequently or infrequently as preferred, learning how to best integrate and optimize Kevel’s APIs plays an integral role in making the most of Kevel’s offerings. 
  • You want to launch in days. Kevel’s APIs require engineering resources and usually require a few weeks to launch.


Criteo is a global technology company well known for having the largest sponsored products ad network, which can make it easy for e-retailers starting their sponsored listings journey. Similar to PromoteIQ, Criteo’s solution is primarily tag-based, meaning issues of ad blocking, page speed, and malware vulnerability still persist.

When to consider Criteo

  • You want something similar to PromoteIQ. Functionally, Criteo operates much the same as PromoteIQ, with a tag-based system and comprehensive sponsored listings network. 
  • You want to access Criteo’s demand partnerships. Criteo’s partner program has an ecosystem of 20,000 advertisers and brands across the globe. 

When to think twice

  • You don’t want revshare pricing. Criteo operates with a CPC revshare model, which long-term can short you millions. 
  • You want to own your demand. Although Criteo has an extensive partner program, if you want to manage advertiser relationships yourself, Criteo may not be the best fit. 
  • You want a flexible ad ops setup. Like most black-box solutions, flexibility isn’t Criteo’s strong suit. If you have a unique use case, like Delivery Hero, or existing ad infrastructure, you might want a more flexible solution. 
  • You want server-side sponsored listings. Criteo is a tag-based solution, meaning you won’t be able to reap the benefits offered by server-side solutions, like faster loading times or reaching ad blocked users. 
  • You want flexible targeting options. You’ll be limited by Criteo’s targeting options, without the ability to bring your own custom segments.


Like PromoteIQ, CitrusAd’s platform is retail-specific. With a broad network of advertisers for a plug-and-play solution, CitrusAd offers simple integration for sponsored products, banner ads, and email ads. 

When to consider CitrusAd 

  • You want brand pages. Brand pages are an innovative way to drive incrementality. They’re a valuable ad unit inventory that advertisers will pay premiums for.

When to think twice

  • You want an independent partner. CitrusAd is owned by Publicis, one of the oldest and largest marketing and advertising agencies globally. Other ad agencies may hesitate to work with you if your ad platform enables a competitor. 
  • You don’t want revshare pricing. Similar to PromoteIQ, CitrusAd operates under an opaque revshare model. 
  • You want to own your advertiser relationships. CitrusAd connects you to their network, meaning a loss of control over your existing ad demand. 
  • You want customization. If you’re not interested in every setting a black-box provider mandates, and you only want to use the settings and products that meet your needs, CitrusAd won’t serve you best.

Google Ad Manager (GAM)

What started off as Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick Inc. has grown into Google Ad Manager (GAM), one of the market’s leading ad management platforms. Its wide adoption can be attributed to the Google brand name, reliability from an infrastructure and business perspective, and limited free functionality

When to consider GAM 

  • You want a low-lift solution. GAM offers four core monetization components that are user-friendly and simple to integrate: yield management, ad serving, reporting & analytics, and security. 

When to think twice

  • You don’t want to lose ad revenue to ad blockers. Google’s on-page ad tags will get detected and blocked ad blockers, making a significant portion of your inventory un-monetizable. 
  • You hate latency. GAM’s use of ad tags can also make for notoriously slow or jumpy content -- which could lead to negative browsing experiences or even user attrition. 
  • You want sponsored listings. Since GAM is not a retail media solution, its offerings are limited to serving standard banner ads, not sponsored listings.


Moloco is a machine learning software company focused on performance advertising. They operate on a planet-scale machine learning system, with over 30 deep learning neural network models, and offer programmatic advertising solutions that help with acquisition, retention, and monetization campaigns. 

When to consider Moloco 

  • Machine-learning is your main priority. Moloco’s mission is to empower businesses to grow through operational machine learning, or the “Moloco Machine Learning Engine." 

When to think twice

  • You need an uncomplicated solution. Moloco’s initial settings and user dashboard don’t make for the most user-friendly retail media platform. If you have limited resources or a team that needs simplicity, other solutions might be a better fit.


Topsort is a 2021 ad tech startup with a retail media focus, offering auction-based sponsored listings, banner ads, and video ads monetization. Their ad APIs flex ease of use, GDPR compliance, and autobidding optimization.

When to consider Topsort 

When to think twice

  • You want flexible ad units. Although Topsort enables retail media monetization, it’s ultimately limited in its ad unit features. If you’re looking for flexibility, customization, and depth of features, other solutions on the market might be a better fit. 
  • You want tech experience. If you’re looking for an experienced ad serving partner, the relatively young Topsort might not be the right consultant. 

Building it yourself

Another option is to always build a retail media platform yourself. While big companies with plenty of resources may be able to build in-house without issue, for many businesses such a project is an intimidating, or nearly impossible, undertaking. 

When to consider building from scratch 

  • You want full control over your ad platform. Building your own ad platform from scratch is a sure-fire way to create features and settings that work according to your business’ needs. With an in-house build, you manage advertiser relationships, demand, and everything in between. 
  • You have the resources to do so. Businesses with the resources to build in-house, the Amazons and Walmarts of the world, tend to do just that. Investing in a retail media platform is a future-focused way to generate revenue and grow your business. 

When to think twice

  • You want innovation now. Building a retail media platform from scratch could take 10 - 20+ engineers, plus years of effort. The build time necessary will pull resources from other projects and with at least a year to launch, in the best of cases, this solution isn’t for those looking to GTM swiftly. 
  • You want to keep up with your competitors. With such a significant time investment, if you’re looking to keep up with competitors, building from scratch may only slow you down. 
  • You don’t want to deal with compliance issues. Homegrown solutions not only cost a lot upfront, but also cost a lot to maintain. This includes the responsibility of keeping up with the ever-changing privacy compliance laws, like the GDPR, CCPA/CPRA, and LGPD. Ad API partners, on the other hand, take care of this research for you, advise as needed, and automatically update the system to ensure compliance by default.

Conclusion: Kevel stands out as PromoteIQ alternative

There are plenty of options when it comes to finding a retail media solution, but figuring out which solution best serves your business and its unique needs is trickier. Kevel, however, emerges as a standout PromoteIQ alternative, with an API-first approach that offers flexibility and tailored solutions. 

Kevel also provides expert consultative support and allows you to stay in total control of your ad platform. With Kevel’s Retail Media Cloud™, you can innovate quickly and prioritize site performance through server-side ads -- all without the constraints of revshare pricing.

If you think Kevel could be your PromoteIQ alternative of choice, get in touch today.

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