5 min read

Top PromoteIQ Competitors & Alternatives

Sarah Wheeler
Sarah Wheeler
Updated on
January 7, 2022
Ad Server Comparisons

PromoteIQ, bought by Microsoft in 2019, is a retail media platform that provides targeted sponsored listings with a simple, tag-based ad integration.

PromoteIQ stands out because of their flexibility with ad relationships, allowing companies to manage direct deals and approve vendors before they appear on one’s site/app. PromoteIQ’s tag-based system, however, limits ad unit customization and targeting control, a downside for many companies who want more ownership of their retail media platform.

This article presents PromoteIQ’s main competitors and offers alternate retail media solutions.

Top PromoteIQ competitors and alternatives

1. Kevel

Kevel offers a suite of ad APIs that publishers use to build their own retail media ad platforms, complete with native ads, sponsored listings, DOOH ads, and more.

Kevel excels over PromoteIQ because of its flexibility and customization. Though PromoteIQ enables retail media monetization and direct ad relationships, it limits how much control publishers have over ad unit and targeting features. Kevel’s infrastructure APIs, however, provide many more controls around ad unit customization, targeting, and pricing models.

Kevel’s customers include Klarna, Bed Bath and Beyond, Lyst, Slickdeals, Ticketmaster, Yelp, and more.

kevel sponsored products
When to consider them
  • You think PromoteIQ lacks functionality. Kevel offers a plethora of features not available with PromoteIQ, including first-party data targeting, radius targeting, custom self-serve advertiser portals, and more.
  • You don’t like revenue sharing. Kevel employs SaaS pricing based around # of ad requests and doesn’t take a percent of media.
  • You’re not a retailer. PromoteIQ’s solution is tailored to multi-brand eCommerce retailers. It’s not the ideal fit for marketplaces, non-traditional publishers, Fintech apps, etc.
  • You want to serve in-store digital-out-of-home ads. Kevel is the only company on this list that lets you serve ads wherever you want: in-app, on-site, in-store, and more.
  • You want server-side integration. This allows for faster response times and gets around ad blocking.
When to think twice
  • You have no advertiser relationships. Kevel works best with preexisting direct relationships.
  • You want to launch in days. Kevel’s APIs require engineering resources and requires a few weeks to launch.

2. CitrusAd

Like PromoteIQ, 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. And without direct advertiser relationships, you risk off-brand ads and lost revenue.

citrus sponsored products
When to consider them:
  • You want server-side integration. This allows for faster response times and gets around ad blocking.
When to think twice
  • You want an independent partner. CitrusAd is owned by Publicis, one of the largest ad agencies. Other ad agencies may have qualms working with you if your ad platform enables a competitor.
  • You want direct ad relationships. CitrusAd connects you to their network, meaning you can’t control your existing ad demand.
  • You don’t like revenue sharing. CitrusAd operates under an opaque rev share model (PromoteIQ also does).

3. Criteo

Criteo has built the largest sponsored products ad network, making it easy for e-retailers to dip their toes into sponsored listings.

Like PromoteIQ, Criteo’s solution is mainly tag-based, resulting in ad blocking, page speed, and the potential for malware attacks.

criteo sponsored products
When to consider them
  • You want access to Criteo’s proprietary retail demand.
When to think twice
  • You want a flexible, full-featured sponsored listings platform. Criteo is more of a plug-and-play solution and lacks PromoteIQ’s customization options that come with direct advertiser relationships.
  • You want transparency and control. Criteo is mainly a sponsored products ad network. It’s simple integration drives revenue quickly, but you don’t have control over who appears and can’t sell any direct deals.
  • You don’t like revenue sharing. Criteo operates under an opaque rev share model (but so does PromoteIQ).

4. Google Ad Manager

With over 90% market share, GAM’s publisher-side ad server towers over competitors.

google ad manager ad server

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.

5. Other third-party ad servers

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.

6. Building it entirely yourself

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.

What are the next steps?

If you’re looking for an alternative to PromoteIQ, we’d love to chat about the pros and cons of Kevel over PromoteIQ. You can reach out to us here.

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