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Amazon faces challenge from new data platform

News, 31 July 2017
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NEW YORK: Amazon dominates the retail landscape in the US, but now ad tech firm Criteo is confident that a new data and ad targeting service it is developing will help other retailers and brands to compete with the e-commerce giant.

Called the Commerce Marketing Ecosystem, the new platform aims to let Criteo’s clients share anonymised, aggregated customer data as well as purchase and other information across their physical stores, websites and apps.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the idea is for retailers and brands, armed with more accurate data about their customers’ shopping habits, to then target ads more effectively at those consumers most likely to make a purchase.

The Journal reported that Criteo has a long-term plan to develop a service similar to Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences, which helps brands to identify potential customers who have shown interest in similar products as current customers.

More immediately, the new platform is expected to provide brands with more accurate, cross-device data for ad targeting purposes, such as whether an online ad served to a consumer contributes to the individual going on to make a purchase.

It is also expected that the platform could make brands less reliant on Amazon, which customer experience firm BloomReach has calculated is the site that 55% of US online shoppers go to first for their product searches.

“Amazon is creating a means to disintermediate brands if they wish to,” said Jonathan Opdyke, President of Brand Solutions at Criteo.

“You need to work with them as it’s a huge channel, a huge access point, but if you over-index you could be digging your own grave. The need for diversity is important,” he added.

Criteo plans to reveal more details about its Commerce Marketing Ecosystem during its next quarterly earnings call, which is due to take place on August 2nd.

In the meantime, it is reported that the company faces the challenge of persuading a sufficient number of its clients to work together and share data, especially as they often store and use their data sets in different ways.

Another challenge is to take on the “duopoly” of Google and Facebook, which already offer a wide range of targeting and measurement capabilities.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Facebook; additional content by WARC staff

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