MarTech Interview With Brian Gleason, Global Chief Revenue Officer at Criteo

Brian Gleason, Global Chief Revenue Officer at Criteo chats about the evolution and long-term impact of Commerce Media in this Q&A:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Brian, tell us about your journey through the years and what’s it like as Criteo’s new CRO since early this year? 

For the last decade, I have worked at GroupM, most recently serving as the Global Commercial Officer. Before that, I held the role of Global CEO of Performance Media Group and Global CEO of Xaxis.

I’ve been watching Criteo for quite some time and have been impressed by how it has pivoted and transformed throughout so many industry changes to become a leader in commerce media. Commerce is at the core of growth in the digital environment, making it an exciting time to join and help build on this momentum. I’m responsible for leading a global team of over 1,500 client solutions specialists focused on growth for 22,000 clients worldwide. My agency background and perspective have helped me identify new opportunities. Specifically, I’m focused on scaling Criteo’s retail media platform, driving customer acquisition and retention for DTC Brands, and connecting brands with shoppable moments on the open internet.

Retail media and commerce media present new revenue streams and growth for brands, retailers, publishers, and agencies. 2021 was a pivotal year in Criteo’s transformation from a singular customer retention company to offering multi-solutions. I’m excited to help build on this momentum in 2022 and beyond as Criteo continues to lead the future of Commerce adtech.

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Criteo recently released some research surrounding the Future of Commerce Media, we’d love to hear the key highlights…

Commerce media is a massive growth opportunity for brands, retailers, and publishers and is a central part of the overall growth strategy. By leveraging commerce data, AI, and a privacy-first approach, marketers, and media owners can break down silos to improve customer experience and strengthen loyalty while adapting to forthcoming advertising regulations.

As this commerce transformation drives forward, we found that marketers are using too many platforms for their media buying, hindering measurement and straining resources. According to the survey, 55% of marketers use six or more platforms to buy media, and 51% work through six or more retail media partners. This complicated buying process creates many challenges for marketers, including fluidly moving budgets, measuring effectiveness, and managing media campaigns.

Cross-channel, cross-retailer agility, and access to first-party data are top priorities. 60% of respondents want commerce media partners that allow them to compare and optimize performance across channels and retailers, measure performance, and adjust campaign spend in real-time.

Streamlining to address these issues is a top priority. In the next 12 months, marketers noted the following solutions as top investment priorities: implementing a single platform for all commerce media spend and performance (81%), embedding commerce media strategy and outcomes throughout the organization (80%), and removing channel silos (69%).

Marketers believe that a unified commerce media approach will deliver an improved customer experience (63%), increased growth (65%), and increased profitability (61%).

What type of media/marketing activities do you feel today’s marketers of online marketplaces need to be more focused on? 

The idea of Commerce everywhere creates shoppable opportunities for brands to reach consumers seamlessly across channels. Marketers must evolve old advertising approaches through the lens of delivering value to consumers.

New processes will be implemented to create a unified experience across channels to organize data, define success metrics, design holistically, execute with connected technologies, and optimize for outcomes across the customer lifecycle.

In tandem, increasing privacy awareness—new regulations, the deprecation of key identifiers, and more—are forcing marketers to adapt to a new way of advertising. As such, 66% of marketers and retailers (as media owners) worry growing privacy regulations hinder their organizations’ ability to personalize at scale. Commerce media is the next frontier as advertisers shift away from third-party signals and customers set higher expectations around personalization. Marketers will look toward their partners to provide access to first-party data.

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How have you seen media and marketing trends evolve when it comes to this segment?

Commerce media will continue to expand in tandem with the shift in e-commerce and the idea of Commerce everywhere. While commerce media is the broader ability to connect marketers and media owners to monetize anywhere consumers spend their time, it begins with retail media, which has snowballed over the past two years with companies like Walmart and Target reporting their digital ad revenue for the first time. This acceleration is telling, as retail media networks are central to the larger commerce ecosystem.

Retail Media enables retailers to create personalized advertising experiences on their owned digital assets – but the opportunity goes even further when the retailer extends its advertising reach offsite and across the open internet. This opens up retailers to a new revenue stream while attracting brands to boost their digital shelf visibility and attract and retain commerce audiences. It also attracts new dollars to media owners across the open internet as ads flow offsite. Commerce Media expands Retail Media to non-retail media owners – it is the broader ability to monetize for Commerce everywhere, anywhere where consumers spend their time.

New marketing opportunities will fuel additional growth – expanded offerings, ad formats, and channels. Brands, retailers, publishers, and adtech companies will continue to collaborate and innovate to enhance the commerce media experience. We’ll see advertising evolve into new environments where consumers spend their time, such as gaming, food delivery, and the metaverse.

As online marketplaces and the ability to sell-buy almost anything digitally becomes more sophisticated, how do you feel online commerce as a segment will start shaping up?

Today, marketers face platform fatigue when working through numerous platforms to activate media and retail media partners to buy. This scattered process makes it hard to measure and requires additional resources to manage media campaigns effectively – it also makes it difficult to engage effectively with consumers across their entire buying journey. It’s no surprise that marketers are gravitating towards a single platform and embedding commerce media in their business strategy.

Commerce media will continue to grow and become more strategic. When implementing a commerce media approach, it’s essential to plan for the future. Marketers should talk with their current and potential partners about how they are preparing for a more consumer-centric, privacy-first future.

Prioritize the day-to-day performance metrics that are proven leading indicators of higher-level business goals. One thing to note is that commerce media is a strategic extension of the brand and retailer relationship, not one-and-done.

Take a collaborative approach to refine and evolve your strategy for improved outcomes.

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Five thoughts on the future of B2B Commerce?

First, it’s important to look at the B2B commerce consumer. This consumer is not much different than the B2C consumer, with the same expectations of a positive shopping experience. The marketplace is becoming less divided, Criteo recently debuted its first-ever brand campaign around the open web at this year’s Super Bowl to reach a broader audience beyond just industry players.

The most crucial difference to note is that typically a B2B consumer is helping drive digital transformation forward in the industry – and will expect innovation and added value from who they are buying from. This consumer is an independent buyer and likes to do much of their own research, which typically begins online. For this reason, it’s important to create a holistic, unified experience across channels. First-party data and personalization are necessary to create these experiences. By implementing a holistic approach, organizations can make meaningful connections and drive revenue. One final thought—as we look ahead, younger generations will be entering this field and further pushing the needle in digital transformation. Marketers need to implement these processes now to future-proof their business.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!

The next wave of advertising is upon us, and I’m excited about the opportunity that lies ahead in commerce media – especially with everything we’re doing at Criteo. We’ve accelerated the legacy that we had to draw on, the technology that we have, and have turned that into a platform that supports this growing opportunity around commerce media, which drives new revenue streams for our partners and clients. Keep an eye on us – there’s plenty more to come.

File:Criteo logo21.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Criteo is a global technology company that powers the world’s marketers and media owners with trusted and impactful advertising through our world-leading Commerce Media Platform, a suite of products that activates the world’s largest set of commerce data to drive better commerce outcomes. Criteo helps thousands of brands, publishers, and retailers reach and monetize audiences.

Brian Gleason is global chief revenue officer (CRO) at Criteo, an adtech leader differentiated by commerce media. He leads a global team of over 1,500 associates activating growth for 22,000 clients around the world. Gleason is focused on fortifying Criteo’s leadership in commerce media and helping clients drive outcomes on the open internet. With access to first-party data, Criteo is building an open marketplace for marketers and media owners that will enable responsible addressable media for the future.

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