French ad retargeting startup Criteo has said that it’s on a $200 million revenue run-rate and now has 350 employees. Criteo is one of our 10 biggest European startups and is on a huge roll. Last year it raised money from Bessemer Venture Partners and moved its headquarters to Palo Alto.
Here’s how Criteo works: if you visit a shopping site without checking out, your browser will keep a digital trail, or cookie, that says where you’ve been. Criteo will then buy ad space on other sites you visit and show you ads for precisely the products you looked at. Since the ads are for products you previously looked at, the odds that you will click through and complete the sale are much higher than it would otherwise be, so Criteo makes money.
This is called ad retargeting, it’s a fiendish engineering challenge, it’s long been considered one of the Next Big Things in online advertising, and Criteo is the market leader in the space.
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