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Exclusive: CitrusAd highlights the importance of retail media
Wed, 7th Jun 2023

The CitrusAd platform is a leading, white-label, self-serve retail media platform. To learn more about CitrusAd and what they do for their customers, TechDay spoke with Alban Villani, CitrusAd's Regional CEO for EMEA.

Who is CitrusAd?

Used in over 30 countries across APAC, US, and EMEA, including France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, the CitrusAd platform is truly global. The company was founded in 2017 in Australia and expanded internationally shortly after in 2018. 

Globally, CitrusAd has over 310 employees, including retail media experts and engineers.

"CitrusAd is backed by 20 years of industry insight and experience. We work with over 140 retailers around the world, including John Lewis, Ocado, Sainsbury's/Argos/Nectar360, Tesco, Woolworths, Coles, Castorama, Rewe, METRO, PromoFarma, Target, Ahold USA, Albertsons among others, as well as 6,000 advertisers (brands)," says Alban Villani, Regional CEO for EMEA, CitrusAd.

"As a business with technology built from the ground up working closely with retailers, we punch above our weight. Our retail media platform is designed to put retailers and their suppliers in control. Speed and efficiency are also critical, and the CitrusAd platform can be deployed quickly and integrates seamlessly into a retailer's existing environment. We also operate above and beyond just technology, working collaboratively with customers as partners and sharing the risk: success factor."

What is CitrusAd known for?

Built from the ground up for retail, the CitrusAd platform is designed as a white-label product allowing retailers to control when, where and how ads are served. With speed and efficiency in mind, the technology can be deployed rapidly, supported by the company's team of engineers, and works seamlessly within a retailer's environment.

Benefits for retailers include maximising revenue on eCommerce sites and mobile apps, transparency through real-time reporting that measures performance, the ability to commercialise first-party data, visibility on how individual brands are performing on the site and a seamless user experience. 

Furthermore, benefits for brands include providing an easy-to-use self-serve platform with the ability to develop/adjust campaigns on the fly, personalisation to deliver the right products to the right consumers at the right time, better ROI on campaigns through real-time reporting and performance measurement, and cross-selling and upselling opportunities within and across categories.

Since becoming part of Epsilon, CitrusAd now offers both on-site and off-site advertising to retailers and their supplier brands through a unified platform. The innovative, fast-growing business launched the first unified on-site and off-site self-serve platform in July 2022. This combined the benefits of CitrusAd's on-site technology and expertise with Epsilon's off-site retail media offering and true identity solution, CORE ID.
"In terms of the competition, CitrusAd is different, we are not a revenue share model, but pay per use and it's something that retailers love. We white label our platform, which is easy to use with real-time reporting/dashboards for both brands and retailers," adds Villani.

"Now that we are part of Epsilon, we are well placed for where retail media is heading - the ability to engage shoppers across the path to purchase and to have a true identity capability - in a privacy safe way - that ensures brands are reaching people, not devices." 

Epsilon also employs state-of-the-art machine learning and data processing to scale, automate, and continuously improve the companies living audiences. These audiences are continuously modelled and optimised in real-time, using many signals that are tuned to produce desired outcomes like product-specific sales, shopper acquisition, or repeat purchases.

Who are CitrusAd's customers?

Much of the initial growth in retail media came from grocery, and CitrusAd is strong in that area (Sainsbury's, Ocado, Tesco and Waitrose are examples in the UK). But multiple sectors are embracing retail media and the CitrusAd platform – pharmacy, beauty, general merchandise, and consumer electronics. 

Today, the company is also seeing B2B retail media emerging. For example, IT distributor TD Synnex and grocery wholesaler Metro are running retail media networks across Europe using the CitrusAd platform.

Retailers are seeing the real benefits of retail media, and the technology enables retailers to scale their businesses. Building their own platform is not cost-effective for almost all retailers, and it's hard for them to innovate rapidly. Increasingly, retailers will move to more branded solutions, awareness, and engagement for brands, such as off-site media, brand pages and online video, which need to be measured. 

This enables retailers to meet the demands of brands to reach shoppers wherever they are, and on-site media placements are, of course, finite. Phasing out third-party cookies is also important and will help drive growth as more brands need access to first-party data. 

Several factors are fuelling retail media's exponential growth, including potential budget shifts to media channels outside of traditional advertising and the growth of non-endemic advertising. 

Brands are beginning to allocate a more significant proportion of their media spend to retail media as the economic climate tightens margins and drives retailers to find additional top-line revenue. If brands increase spending in reaction to retailers increasing their retail media capabilities, growth in the sector will continue. 

Part of the cause is the pandemic, which led to an unprecedented increase in online retail spending across all categories, from grocery to consumer electronics. It's predicted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that the Retail Media market will grow 25% a year to $100 billion over the next five years and will account for over 25% of total digital media spending by 2026. 

COVID-19 accelerated the expansion of e-commerce, particularly in the grocery sector, meaning there are now many retail companies in the space that are legitimate retail media players. 

Does CitrusAd have channel partners?

CitrusAd works with partners to enable easy activation for brands and to broaden its offering. For example, the company works with platforms such as Skai and Pacvue, which enable advertisers to manage campaigns across multiple retailers. And earlier this year, CitrusAd and partnered to deliver on-site shoppable video ad technology to retail media networks. 

The CitrusAd and Sponsorcart partnership simplifies video campaign activation, and retail monetisation, making it easier than ever for brand advertisers across the globe to activate shoppable video campaigns on retail media networks. 

Brands can implement, manage, and scale video ad creative alongside add-to-cart functionality for corresponding SKUs, enabling closed-loop, transparent measurement of return-on-ad-spend (ROAS). The new, innovative video ad formats will drive high-impact engagement for brands and fetch greater CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) in the retailer's revenue stream.