Criteo and WBR Research Reveals APAC Retailers’ Priorities, Challenges and Critical Success Factors for Engaging Online Shoppers

Criteo and WBR Research Reveals APAC Retailers’ Priorities, Challenges and Critical Success Factors for Engaging Online Shoppers

·         Seven in 10 retail marketers will prioritise mobile web display and in-app advertising over the next 12 to 18 months
·         Lack of internal knowledge and skills, inability to make sense of customer data and privacy concerns are top barriers to multichannel campaigns
·         General perception that banner ads do not work shown to be inaccurate, with almost half of retailers in APAC expected to invest at least 40 per cent of digital budgets on advanced retargeting

Singapore – 28 September 2016 – Criteo (NASDAQ: CRTO), the performance marketing technology company, today announced new findings from World Business Research (WBR). With four in 10 eCommerce transactions in APAC now involving cross-device behaviour – consumers using multiple devices throughout the process of product research to purchase[1], Criteo commissioned a survey of more than 400 senior retail marketing executives (managers and chief marketing officers) across the region to identify priorities, challenges and critical success factors when strategising to engage online shoppers.

The research revealed that marketers are prioritising “the delivery of personalised ads based on customer data” and “improving customer lifetime value and loyalty.” To achieve these goals, they are looking to invest more in mobile (both web and in-app) and cross-device advertising. However, more than half of survey respondents also admitted that there is a lack of internal knowledge and skills to leverage new technology and execute multichannel campaigns at scale. “Difficulty maintaining customer data quality across systems” and “difficulty dealing with the latest privacy standards and best practices” were cited as main challenges.

“In APAC, many countries have leapfrogged the advent of PCs and moved straight to mobile. As a result, many consumers’ first eCommerce experience takes place on the mobile web or retail apps. Mobile devices provide connection, communication and knowledge, and are considered by users’ as a part of their personal space or as extensions of themselves. Under the wrong circumstances, mobile ads can therefore be intrusive and unwelcomed. The key to success is ensuring ads are personalised for each individual. This can be done by understanding and embracing new technologies like dynamic retargeting and deterministic matching,” said Yvonne Chang, Executive Managing Director, APAC, Criteo.

“Personalisation means showing consumers ads that are based on products they have already been looking at or displaying recommendations that may complement an item already purchased, which adds an element of discovery. Up to 70 per cent of online shoppers who are served ads in this way go on to view products they had not looked at previously. Retailers who get this right will be able to drive online conversions very effectively,” added Chang.

Dealing with the Deluge of Data

Retailers in APAC have accumulated huge amounts of market and consumer data. However, more than half (55 per cent) are finding it difficult to segment unstructured data to create actionable insights, and have so far failed to deliver personalised messages. This stems from having to manage multiple, incompatible data sources and the use of legacy systems. The survey results also indicate that a significant number of retailers are struggling to fill a skills gap in data analytics (55 per cent) and lack internal coordination between teams handling marketing, customer intelligence and user experience (50 per cent).

Addressing Privacy Concerns and Intrusiveness

Six in 10 retailers across the region said that they were unsure as to whether their mobile and cross-device advertising programmes were compliant with the latest privacy standards. Practices that do not comply with privacy standards include storing or using data that can be traced back to personally identify an individual (such as first name, last name, phone number, address, etc.). Consumers might also feel intruded upon if they are served ads based on someone else’s preferences or browsing behaviour. This could be due to retailers using outdated predictive or probabilistic matching platforms, which conclude that two devices are being used by the same user when they are in fact being used by separate individuals.

“When users make data available to brands to facilitate better engagement, they are entrusting marketers to protect and treat their information with respect. Brands that invest in advertising technology must therefore ensure that their adopted solutions deliver relevant ads that enhance the online experience, while providing consumers with transparency and control over the ads they receive. At Criteo, we’ve adopted some best practices that are in line with the highest privacy standards in Europe. These include using ID-syncing technology that anonymises and encrypts data from browsers or devices, choosing deterministic (also known as exact or universal) over probabilistic matching to identify the same user accessing the same website via multiple devices, including information on how data is used and providing easy access to opt-out options,” said Chang.

A New View on Display Advertising

Survey respondents stated that display ads currently account for the largest share of advertising budgets (28 per cent) and revenues (29 per cent) across APAC. It is also the only area of budget investment where the revenue generated exceeds the budget spent, albeit by only one per cent. Retailers who are making the most from display advertising are no longer spending on the generic and impersonal ads of the past. Instead, they are using advanced retargeting technology to deliver ads that are personalised and relevant to each online customer.

“Regional retail brands like Lazada and ZALORA are already using advanced retargeting technology to successfully engage shoppers. The industry is shifting its focus from increasing click-through rates or app installs to ensuring continuous engagement with existing users. In the past, cross-device advertising was difficult to execute as brands could not identify shoppers across different devices to enable personalisation. Dynamic display advertising and exact matching technology have now solved that. This is the most reliable method to engage multi-screen users in a consistent and connected way,” said Chang.

To access the full WBR 1H 2016 research findings and analysis, download the full report and accompanying infographic at

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