The four-year-old CitrusAd retail media platform used by grocers such as Hy-Vee, Wakefern and Ocado has been acquired by Publicis Groupe for an undisclosed sum.
The deal comes amid dramatic growth of retail media and expectations of further increases as major advertisers are drawn to the targeting, transparency and measurability of retail media. The CitrusAd platform, which offers self-service capabilities for brands, is used by 70 retailers globally, according to Publicis Groupe. Plans call for CitrusAd to function as a standalone business within Publicis Groupe’s Epsilon business.
“It’s not every day you find a partner the size of Publicis Groupe that not only shares the same vision and entrepreneurial spirit as CitrusAd but who can apply their advertising prowess and muscle to a technology company like ours,” said Brad Moran, co-founder and CEO of CitrusAd. “Retailers and brands are entering uncharted territory as retail media grows and having Publicis supporting CitrusAd in its efforts, I know that our customers will reap the benefit of a century’s worth of media expertise combined with high quality technology and a team of retail media experts”.
The deal comes as Publicis Group and CitrusAd project that by 2023 e-commerce sales for CPG brands will double from 2019 levels. As a result, retail media is undergoing exponential growth and is expected to double within five years from current levels of roughly $30 billion.
“We are delighted to welcome Brad, Nick (CitrusAd co-founder Nick Paech) and the CitrusAd team to Publicis. The leading technology they have developed, coupled with Epsilon’s CORE ID will enable CPG brands to grow faster and retailers to generate new sources of revenue to win in a platform world,” said Arthur Sadoun, CEO and chairman of Publicis Groupe. “It will also give to Publicis a strong competitive advantage in a channel that by 2025 should surpass traditional TV spend.”
In a joint statement, the companies said, CitrusAd’s onsite expertise complemented with Epsilon’s offsite retail media offering, both powered by the CORE ID, uniquely positions Publicis Groupe to lead the new generation of identity-led retail media, with transparent measurement validated by transactions. According to Publicis Groupe, this will provide clients with three competitive advantages in e-commerce:
- Growth: Clients will be able to accelerate their growth by increasing conversion rate and maximizing return on ad spends.
- Customer understanding: Brands will access superior customer understanding based on first-party data from retailers, equipping them for a cookieless world. Complementing CitrusAd with Epsilon’s capabilities, Publicis expects to be able to deliver best in class identity resolution, with no dependency on third-party cookies, for optimized activation, delivered in a consent-by-design and privacy-compliant way.
- Consolidated measurement: Brands will be able to reach their customers both onsite (in retailer ecosystems) and offsite (in publisher ecosystems) and measure in real-time the consolidated performance of their media investments, whatever the channel of conversions, in-store or online, at the SKU level and validated directly by transactions.