In an Increasingly Digital World 98% of Brands Lack Omnichannel Worthy Data

With 12/12 just around the corner, advertisers and agencies are once again scrambling at the last minute to understand how to capture revenue during another billion dollar shopping event.

According to Alban Villani, regional MD for Greater SEA at Criteo, sales on Singles’ Day 2018 saw a slight decrease of growth in sales uplift from desktop buyers while app based purchases grew by 12%.

“Apps are getting more and more prominent so the first thing that all the advertisers need to do, they need to consider apps as an important part of the strategy,” said Villani. “If they have a strong mobile web presence, they should think about [whether] it makes sense to make an app.”


We are trying to advocate this in countries with large offline presence for brands and the groups that have holdings for offline and online companies to tell them about the goldmine of users

He added that the branded app play is especially advantageous in Singapore and Indonesia along with the remainder APAC nations. The only challenge advertisers with branded apps will face is the lack of clean data for executing with omnichannel.

“Most of them – I don’t have the exact number – but I would easily say 98% of them don’t have the right data to target users from an omnichannel perspective,” said Villani. “Omnichannel – the way we understand it – is across all devices but its also offline to online [and vice versa].”

Villani notes that while the market is talking about omnichannel and data integration, it’s all lip service and the cross-channel sales strategy can’t be practically applied by most brands.


“We need to be part of the conversation because we need to tell [advertisers] that look you want to collect this offline data, you need to collect it in a certain way [and] format so that we can then reuse it for online campaigns,” said Villani.

A survey from 2013 by Forrester found that while marketers valued omnichannel investments, the same focus did not follow through for order management systems (OMS), the backbone of the fulfillment component of an omnichannel initiative.

According to Villani, this is still the case five years later, adding that awareness on the importance of clean data and an OMS is starting to take hold in Singapore compared to other APAC countries.

“We are trying to advocate this in countries with large offline presence for brands and the groups that have holdings for offline and online companies to tell them about the goldmine of users,” said Villani.

Since Q2 2018, Criteo has advocated that advertisers invest in owning the payments system to control cash flows and the data supply chain, which allows companies to recognize users from online to offline and cross-reference purchases. Villani believes that the saturation of third-party payments integrators has halted any potential progress advertisers could have made in owning the data collection point.

“You can see more and more online payment solutions, payment gateways, e-wallets popping up everywhere especially in markets like Thailand, Indonesia, etc,” said Villani. “It’s a good thing but I think the next phase will be some consolidation before we can reach the time when we can use this for advertising campaigns.”

Villani is hopeful that in 2019 advertisers will evolve in their approach to this challenge and appreciate the advantage in having a unified view of the user through IDs or payments. By Q1 2019, Criteo will also rollout products for advertisers and agencies that achieve targets at the top of the funnel, a service Villani says came as a result of customer demand.

“We kept hearing from all the countries that they respect our ability to deliver conversions through [lower funnel] retargeting campaigns,” said Villani. “You also have the mid funnel campaigns and they really like that so the next logical question was can you do you something for the upper funnel – so we acquired some companies that know how to do it and I think now we are fully ready.”

Criteo is positioned as a company that delivers commercial results at the bottom of the funnel, favored by executives that are accountable for the P&L. The inclusion of a service that earns from impressions and clicks, branding & traffic campaigns, could cause a rift within business units due to marketing & sales misalignment.

“If we gain a unified view of the user across the entire funnel, then its going to make much more sense for the entire environment,” said Villani, justifying the new service by adding it allows Criteo to go after prospective buyers from day one and continue the relationship, similar to the customer lifetime value (CLV) approach of the gaming industry.

Villani admits that while Criteo’s new service will start with impressions and clicks, the overall focus will be on extending the CLV by controlling the entire funnel.

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