French Retargeting Company Descends on Silicon Valley

Criteo, a French company that provides a fast-growing pay-per-click retargeting solution, has relocated its headquarters to Silicon Valley in an effort to enhance its profile stateside and make further inroads with American clients.

“We’re at the state where we have a really prominent position in Europe, and we could have decided to stay this nice European player and wait to be taken over by some U.S. guy,” said J.B. Rudelle, CEO and founder of Criteo. “But what we are offering to the market is very advanced, even by U.S. standards, so we think we can bring something truly new and innovative here.”

What Criteo offers is a way for e-commerce sites to customize display ads with items that consumers have previously shown an interest in on their site. For example, if a consumer visits a retail site and clicks on certain items without purchasing them, Criteo’s clients can insert those same items – or items like them – in a display ad on a site that the consumer later visits.

“If you have one million different products on your Web site, we are capable of displaying one million different banners,” said Rudelle “In each banner we can put up to 10 different products, so the number of combinations is really huge.”

Founded in 2005, Criteo has grown to 120 employees worldwide, with offices in Italy, The Netherlands, and the U.K. Its new Palo Alto, CA, office boasts 20 staff, including Microsoft alum Karen Dayan, who joins as VP of marketing. Criteo clients include Glasses Direct,, and The company said it was preparing to announce a number of U.S. retail clients in the coming weeks.

While it is unusual for a European technology company to completely up and move to the U.S., it might make sense for reasons beyond cozying up to American clients. In January, behavioral targeting network and technology provider Audience Science released a report conducted by Forrester that said fewer online advertisers used behavioral data to target ads in the U.K. and Europe compared with the United States.

Follow Douglas Quenqua on Twitter at @DQuenqua.

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