How to optimize your Criteo campaigns

The first lever for optimizing Criteo campaigns is through bids management. However, there are several other possibilities that will allow you to significantly improve the performance of your campaigns. We will break them down into 3 parts.

First of all, let’s start with the technical settings. The technical part is the most important, since Criteo is first and foremost a machine learning algorithm. In 80% of cases, technical problems are the cause of limiting the performance of your campaigns.
If you want to be sure, ask your Criteo account manager to check the 3 points below.

. the XML Product feed
Make sure that all your products are present in your feed with the right information. Also check that the product IDs are the same in the Product feed and in the Criteo tags installed on your site.
The quality of the Product feed must be a priority, as Criteo shows users banners based on the data sent in the feed. Ask your account manager to send you an audit of your Product feed and tags. He will send you a complete document with an inventory of the situation and an index of correspondence between the feed and the tags.

. Tags
Make sure that Criteo tags are installed on all pages of your site and that they contain the right information. In many cases, pages on the E-commerce site are not tagged, resulting in harmful data loss.

. The deduplication parameter in tags
Have you already noticed that the number of orders indicated by Criteo in its interface is often 3 to 5 times higher than the number of orders in your analytical solution? This is because Criteo uses 30-day post-click deduplication, when your analytical solution usually deduplicates in non-direct last click.
To synchronize the Criteo algorithm with your analytical solution, you must activate the deduplication parameter. It allows you to send Criteo the orders that your analytical solution considers to be generated by Criteo.
However, it is best not to enable the deduplication setting if you have less than 200 orders per day, all channels combined. Indeed, the Criteo algorithm would not have enough information to work properly.

Now let’s focus on the second element that is essential to the success of Criteo campaigns: banners.
Effective banners are the key to high CTR. Although you pay per click, Criteo calculates its profitability at the estimated CPM (= budget invested / quantity of 1000 impressions). Therefore, banners with a high CTR will be more exposed than banners with higher bids but a lower CTR.
So, how to improve the CTR of your banners and thus have more exposure?

. Start with the default template
In your Criteo interface, you can check your default template. It should be enjoyable to read and reflect all your guidelines. If you consider that the banners can be improved, simply ask your Criteo account manager to make changes.

. Push people into action!
The Call-to-Action (CTA) button has a direct impact on the CTR. But which CTA will be most effective on your target audience? To answer this question, trust the “CTA optimizer”. This tool proposed by Criteo will manage an A/B test of your CTA text by choosing from the most popular texts (“Buy”, “I discover”, …) and will only leave the one or ones with the highest CTR. To activate it, ask your Criteo account manager.

. Highlight your promotional actions
In your banners, you can add an additional communication element, about a promotional action for example (Sales, Free shipping, …), or a discount code. This feature, called “Coupon” by Criteo, will not only allow you to increase the CTR of banners, but also to highlight certain special offers on your site. There are 2 models of “coupon”.

– the Logo coupon
The coupon will be placed in the area of your company’s logo and will be displayed alternately with the logo. This coupon model is suitable for a regular share or discount code. This format will not distract your audience from the banner’s products, but will allow you to stimulate buying intent.

– the Full Screen coupon
The coupon will occupy the entire surface of the banner and will be displayed alternately with the products. This format has a high impact on the user. It is preferable to use it only for very special actions, such as an exceptional liquidation for example.

Finally, if you want to activate the coupons, or if you already do, know that you can define different coupons for different funnels and audiences, and even modify the landing page. This will help you to have a communication adapted to each audience segment.

. Everyone likes discounts
To increase the CTR and CR of Criteo campaigns, it is possible to show to your audience the discounts on your products. All you have to do is to send Criteo information on the old and new product prices in the XML Product Feed. Criteo will therefore indicate this information in the banners but also the reduction in a highlighted block. Feel free to work with your account manager on the design of these different elements.

The last pillar of optimization is the configuration of Criteo campaigns. Each objective has its own configuration: optimize my key performance indicators, increase my volume of orders or increase the share of new customers. Here are the details.

. I want to increase my volume of orders
By default, Criteo shows your banners only to visitors to your site within the last 30 days. This segment is called the “Low Funnel” – the audience most willing to place an order.
Nevertheless, a significant number of visitors are not targeted by the Criteo banners, those who were on your site beyond the last 30 days, while they remain potential customers. This segment is called the “Middle Funnel”.
You can extend your targeting to the Middle funnel to increase your order volume. The cost per order will be higher, but those who click in the banners will feed the Low Funnel. You can then show them banners at a better price.

. I want to increase the share of new customers
Criteo re-targets all visitors to your site, whether they have already purchased or not. However, you can focus your budget on visitors who have never bought on your site, which is the audience you are looking for.
To do this, ask your Criteo account manager to separate the two audiences – new and old customers – in the Criteo interface in order to have separate bids for each. To identify audiences, use the data already collected by Criteo and its cookie, which allows it to identify visitors who have already made a purchase on the site.
Then, all you have to do is increase the bids on new customers in order to see their share increase. At the same time, we recommend that you lower the bids on old customers to the lowest possible level. You have other less expensive levers to reach this segment, such as the newsletter.

. Help me, I can’t reach my CPO!
By default, Criteo uses the CPC to manage the exposure of your banners. But your Criteo account manager can activate auctions by CPO or COS. You must first have enabled the deduplication parameter in the tags, so that Criteo has the same CPO calculation as yours.

– bids in CPC (cost per click)
This bidding system is the most agile because it reacts to your bid changes within a maximum of two days. It also allows you a high flexibility with the volume of clicks generated. However, it gives you no guarantee on your CPO and can lead to large budget variances.

– bids in CPO (cost per order) or COS (cost of sale)
You define a CPO or COS in your Criteo interface. Therefore, the Criteo algorithm will adapt your bids to meet this objective.

This auction mechanism is very attractive, but it has two constraints:
. a change of objective will only have an impact one to two weeks later,
. you cannot increase the volume of orders generated, unless you increase your CPO or COS and therefore exceed your objective.

We hope this article has been useful to you. We wish you excellent Criteo campaigns!

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