Criteo vs AdWords: A Remarketing combat!

Written by

Josue Simón

SEM · 15 / 12 / 2016

In a previous entry you presented how to do Remarketing with Criteo. After a while testing the tool, today we bring you a comparison against your most basic and direct competitor. Google AdWords ‘ dynamic remarketing tool. It is up to you to decide which one is best for your projects. Let’s fight!


Number of Alexa top 1M webs in Adwords vs Criteo for remarketing.
Source: Datanyze

We’ll start by highlighting in what respects Criteo highlights and then see what are the strengths of AdWords.

Benefits of Criteo over AdWords

1. Optimisation Automation

The initial configuration of the Criteo tool is more laborious than the configuration of the dynamic remarketing of Google, since it is necessary to install more codes on the Web, different codes, by categories, more advanced codes and with multitude of variables Dynamics to configure… However, this extra initial setup time allows us to automate the flow of information received by the Criteo tool and thus optimize the campaigns. Criteo will have real-time information on the user’s behavior on the site, on the different devices, and will be able to make a better follow up of all the customer journey. This will allow you to optimize efficiently by getting a lot of information from the user automatically without the need for our intervention.

2. Continuous Testing of advertisements. Rotation of creativity and products

Criteo has the capacity to change the creativity according to what results they offer, and to offer to each user the creativity to which they respond best. Criteo optimizes creativity in a much more advanced way than AdWords. You can sort the slides and transitions of the ad, the composition of these, the number of products to display… It is even able to show users, not only the products they have seen, or left abandoned in the cart, but can suggest products that they have not yet seen, but that other users with a behaviour very similar to the one they buy.

In case of Google, the ads will have to start from preconfigured templates that will not have more automatic optimisation than to show the product that the user has seen.

3. Integration with Facebook and other quality locations

We could consider Facebook as a remarketing network or Display, not just as a social network. There we would realize how many locations available for advertising impacts we can get within a single domain. A unique domain, but with countless locations on pages and profiles of countless brands, companies, people, organisations… In addition to a huge number of active users and accustomed to interact with the content that there are. All of this makes Facebook a very interesting advertising network and Criteo has access and Google AdWords not.

This adds that the Google Display network or GDN is famous for hosting many locations of dubious quality and even fraudulent.

In Datanyze we can find the locations available in the different remarketing networks.

4. Release in time management

In the end all these individual advantages are in one. The release of time management of the campaigns of Remarketing Dynamic. This means that the advertising manager can devote more time to more strategic tasks and that can offer a greater value to the customer than the daily management of what can be automated.


AdWords vs Criteo Dynamic Ad

Disadvantages of Criteo slow down Adwords

1. Transparency

The great “but” of Criteo is the total ignorance on the part of the user of much of the relevant information about the performance of the campaigns. For example, on the locations where your ads appear, how often they appear to users, what kind of users I’m impacting more…

2. Account Control

And with the loss of this aforementioned information, there is a loss of direct control over important aspects of campaign management on the Criteo platform. You can’t put limits on the tool to avoid inefficiencies and you have to trust that everything will work well and those inefficiencies do not cost an important amount. For example, you can’t exclude locations that you might consider “bad,” or you just can’t put a maximum frequency limit on your ads. All of these things can be done in AdWords remarketing campaigns.

3. Everything comes down to the bidding

In Criteo, the bid is the one that determines which locations you appear in. The higher the bids, the greater the quality of the locations. It is also the bidding that determines which users impact. The higher your bid, you are able to impact more distant users at the end of the purchase funnel.

But when everything is decided with the same variable, in this case the bidding. How do I know to what extent I am impacting new users in better locations or if I am impacting the same users in more expensive locations?

Here the lack of transparency plays against Criteo, and we must be very outstanding both profitability and marginal profitability, because with the bid raises are paying more to get new users, but also to get users that you were able to get with less cost.

While in AdWords you make a bid, which you can modify depending on the specific locations, or what list of audiences you use; However, the bid is unique in Criteo. But it’s not only unique, if not that the bid is equal to the real CPC you pay for each one of the clicks. In AdWords, we know that the bidding may not be unique, and that the real CPC is the minimum that allows you to win the bid in each of the segments and locations that you have decided (or that you have not excluded).

Conclusions: Criteo vs AdWords

As we have seen, both tools have their pros and cons. If what you are looking for is a tool that eliminates much of the management time, in which the locations have quality standards and is also a specific tool for dynamic and specialised remarketing (with the advantages that this implies) and not Generic and multichannel (such as AdWords); No doubt Criteo is your tool.

If, on the contrary, even if it is not such an optimal tool, you do not want to give up transparency and control over your campaigns, and you cannot support the additional cost (and in theory the return) you will have to stay with AdWords.

And you, what do you think about dynamic remarketing? Do you prefer AdWords or Criteo? Tell us your experience.


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