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Why Publicis Groupe bought Profitero

The top ad holding companies are all making big investments in e-commerce as marketers seek to invest in digital retail.

3 min read


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Publicis Groupe is acquiring e-commerce insights platform Profitero in a deal worth around $200 million, sources told The Wall Street Journal. The acquisition strengthens Publicis’ ability to help clients bolster their digital retail presence as e-commerce continues to grow.

Profitero was established in 2010 and employs 350 people across three offices in Boston, London and Shanghai. The company says its technology tracks 70 million products across hundreds of mobile apps and retailers’ sites, spanning more than 50 countries. Those insights help brands optimize their e-commerce campaigns. 

How does Profitero help brands?

More than 4,000 brands use Profitero’s solutions, including Kraft Heinz, L’Oreal, Bose, General Mills, AB InBev and Pernod Ricard. 

Unilever’s SmartyPants Vitamins brand used Profitero to achieve the top organic search ranking on Amazon in three categories and be awarded an Amazon Choice Badge. 

Bayer also used Profitero to improve its Amazon e-commerce, boosting sales by 68% and experiencing a rise in market share across five out of six categories. The success was driven by key insights, such as a low conversion rate for one of its most clicked-on products, prompting the brand to optimize product content with video and images to increase sales by 17%.

Why Publicis is buying Profitero

In the acquisition deal, Profitero CEO Bryan Wiener and President Sarah Hofstetter will retain their roles to lead the company and report to Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun. Both Wiener and Hofstetter joined Profitero in 2020, after working together at Comscore Inc. and 360i. 

The purchase of Profitero follows Publicis Groupe’s increased investment in recent years of companies designed to help clients meet increased consumer demand for digital retail, such as the purchase of CitrusAd in 2021, Epsilon in 2019, and Sapient in 2014. 

Publicis Groupe reported a 10.5% increase in global organic growth in the first quarter, with US growth hitting 8%. Sadoun attributed that growth largely to integrating Publicis Sapient and Epsilon with the services offered by the holding company’s creative and media agencies. 

Interest in e-commerce grows

Other holding companies also are investing in e-commerce capabilities. Last month, WPP unveiled a direct-to-consumer e-commerce solution called Everymile and, in March, Omnicom acquired TA Digital to boost digital capabilities, including e-commerce. 

There’s a clear pattern showing that holding companies are betting on e-commerce and digital retail capabilities to better serve their clients. 

This increased interest in commerce media and its importance for brand growth was examined in a recent SmartBrief article. 

“Commerce media is a massive growth driver across the entire digital industry — effecting brands, retailers and publishers — and is becoming a central part of the overall growth strategy,” Criteo’s Brian Gleason told SmartBrief.

Gleason’s sentiments on digital commerce driving growth echo those of Bloomreach CEO Raj De Datta, who spoke to SmartBrief about a recent report exploring shopper behavior across the metaverse, social media and livestreams. 

“Whether we’re talking about traditional brick-and-mortar, e-comm or the metaverse, brands that focus on a personalized, tailored experience are the ones that will end up rising to the top,” De Datta said. 

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