Publicis acquires Australia-based CitrusAd

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 16 July 2021

Global advertising company Publicis Groupe is on the acquisition trail, picking up Australian-based software as a service platform CitrusAd which helps retailers sell digital advertising to brands.

CitrusAd, founded in 2017 by Brad Moran and Nick Paech, is a white-label, self-serve, ecommerce ad-serving platform that enables retailers to monetise their online shelf-space.

The company, with more than half its activity in the US, provides its technology to more than 70 major retailers globally with 4,000 plus brands using its self-serve platform.

Commercial details of the transaction haven't been revealed. 

The acquisition is a play to buy into the growth in retailers acting as media platforms, using their high traffic websites as a path for brands to connect with consumers.  

Ecommerce sales for consumer packaged goods brands, super charged by the shift to digitalk during the pandemic, are forecast to double by 2023 from 2019 levels. And ad spend on retail media will surge with that growth, forecast to double from $US30 billion in the next five years.

Amazon reported a 66% jump in advertising revenue to almost $US8 billion in the December quarter. In Australia, Woolworths has started Cartology to expand its media offering. 

CitrusAd, with 130 engineers and retail media experts around the world, will act as a standalone business within the Publicis’ data analytics unit Epsilon.

Brad Moran, co-Founder and CEO of CitrusAd: “It's not every day you find a partner the size of Publicis Groupe that not only shares the same vision and entrepreneurial spirit as CitrusAd but who can apply their advertising prowess and muscle to a technology company like ours.”

He says retailers and brands are entering uncharted territory as retail media grows.

“Having Publicis supporting CitrusAd in its efforts, I know that our customers will reap the benefit of a century’s worth of media expertise combined with high quality technology and a team of retail media experts,” he says.

Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Groupe: ”We are delighted to welcome Brad, Nick and the CitrusAd team to Publicis. The leading technology they have developed, coupled with Epsilon’s CORE ID will enable CPG brands to grow faster and retailers to generate new sources of revenue to win in a platform world.

“It will also give to Publicis a strong competitive advantage in a channel that by 2025 should surpass traditional TV spend.”

Publicis says the acquisition, combined with Epsilon’s off site retail media offering, will provide clients with:

  • Growth: Clients will be able to accelerate their growth by increasing conversion rate and maximising return on ad spend. CitrusAd’s conversion rates are among the highest across the media industry at 60% conversion after a click.
  • Customer understanding: Brands will access superior customer understanding based on first-party data from retailers, equipping them for a cookieless world. Complementing CitrusAd with Epsilon’s capabilities, Publicis will be able to deliver best in class identity resolution, with no dependency on third-party cookies, for optimized activation. All of this delivered in a totally consent-by-design and privacy-compliant way.
  • Consolidated measurement: Brands will be able to reach customers both onsite (in retailer ecosystems) and offsite (in publisher ecosystems) and measure in real-time the consolidated performance of their media investments, whatever the channel of conversions: in-store or online. All of this at SKU level and validated directly by transactions.


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