The retail goldrush: Publicis buys Profitero to ramp up e-commerce analytics

The trend of ad holding companies investing in e-commerce continues, as a major new deal lets Publicis measure how brands’ products move through different digital shelves.

The retail goldrush: Publicis buys Profitero to ramp up e-commerce analytics

Publicis Groupe has bought e-commerce insights platform Profitero in a deal reportedly worth around $210m, but terms were not disclosed. 

The acquisition strengthens Publicis’ ability to help clients improve their digital retail presence as e-commerce continues to grow.

Tracking 70 million products across apps and sites

Profitero was established in 2010 and employs 350 people across three offices in Boston, London and Shanghai. 

Its technology tracks 70 million products across hundreds of mobile apps and retailers’ sites, spanning more than 50 countries to help brands optimise their e-commerce campaigns. 

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

For example, 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. 

Under the deal,  Profitero CEO Bryan Wiener and President Sarah Hofstetter will keep 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 e-commerce agency race 

The move follows a clear trend  showing that holding companies are investing large amounts on e-commerce and digital retail capabilities to better serve their clients. 

E-commerce has been one of the fastest-growing business sectors for agency networks in the past two years, triggering large investments in products and services.

Last month, WPP launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce solution called Everymile and, in March, Omnicom bought TA Digital to boost digital capabilities, including e-commerce. 

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.