Publicis Groupe acquires e-commerce analytics platform Profitero for $210 million

Headshots of Amy Lanzi, Bryan Wiener and Sarah Hofstetter
(L to R) (L-R) Publicis Commerce's Amy Lanzi, Profitero's Bryan Wiener and Sarah Hofstetter

Publicis and Profitero leaders discuss their vision for the deal, which will allow Publicis to measure how brands’ products move through different digital shelves.

Publicis Groupe has acquired e-commerce insights platform Profitero, with the aim of helping clients optimize their online product catalogs. The deal is also part of the holding company’s vision to grow its product offering and build an integrated commerce platform.

The deal is thought to be valued at around 200 million euros ($210.73 million), but terms were not disclosed. Profitero has raised $48.7 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, and has 300 employees.

Profitero, which has its US headquarters in Boston, is a software platform that analyzes search results and product pages across more than 700 retail websites in 50 countries to help brands calculate category share, traffic and conversion rates.

The 12-year-old company works with brands including Bose, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, Pernod Ricard and L’Oreal to improve the sales and profitability of their e-commerce efforts.

Amy Lanzi, chief operating officer of Publicis’ commerce division, told Campaign US that Profitero’s products and technology plug a gap in the holding company’s existing capabilities.

Profitero ties together inventory data with customer data and other sources to offer insights into how specific products are moving through different e-commerce platforms. It’s a capability which will “allow our teams to help our brands figure out the right investment strategy in places like Walmart and Amazon at an SKU-level,” Lanzi said. 

Publicis’ vision is to build a connected, intelligent commerce offering that will allow brands to improve their e-commerce experiences, optimize content, increase organic search results, compare prices with competitors, monitor product availability and track customer ratings and reviews.

This will be powered by Profitero’s analytics, Epsilon’s consumer data, CitrusAd’s retail media planning (another recent acquisition by Publicis in the commerce space) and Publicis Sapient’s platform expertise. The combination of these four products differentiates Publicis from the commerce divisions in the other holding companies, Lanzi said. 

Commerce has been one of the fastest-growing business verticals for agency networks in the past two years, triggering large investments in products and services. WPP and Havas

set up commerce divisions in 2020. WPP expanded its capabilities to support direct-to-consumer brands in April this year with the launch of Everymile. Omnicom created a commerce center of excellence in 2019 and in March appointed Frank Kochenash as CEO of e-commerce to accelerate its offering. Dentsu’s Merkle launched a global experience and commerce practice in April.

Arthur Sadoun, Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO, said in a statement about the deal: “By adding Profitero to our existing assets, we are now uniquely positioned across the four key pillars our clients need to connect to capture an unfair share of the exponential growth in online sales.” 

Profitero will continue to be led by CEO Bryan Wiener and president Sarah Hofstetter, who joined the company in April 2020. Wiener and Hofstetter have worked together in various advertising ventures for the past 20 years. They previously led digital agency 360i through its acquisition by Dentsu.

The duo have steered Profitero through the explosive growth of e-commerce in the early days of the Covid pandemic to its maturation. Wiener told Campaign the time was right to take Profitero to a “much larger scale.” 

“Now e-commerce is core to brands’ businesses, how can we help them in a variety of ways at a global scale? Being part of the Publicis family will allow us to do that,” said Wiener, who will report directly to Sadoun.

Profitero will begin offering Publicis’ predictive intelligence capabilities to its clients immediately, and plans to finish integrating Publicis’ content optimization and retail media activation capabilities by Q3.

Profitero has championed an “open commerce ecosystem” in which it integrates different data sets from various partners that would usually be siloed, such as sales and marketing, to allow marketers to make smarter decisions that drive e-commerce sales. 

This model, however, contrasts with how holding companies’ typically keep a tight hold over their data. To solve for that, Profitero will operate as a standalone unit within Publicis so it can continue to work across various data sets.

“Being a product company that has data at the core of it, we need that data to be democratized so that it can be actioned,” Hofstetter said “Our success is predicated on the actionability of that data, making sure that data, with our clients permission, is accessible to their partners in sales, marketing, operations and the supply chain. We are committed to staying the course of that.”

Wiener promised that “nothing is going to change” when it comes to data accessibility for Profitero’s clients. “If one of our brand clients works with other service providers besides Publicis, they will still have access to the data on behalf of their client.”


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