Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA meets Ryan Cook, Criteo’s new UK Managing Director

Earlier this month, Criteo announced the appointment of Ryan Cook as its new Managing Director in the UK.

Cook brings more than 12 years of experience across various roles within the AdTech sector, both in the US and in the UK. Most recently, he served as Deputy Managing Director at Teads, where he led the launch of a pivotal self-service Ad Manager in Europe and its cookieless solution for the UK market.

In his new role with Criteo, Cook will be responsible for setting the local strategy and vision for the market, and developing new products to grow accounts across all Criteo business streams. He will be based in London with a national remit. Originally from Boston in the US, Cook has lived in the UK for the last six years. 

New Digital Age recently spoke with Cook to find out more about his appointment…

You are joining Criteo at a time of unprecedented change for the marketing tech industry. What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

It’s not the first time the industry has had to cope with big changes. When GDPR hit in 2018, ad spend dropped off by 10% temporarily then recovered quickly. The deprecation of third-party cookies is something that a lot of companies, including Criteo, have been preparing for for years. It’s time for the industry conversation to focus less on the negative – the so-called ‘death of the cookie’ – and concentrate more on the positive, privacy-first future of digital advertising. We’re working with our clients to help them leverage first-party data and explore different strategies to reach contextually addressable audiences. 

How do you want to position Criteo in the minds of UK marketers?

Right now, Criteo is in a state of transformation and growth – two of my favourite things. With clients looking for solutions and consumer demands increasing, Criteo is right at the heart of connecting all of these dots – it’s an exciting place to be. One of the things that attracted me to Criteo is the passion they hold for building their own tech as well as allowing employees to grow and work on new products. Using my experience in programmatic and brand advertising, I hope to position Criteo as the commerce platform of choice in the UK market.

Our commerce media platform has over 20,000 clients, more than 3500 different categories, 4 billion different products and over 650 million daily active users. In terms of the commerce data we have access to, we’re three times the size of Amazon. That data will be a huge asset for us as the market continues to move towards self-service, value and transparency. 

What, from your perspective, are the biggest issues facing your customer base over the next year?

We have a broad range of clients – retailers, agencies, publishers – with a variety of concerns, but I can see three key themes at the moment. The first is how to accurately forecast addressable and non-addressable audiences, so that marketers feel more comfortable moving to other ways of buying inventory. The second is the continuing trend towards in-housing various marketing functions, including areas traditionally handled by external partners, such as performance marketing and programmatic. The final trend I see at the moment is the desire for more responsible advertising, not just in terms of privacy-compliance, brand safety and viewability, but also in relation to the carbon footprint of any activity and making sure campaigns are reaching a diverse audience.