The capability to monitor your online behavior and target you with ads that are tailored to your specific interests is increasingly pervasive, akin to the rise of Big Brother. The smartest way to profit from this unstoppable trend is to pinpoint the little-known pioneers that are on the ground floor.

That's why Criteo(CRTO) - Get Report  is a good buy. Criteo has a lock on proprietary ad-retargeting technology that works on any platform, whether it's a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This technology is already revolutionizing your daily life, from the way you view online advertising to the way you shop. Shares of the Paris-based company rose slightly in Thursday trading.

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If it all sounds like science fiction, we assure you that it's not. Some of the world's largest and most powerful companies have deployed an invisible surveillance technology on your computer that increases online ad clicks by several hundredfold. It's probably watching your behavior now, keystroke by keystroke. This capability can re-target online ads with uncanny precision, based on your buying habits, online surfing history, demographic profile, and expressed interests.

However, this technology doesn't just represent a new way for giants such as Facebook, Verizon, and Alphabet's Google to boost revenue; rather, it's a paradigm shift that will forever transform how companies conduct business online.

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Founded in 2005, Criteo controls this ad-retargeting capability, and it's poised for market-beating gains this year. When a disruptive technology like ad targeting is increasingly adopted by corporate behemoths and industry bellwethers, it's time to start investing in the entrepreneurial companies that dominate this emerging know-how. Criteo is one of them.

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The move from traditional display ads to programmatic ads is lifting the prospects of companies that sell retargeting products. Criteo is the market leader in retargeting technology and its products are used by some of the biggest ad publishers, including Google and Facebook. Now that Verizon has gobbled up Yahoo!, expect this combined telecom/social media entity to increasingly deploy Criteo technology, as well.

With a market cap of $2.46 billion and based in Paris, France,

Criteo has a market cap of $2.46 billion. It produces what it calls "search engine solutions" for ad retargeting. These solutions include:

  • recommended algorithms that create and tailor advertisements to customized user interest by determining the specific products and services to include in the advertisement
  • prediction algorithms that assess the likelihood and nature of a user's engagement with any given advertisement
  • a bidding engine for initiating campaigns based on goals set by the clients.

Criteo's stock trades at a reasonable trailing 12-month price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 36.08, cheap compared to the trailing P/Es of most of its peers. The industry of Internet and software services sports an astronomical P/E of 333.60.

Unlike many Internet "stars" that eventually crash, Criteo boasts a solid balance sheet as well as earnings growth momentum. Earnings per share (EPS) for fiscal 2016 is expected to come in at $1.76, compared to $1.05 in 2015. Criteo's shares are trading slightly above $40.00. The average analyst estimate for a one-year price target is $51.41, for a gain of nearly 29%.

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John Persinos is an editorial manager and investment analyst at Investing Daily. At the time of publication, Persinos held stock in Verizon. He appears as a frequent commentator on the financial television show "Small Cap Nation." Follow him on Twitter.