Exclusive: Captify Global CEO On Whether The Firm Has Conquered The Cookieless Conundrum

Exclusive: Captify Global CEO On Whether The Firm Has Conquered The Cookieless Conundrum

Mike Welch, Captify’s global CEO jetted into Sydney last month for an exclusive chat with B&T to discuss why he feels the market is missing its service as a long-term solution to the deprecation of third-party cookies.

Lead image: Mike Welch, CEO, Captify.

“Two-thirds of our business is conducted programmatically. We attach our data to inventory and surface that as a deal ID that can be purchased through any demand-side platform (DSP),” explained Welch.

“The majority of the business here in Australia is programmatic, over 50 per cent of the US and upwards of 80 per cent in the UK is programmatic. People don’t always put us into that programmatic bucket.”

Captify’s products, whether traded programmatically or not, gather up search intent data from the open web, with Welch claiming that “outside of the walled gardens, we’ve got more search data than anybody.” That data is not only highly valuable, said Welch but more revelatory than other forms of customer insight data.

Referring to Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s 2017 book Everybody Lies, Welch explained that surveys don’t paint an accurate picture.

“He found that how people respond to surveys, what they say to friends, family and colleagues, it’s essentially all lies. What you search for is an indicator of what you’re thinking and your intent,” he explained.

“That’s the type of data that we use to create audiences and power our solutions to find audiences in the open web. No one else does that, other companies use first- or third-party data to create audiences and target those audiences but it’s not based in search intent.”

The velocity with which Captify produces also makes it stand apart from other potential rivals. Welch said that its insights change and update every five minutes, picking up quick quickly shifting sentiments.

But does that mean that any other kind of audience insight data is, effectively, useless?

“Traditional third-party demographic data is a little bit over 50 per cent accurate. Which essentially means that you’re flipping a coin on whether you’re targeting a man or a woman — that’s crazy,” he said.

“To some extent, it is bunk. Think about surveys, questionnaires or even focus groups, you say something based on social pressure and how you want people to think you are. But when you get behind the search bar, you’re telling the truth.”

The adtech world is possibly its greatest transitional moment thus far. We’re finally approaching the end, or at least the start of the end, of the third-party cookie. The Privacy Act is also in the midst of being reworked — with the potential for some drastic impacts for the online ad market. However, neither of these are particularly concerning for Welch.

“We actually perform better, believe it or not. We found that cookieless gives us some more reach and it performs better than the cookie-based solutions. It’s a good position to be in,” he said.

“It’s been a unique selling proposition and as soon as it’s going to be mandatory, we’ll be in a good spot compared to others who are catching up.”

He has also noticed an uptick in interest from potential clients “particularly in the last quarter” looking for a solution that allows them to find audiences without relying on the cookie.

“Marketers and agencies are almost surprised again that they have to deal with cookieless again,” added Krish Raja, Captify’s Australian managing director.

“We’re re-entering the same conversation we launched two years ago. The thing we say now, is that in order to stand a new mechanic or product mechanic like cookieless up, you need to have tenure in the game and have had time for your machine learning to actually learn. We have that.”

Welch’s assertions on the Privacy Act make for confident reading, too. While some Australian marketers might be running in fear of the potentially upending legislation, for Welch it’s just another day at the office.

“Is it a threat? No. Do we have general awareness of it? Yes. But we’ve lived through this in the US and the UK and we always tend to be able to adapt and adjust to whatever regulations may come,” he said.

“The mechanics of connecting data points via language and words, instead of identifiers was always our solution,” added Raja.

“When cookieless came, it was the same time we decided to launch into three new markets. That wasn’t a coincidence.”

What is new for Captify, on the other hand, is Connected TV (CTV). It’s no secret that the market in Australia is growing with a rapacious speed. Every day, new measurement solutions and players are entering the market. But analysing and matching online search data — whether within a walled garden or not — and finding CTV audiences are quite different skills.

“You need to have a solution for that market if you want to be relevant,” said Welch.




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