data enablers

Captify And Getting Smart About Search

In the era of where “Google it” is the answer to all question big and small, the power of search and the insights one can draw from it cannot be overlooked. Most everyone remembers the time when Google was able to predict a flu outbreak more efficiently than the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

But leveraging search results, particularly for retailers, requires more than just access to the data — it also requires a reasonably good ability to parse what it means and draw actionable insights from it.

Which is where Captify comes into the story, since the firm’s reason for being is to help unlock search results for its retail clients so that said clients can react to 1.5 billion users worth of search data in real time.

“In the war for the coveted consumer dollar, brands need a deeper understanding of the intent, interests and motivations of consumers who shop online. Analyzing billions of search as consumers navigate across the web allows us to build a real picture of consumers’ intent and interests around products, brands their competitors or seasonal shopping trends,” Captify CEO Dominic Joseph told PYMNTS in a recent interview.

Founded in 2011, Captify, like many of the firms we profile, was created to solve a problem — Google was destroying the traditional advertising industry.

“Ultimately we came to the conclusion that the industry needed a product that was set to rival Google, with a strong differentiator — basically bringing exclusive search data together with sophisticated semantic technology to make sense of this data and help brands extract value from this search intelligence. Thus Captify was born,” said Joseph.

What brands lacked, noted Joseph, was actual insights to inform their campaigns and media spend. They also lacked an easy tool to get them to insights. There were tech solutions out there, Joseph noted, but none that was good enough or went deep enough - and they really didn’t offer much in the way of meaningful insight.

Captify, by casting a wide net and sinking it deep, could simply do it better, according to their CEO.

“2016 was our proudest moment. Moving into the U.S. and winning some of the world’s biggest advertisers has contributed to our growth of over 170 percent,” said Joseph. “Also, over the past five years, our data network has expanded globally to become one of the largest holders of consumer search data and behavior. Captify’s unique approach to search intelligence has changed the way brands demand insights today — panel data has finally become archaic, as more and more retailers are relying on real, actionable and emotional insights.”

So where does Captify go from here?

Their CEO said the only place to go is “the next level,” which means applying search intelligence where it hasn't been used before — TV, social media and virtual reality.

“Our constant goal is to be always evolving and enhancing the Captify product to stay ahead of the latest technology. Additionally we’re looking to meet our demand head on by growing across international markets.”

The work isn’t easy — smarter searching has become a more competitive environment in the last year — and Captify has what its founder has described as a “unique culture” that is more challenging to retain the larger and more global the firm becomes.

“When we first launched, it was just myself and Adam along with three employees, all of whom I’m proud to say are still with the company today. Now we have over 140 employees, with a five-year retention rate of 98 percent. We’re planning to rapidly grow this number over the next year,” Joseph noted of an working environment that he described as “fun, hardworking, collaborative, where everyone has a voice.”

“We don’t want to be like other large faceless companies. We put our people first, and work hard to break down the barriers that too often exist within a global business. Communication is key for our teams, something we celebrate with frequent company trips overseas to connect teams, a group Whatsapp account for social connections and Slack instead of email.”

Joseph said that from their earlier, and smallest, days, the firm has operated on a single idea: Good things will happen if you surround yourself with good people.

As long as you can remember to listen to their ideas.

“We’re not afraid of good ideas — even if they come from the intern.”



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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