Transcript: Birth of an Ad Tech, with Search Marketing and Publishers In Mind

Ron Elwell, CEO:

So, the great thing about Swoop, and when we started thinking about how Swoop would work, it was really going back to the base of the two things that publishers care about. And those two things are, one, help users find the content, and B, make sure the experience is great.

So, the first, how do you get users to find your content? You write about what it is they’re looking for. You’re essentially embedding the search queries into the content that you write, because when the Google crawler crawls your site, that’s how you get listed in the SEO results, and that’s how people find you. So, having been a publisher, we know that in all that content, the trillions of pages of content, that are out there on the web, there’s search queries embedded in every single paragraph. There’s something in there that the Google crawler found that said, “If the person’s interested in this, this is the paragraph we direct them to.”

So what Swoop did is we looked at that and said, why don’t we just reverse engineer the process? Since we know those queries exist within the content, why don’t we create a search engine that teases those queries out, that we know the publishers embedded?

So the Swoop search engine works a lot differently than Google. What it does is crawl the site, and when it’s done, what we’re left with is the ten or twenty or thirty search queries on that page that the publisher has kind of put in there for us. And once you have that, you have the exact same thing that Google has. Google has a bunch of search queries, we have a bunch of search queries. We’re search queries, you can run search advertising.

Simeon Simeonov, CTO:

A few years ago, I was the founding CTO of Ghostery, which, the Ghostery community has this unparalleled view into how consumers engage with digital advertising. And at Ghostery I learned that search advertising is very frequently engages consumers a hundred times better than most other forms of digital advertising.

It’s such a big difference that I kind of became obsessed with understanding what drove that. And it turns out that search engine marketing works so well, not only because it captures the consumer’s search intent, but also because of a very complex suite of technologies and optimization techniques that Google and Bing use on search results pages that are really completely absent from websites and traditional advertising networks.

So the founding idea for Swoop was really based on a challenge: can you take this knowledge, can you take these patterns that are being applied to the search results page to make search engine marketing work so well, and create a search advertising network that’s programmatic, that’s scalable, that works on content anywhere?

It’s working out pretty well, Swoop is growing fast. There’s really three sustained drivers of why we get such high consumer engagement on the Swoop network, independent of publisher or advertiser.

The first one is that we target publisher content as precisely as Google AdWords. The second one is that we deliver the sponsored advertising messages in a manner that’s as flexible and as sensitive to user experience as you typically see on the search results page. And third, and very important, like Google, Swoop optimizes for the whole page, and not just for a single ad slot.

With several years of data running from advertisers from AMEX to General Motors to Merck, we now know beyond any doubt that the Swoop network converts at a rate and cost that’s very comparable to AdWords. So in fact the hypothesis turns out to be true: if you apply the same patterns and innovations that are being used on the search results page to other forms of content, then it will perform as reliably and as scalably as you expect to see in search engine marketing.