Search intelligence platform Captify has announced that former executive vice president and general manager of Xandr Mike Welch will take the reins at Captify as CEO, succeeding co-founder Dominic Joseph, who will remain on the board of directors.
The appointment cements the concept of search and connected television (CTV) as a strong advertising strategy.
Welch, in his previous role as executive vice president and general manager of Xandr, was responsible for leading all aspects of the business globally.
Prior to joining Xandr, he spent two decades working in advertising-focused roles at AT&T including product, sales, corporate strategy, and business development, including leading the sale process that resulted in Xandr’s acquisition by Microsoft last year.
Welch was previously chairman of the Board of Directors for INVIDI Technologies and served on the Board of the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
With the completion of the Xandr acquisition and integration into Microsoft’s technology, Welch took the opportunity to join Captify.
“I saw the demand for Captify search intent data, and the client’s satisfaction and renewal rate of campaigns,” he said. “The culture also appealed to me. When you meet the people who work at Captify, their passion is infectious.”
He said the “pivot to cookieless looks like it’s really happening, because it looks like Google will stick to the schedule of deprecating third-party cookies in the second half of next year, with 1% of inventory being walled off for testing.”
The connected television (CTV) products launched last year, but addressable and data-driven linear television products were announced several months ago.
Captify’s cookieless video products that launched focused on CTV and linear, which are opportunities for growth. The company’s business is built on ad technology platforms like Xandr, as well as others such as Pubmatic, and The Trade Desk.
“There’s no better predictor than search when it comes to consumer intent,” he said.
As CEO, Welch hopes to step in, expand the reach of search intent data, and focus on scale and growth for the top and bottom lines. And do it across desktop, mobile and television. Sometimes it takes an outsider, he said.
Search intent is getting interesting, he said, adding that the industry “went from keywords to full sentences and paragraphs to really understand the intent of the search.”
The changes made by Google and Microsoft in search, the movement from traditional to conversational, creates opportunities for Captify to expand outside historic methods to build stronger intent models.
Welch was always interested in media, but not advertising. He had an ambition to become a sportscaster. “We had a television studio in our high school, a news and sport show,” he said. “I was the sports guy. I went to school to focus on a communications degree, and ended up with a business minor, and chose to focus on that instead.”
Now, as an industry vet, Welch pointed to one technology missing from the industry—a lack of true cross-screen targeting and measurement, including linear. Neilson has played a part of that in recent years, with a few alternate solutions surfacing, but Captify also is working on the transition.
When asked to cite the best business advice received during his years in media, Welch pointed to Ray Wilkins, AT&T CEO of the Diversified Business Group. He told him, “You have permission to win alone, but you don’t have permission to lose alone.” A phrase he uses often. “Don’t feel if you need help you cannot ask for it,” he said.