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Toronto’s SiteScout sails into international waters

SiteScout founder Paul Mokbel began to write the code that would become the company on a boat anchored off the coast of Colombia.

You have to admire the filmic lore of Toronto’s SiteScout, which has evolved from two employees floating on a sailboat in the southeastern Caribbean to more than 20 people ensconced in their current downtown Toronto headquarters.

The founders of SiteScout took the “necessity is the mother of invention” route towards its IP. As traditional media buyers, they were unhappy with the limits of then-current offerings, and set about designing a data-driven ad serving platform for smaller businesses.

SiteScout’s service offers users an analytic profile of the effectiveness of an ad-buying campaign, allowing management of real-time bids, geographically specific advertising and retargeting. The challenge for internet advertisers in funneling consumers to engage with their product has been relatively hit-and-miss until recently, with the emergence of ad buying exchanges (most famously Facebook’s) as well as various supply-side data management platforms like Google, Rubicon, Admeld, Pubmatic, and OpenX, amongst many others.

SiteScout’s ad buying platform manages over 12 billion impressions per day, achieving 1 millisecond response times, which enables its customers to reliably target online consumers in real time. When you visit a website that happens to be a SiteScout client, the cookie stored on your browser attributes your cookie ID to an audience list. SiteScout’s software can then see your ID in its customers’ bid requests, seeking to match you with a prospective advertiser. A campaign can focus on ever more esoteric information contained in these audience lists, such as location, or targeting specific demographics such as college students, whatever specifics it can glean.

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