Marco Gomes the Boo Box Soul
Boo Box ads reach out 60% of all Internet users in Brazil
BY: Claudia Repsold Photos: Leo Neves
At the age of 11, he built a computer using discarded parts from old desktops and taught himself how to write codes. One year later, he was selling his services, as one of his small town’s few website developers, creating designs for all range of business. At the age of 27, he was named the winner of the World Technology Awards in the category of Marketing Communications hosted by the World Technology Network as part of the World Technology Summit in New York City.
This could be a story about Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg, however is not. This story is about a Brazilian geek named Marco Gomes. He is the entrepreneur behind Brazil’s first technology company to specialize in social media advertising.
Numbers never lie and Boo Box figure´s proves Mr. Gomes high achievements. Using accurate targeting and ground-breaking advertising formats, the company puts out a billion ads per month from clients like Google, Unilever, Ford and Microsoft. The ads reach 60 million Internet users in Brazil through an inventory of 430,000 blogs and sites, 22,000 profiles on Twitter, and a network of 60,000 affiliated publishers who create content on a daily basis. Boo Box claims to reach about six in 10 internet users in Brazil.
The international media have not been shy in recognize Boo Box innovative approach. The business and technology magazine, Fast Company, ranked Boo Box as the second-most innovative company in Brazil and 45th worldwide. In the same line, TechCrunch described them as "the Brazil's Web 2.0 Ad Network" and a Forbes poll found Boo Box to be one of the ten most creative companies in Brazil. The Financial Times dedicated two pages article on the 20-something Gomes´s biography.
The key to Boo Box success has been the technology it uses to target these customers: behavioral targeting. This tracks which of the company’s participating blogs and social media sites a user has visited. The company´s approaches focus on the internet user rather than the website itself. For example, if a fashion brand wants to advertise its new line, Boo Box would not simply publish the advert on a blog for fashion, but publish it for users whose browsing history indicates they might be looking for clothing.
The Brazilian advertising network exploded last year, quintupling the number of ads it placed to reach some 80% of its home country's web users. The key, says founder Marco Gomes, is creating novel ad formats "where people are already paying attention," such as in Twitter feeds or blog text.
On the capital side, Boo Box got a boost investment of undisclosed amount from the giant Intel Capital. However, the first investor to commit to Boo Box´s technology was Monashees; of Eric Acher, the guy many call the best local Web investor in Brazil. Boo Box does not disclose its profits. However in 2012, a market estimates that the company generated U$ 5 million (R$ 12 million) in revenues.
Nevertheless, as a son of a preacher getting rich is not Mr. Gomes priority. Instead, he sees his business as a way of doing good by providing Brazil’s bloggers and independent media websites with a sustainable funding model.
Bloggers rather than mainstream media have captured what was really going on in the streets of Brazil. Last year´s streets protest and this year presidential election proved the need for more independent journalism and indicated the public desire for autonomous media inlet. As Mr. Gomes likes to say, “From the very beginning, Boo Box was created to develop and finance independent media in Brazil”.
After beating out five other finalists from big-name companies like comScore or Google and winning at 2013 World Technology Awards in New York, Mr. Gomes shows a rare quality: he still humble guy, focus in live his dream and make it profitable to his investors.
Claudia Repsold is the Editor-in-Chief of Brazil & USA Biz. She is a Brazilian international award-winning journalist with twenty years of experience in editing, research, coordination, production and reporting news on Brazil and US