Social integration to mine data on the web for companies is paramount. There is a need to make social media a better usage tool for enterprises. QSearch is a Taiwanese company that can help here by providing a search tool for Facebook. The consumer end of the business is free and will likely continue to be so in the immediate future.
QSearch was the winner at the Taiwan Satellite of Echelon 2014.
For businesses, however, QSearch sells its service as a tool to improve Click Through Rate (CTR) for Facebook advertisements. It claims to have a 7.35 per cent CTR average, well above the norm for online advertising. What QSearch does is simple: It offers business owners increased effectiveness with their brand messages with a Google AdWord stylised targeting service.
How does it work? By using social networks to understand consumers better. If someone talks about video games a lot on social networks, he or she would be a regular target for companies like Nintendo or Ubisoft. QSearch uses keywords to find the relevant audience for a product.
How did it all start?
QSearch was launched a year and a half ago by Elliot Chou, who now serves as the sole Founder and CEO of the business. Elliot, only 24, single-handedly developed the algorithm that makes the open source search engine useful. He is a graduate from National Taiwan University, and is currently set on completing his Masters. He has also participated in a Facebook Hackathon previously.
The firm, as with most startups, has a unique story. There are currently five individuals on the team, and they are mostly friends of Elliot. They met at a co-working space that does not exist anymore. The idea began as part of Elliot’s academic research; he felt that technology could be used to improve the current situation of advertising.
Asia and Latin America on the radar
The social media industry is estimated to grow from US$6 billion to US$11 billion in the next four years, according to Social Media Today and QSearch wants to take advantage of it. Within the first four months of its incorporation, the business has gone from US$215.87 (NT 6500) to US$8303 (NT 250000), indicating both, customer growth and revenue model are sound.
Regarding expansion plans, the team currently is set to offer services in Asia and Latin America. However, these are highly fragmented markets, so they are likely to implement a ‘Authorized Dealer’ model or ‘Country Manager’ model to expand. When asked about specifics, Roger Do, Business Mentor, QSearch shared that they are starting with Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina and Brazil.
Some of the plans for the business includes a possible Twitter integration. Facebook, which is currently integrated with, is data rich. However, Twitter treats Big Data in a different way — instead of focusing on target people like Facebook, Twitter focuses on target content.
Google has experienced more success with its advertising model because of superior CTR and the fact that its proprietary algorithm can predict what you would search next on its engine. QSearch thinks that search plus social is the holy grail, setting itself up to be the Google solution for Facebook.
Do gave a metaphor of Facebook being the heart of the internet experience and Google being the brain. QSearch aims to be the bodily awareness of an abstract pattern. If Newton understood gravity because an apple hit him on the head, QSearch is the experience of the head knocking.
In conclusion, Do commented on the team’s experience at Echelon, “It was professionally run, helping startup teams focus their mind and gain international experience.” However, he thinks that half of the teams make their objective to win, instead of trying to gain funding. “It was a great feeling to win the competition (Taiwan Satellite), but it was not what we were there for,” said Do.
Echelon 2014 is a two-day Startup, Technology and Business event where Asia’s most innovative startups, early-stage investors and tech industry leaders as well as tech media, gather to celebrate and build Asia’s growing tech industry, as well as make valuable relationships.