Taboola Buys Commerce Sciences, Giving Publishers the Same Insights eCommerce has on Shoppers
Thursday January 5th || by Adam Singolda
I’m very excited to share our acquisition of Commerce Sciences, a pioneer in web personalization and on-site optimization. Commerce Sciences spent five years actually focusing on the commerce industry, helping ecommerce sites customize the entire site experience in real time based on variants they’ve created with the platform. When I first met Aviv Revach and Eyal Brosh, the founders of Commerce Sciences, they shared with me their frustration that while big commerce sites had internal personalization technology they developed, many ecommerce websites still offer the exact same experience for every visitor/shopper. Their vision was to revolutionize the online experience by enabling ecommerce websites to engage with each visitor in a truly personalized manner.
Taking a step back.
I started Taboola nearly 10 years ago to connect people with information they may like and never knew existed, believing that the future will be completely personalized, building a category acting as a search engine but in reverse — instead of expecting people to type keywords into a search box, having the right information find us at the right time.
We all have had that moment when we discovered something for the first time – that song, movie or a product. However, over time – the list of things we want to do is growing, but we only have 24 hours in a day (and that won’t change).
This personalization mission has two parts to it, the first was to predict the right information people may like, which we’ve spent nearly 10 years doing. The second part is to personalize the way those pages are rendered to users once they see them — which buttons appear where, which elements on the page appear and which are hidden, and more. As an analogy, discovering you like Orange Is The New Black and Breaking Bad is the first part — and the second is understanding which you like to watch first. Perhaps you binge watch Orange is the New Black on Saturdays and watch one or two episodes of Breaking Bad each night of the week.
Looking at the open web and how publishers have operated in the past 15-20 years, there is a distinct difference between how content-based publishers operate to how retail/commerce websites operate. Publishers typically have one big redesign a year when decisions are made about where various modules need to be on the page, and most KPIs are optimized on the User Visit level.
Retail/commerce websites act differently — they have many variants (often times hundreds or more) running in parallel so different users see different versions of their online shops, and their optimization is lifetime driven. These ecommerce sites are looking at the entire opportunity each customer brings to their business over the lifetime of that user, rather than per visit.
Today, we’re announcing our intention to bring that capability to the open web, democratizing personalization for every publisher on the world wide web, at no charge.
Imagine if the smallest publisher – a newspaper in the midwest – can now know as much about its readers as Amazon and eBay know about their shoppers.
As part of our Discovery Platform strategy, where we already provide editors/writers with Taboola Newsroom, sales people with Taboola Native, going forward – product teams will be able to define KPIs, create customized web experiences, run multiple A/B tests and decide what are the tradeoffs they want to make to achieve those goals. It’s called Commerce “Sciences” for a reason — all those tiny tests publishers will now be able to do, will be applying science of optimization to a publisher site.
Especially in times where publishers are looking into deepening the relationship with their readers, it has never been more important to learn how to get readers to engage with content, to subscribe to newsletters, and think of innovative ways to monetize beyond “the visit”, taking into account the lifetime value of a loyal reader. Fighting for users attention is becoming a real challenge and it’s key to empower publishers with the capabilities to iterate in real time and a/b test everything publishers define as important to have a far better ability to compete and win the users they deserve.
We launched a related initiative about a year ago on a smaller scale, called Full Page Personalization, where we shared specific user segments according to which publishers could optimize the page experience. Now together with Taboola and the Commerce Sciences team and technology, publishers will have access to a robust platform to fully customize their website, driving a personalized experience for each visitor, driving audience, engagement and monetization growth.
I’m thrilled to welcome Aviv, Eyal and the rest of the talented Commerce Sciences team to Taboola. With the combined efforts of our accomplished teams along with the technology that Commerce Science has pioneered, we have a clear path to unlocking the potential of a ‘Web of One’, tailored to each and every one of us based on our interests and the context in which we are consuming content.
Commerce sites leverage 364 days of learning into one Black Friday, It’s time publishers had the same.
Wishing us all to be connected with information we may like and never knew existed.