When I first met with Jon Steinberg, we had a meaningful disagreement. But much like in life, that disagreement has evolved into an especially strong partnership (and friendship).
I was already impressed by Jon’s previous work at BuzzFeed where he became known as the “Godfather of Native,” monetizing BuzzFeed without a single banner ad ever shown. Asking him questions over the past few months about what works and what might be broken around Native, I joked that his direct answers made me feel like he is “half Israeli” — transparent, and to the point.
As we talked about the rapid changes sweeping through the web, and his current role as CEO of Daily Mail North America, it became apparent that the category Jon helped pioneer years ago was ready for another revolution, and a big one.
We experimented with a new expansion of our Discovery platform as a test on DailyMail.com (announced today as “Taboola Native”). The following Saturday night, Jon called me to say that what was supposed to take weeks, took only a few days, and their native campaigns were already depleted. I loved that — days versus weeks — and it proved that we were onto something huge. Combining storytelling with algorithms, driving real scale and ROI for brands.
“Taboola Native” is our version of “DoubleClick” for native, free for everybody, enabling publishers to sell both on-site and off-site campaigns directly into premium placements on their site, such as mid-article and across homepages and section fronts. Drawing on Taboola’s network of high-quality backfill content, those placements can also satisfy any unsold inventory and guarantee a 100% fill rate.
As industry analysts talk more and more about native advertising, especially as monetization on mobile becomes the main priority for media companies, we think this is a massive opportunity for both publishers and marketers to realize the category’s full potential. Think of all the sponsored stories that appear on your Facebook or Twitter feeds, displaying branded content from all around the web. It’s time we make it possible to move those Facebook campaigns onto our publisher partners, directly-sold, premium-priced, and powered by strong personalization technology.
Brands are quickly becoming sophisticated storytellers, hard at work creating videos hosted on their YouTube channel, social pages promoting their various products, company blogs and microsites filled with informative content, and more. Publishers can now take a page from Facebook’s playbook and leverage their own brand, engaged users, and data to promote branded content and generate meaningful revenue while doing it.
I look forward to working with Jon and his team on rolling out these exciting new capabilities, and revolutionizing the online media space once again.
To learn more about our partnership with Daily Mail, check out the full press release here.