Taboola and Outbrain Are One

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Image credit: Noam Galai

I feel like we’ve been waiting 12 years for this moment. 

I don’t have a speech, so I’m going to mainly speak from my heart. I’m incredibly excited to share the news that today, Taboola and Outbrain are merging into one.

We started this journey to help consumers discover what’s interesting and new–things they may like and never knew existed. We built a business and platform that is very partner-first, where our future was dependent on the growth of our publisher partners, and our ability to attract advertisers (small businesses, and big brands) to our platform, to journalism, and to the open web. 

This merger gives us a better chance at fighting Facebook, Google and Amazon, by hopefully attracting more advertisers to the open web, by giving them the opportunity to reach nearly 2 billion people every month. We have tens of thousands of advertisers, Google and Facebook together have over 10 million. Facebook and Google together generate about $200B in revenue, we together will generate about $2B. 

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re in a better position to give our competition a shot. And if we succeed, everybody wins. 

Why now? 

As we were getting close to signing our agreement, I took a moment to ask myself, ‘why now?’ And I think there are two reasons it happened now. 

The first one relates to us being human, and perhaps we needed many years of getting together, talking about life,and then usually spending a minute at the end asking “should we merge?” (and never do it). To eventually do it. We would talk about personal things, and share our experiences living in NY as Israelis. 

The last time Yaron and I met, I asked him if his kids speak hebrew, and he said yes, all three of them. I asked him how he raised them bilingual, as we were just expecting our baby princess (Elinor, she is now three weeks old and so tiny, and beautiful). He told me how he did it, and how he motivated them to use messaging in hebrew, and about their trips to Israel, etc. 

These conversations had nothing to do with CPMs, or user acquisition costs, but it had a lot to do with small incremental (human) steps towards getting to know one another, and trusting each other. We also included more people in the process, such as David Kostman co-CEO at Outbrain, Eldad Maniv, our President & COO, Asaf Porat their Head of Operations, Tom Inbal, our head of strategy, our friends from Meitar, and others. And it helped. 

The second reason was that the timing couldn’t have been more relevant. I just spoke on Squawk Box in July, and this morning, about how I feel the world is vulnerable in the wake of Facebook and Google becoming strong, and perhaps too strong. Advertisers want choice, more transparency, less dependency. Users are thinking about privacy, not only lawyers. And Publishers want to grow loyal relationships with users, and capitalize on that growth, finding ways to generate exciting revenue. 

The world needs help, it’s hurting, and we depend on less than five companies to keep the lights on for a big ecosystem out there. I think the challenge when you’re a strong consumer company, owning direct relationships with users, is that if given a choice to choose between yourself to a world of partners out there (publishers, carriers, oems, businesses, etc)–you might just choose you. 

Avengers assemble. 

Whether you’re a Marvel person or a DC person, and whether you grew up on Thundercats, Star Wars or on Transformers–you’ve seen it before. It is that episode where two rivals come together because there is a greater good, and this was one of them for Outbrain and Taboola. 

Yaron and Ori started Outbrain as a text-based article recommendation platform, and a year afterwards, I started Taboola as a video recommendation platform. We then spent a decade being fortunate enough to have amazing people, investors and partners come on board to build that journey together, and it’s nearly a dream to think today has happened. 

To have a true chance at realizing our shared vision–to fight the duopoly, innovate faster, and to support advertisers and publishers in surviving and thriving, we will move forward as one and focus on driving growth.

Our goal is to accelerate innovation across all product lines, and provide better solutions to all our partners and customers.

What should advertisers and publishers expect?

If you’re an advertiser, we’ll have more reach for you, we will help you drive more growth, and we’ll innovate faster and better to provide new features for you to try. Commerce, app-installs, more video, and more. 

If you’re a publisher/OEM/Carrier, you’ll generate more revenue as we attract more and more advertisers to our marketplace, and spend more time and energy on our AI. It’s the dynamics of all healthy marketplaces. More demand drives better yields. We’ll innovate more on our platform as a whole–more editorial platforms, more analytics and insights, more audience acquisition capabilities, and more. 

I told the Wall Street Journal today that I believe that if we do a good job, bringing a lot more advertisers into our marketplace, we’ll be able to double and triple the revenue that publishers generate with our new and merged company. I feel strongly about it. 

These are times when publishers need more help, more revenue, more audience, more partnership. Not less. If you’re not sure I’m right, read the news. 

Thank you and in a word, I’m really-really-really-excited 

This is an exciting and transformative event for our employees, our shareholders, thousands of businesses out there and billions of people. 

We’re doing it together, and whether your email ends with outbrain.com, or taboola.com–I could not be more thankful for everybody working so hard, pushing, bringing their energy to work every day to allow us to be where we are today.

I guess I still have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself that all of this is real, and that dreams can come true. 

I look forward to all that’s coming. It’s only the beginning… 

#NoRoomForSmallDreams.

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