What is a Discovery Platform?

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You often go online to find something: a product, service, news update, video—the list is long…

On the other hand, you probably go online to explore too. Or you go online to find something, then find yourself enjoying the environment you’re in, and you switch to “explore” mode. The discoverer in you steps forward. It’s not a conscious decision. It simply happens.

We are all explorers.

We thrive on discovering what’s new, or at least, what’s new to us. Here’s how it works on a news site. In fact, it just happened to me.

I went to The Weather Channel’s site to learn more about when (or if) this wicked winter weather of 2019 might subside. Tornado threats… heavy snow… coldest outbreak in years… I wasn’t thrilled about what I gathered, but got what I came for.

And then came the temptation to watch, read, and explore some more. I couldn’t resist clicking through to a trending story featuring a video where a big dog digs a path in the snow to help a puppy back to safety. (I can explore awesome dog videos all day.)

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Then I find this: a series of interesting teasers, some of which are clearly placed there to expand on the topic of extreme winter weather. These are recommendations to explore more stories from The Weather Channel, which of course, aim to extend my visit to the site.

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Then I see a photo gallery (what a rich site we have here). And then… subtle though it may be, more stories labeled “Sponsored Content.” The content is about a variety of topics, some seemingly more product or service-based, some not. Interestingly, there does appear to be an inkling of content about stuff I’ve recently researched or read.

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This is a discovery platform

These content suggestions I speak of come from Taboola, a discovery platform.

Wait, what’s a discovery platform? Isn’t THIS a discovery platform?

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Obviously, this—a service you know well—is usually described as a search engine. Enter a word or phrase and hit return (or click the first button) and thanks to a very sophisticated algorithm you’ll likely be served something very close to what you were looking for.

But you might steer your cursor or finger to the bottom right and click, “I’m Feeling Lucky.” If you don’t, you’ll be amongst the 99-plus percent that ignores this option. But if you do, you’ll play a game of content roulette where the ball could land on any topic. I just tried it for the first time in my 20+ years of using Google. It served me a page about Kiyomizu-dera, an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto

By no means do I mean to say that’s not an interesting topic. However, I will say it’s not relevant to anything I have going on right now.

So then there’s what’s called a discovery platform, an intelligent system designed to help people explore what’s interesting and serve branded content the moment the audience is most receptive.

We’ve given it a name…

“The moment of next”

As you’ve no doubt gathered, we’re talking about reaching the viewer when they’re open to exploring new things. In this moment, the user has completed consuming an article, or some form of content, and deciding what to do next. The user might be taking a break from work and looking for new and interesting content to read, watch and share.

In this moment, people are open to learning. Given the complexity of the content landscape today, all kinds of messages from brands can be as enticing as editorial content.

An interesting challenge comes to bear in this moment…

How does the publisher show the guest content they’ll actually care about? The answer is simple enough: you need to present relevant stories. The moment of next can easily bomb when it’s generic but likely to create opportunities when content is relevant, timely and interesting enough to ignite the viewer’s curiosity.

The real question here is: can a publisher and/or advertiser offer something there and then that has the potential to enrich the viewer’s life in some way?

Technology makes it possible

Taboola is, and always has been, a technology created to help people discover new and interesting content, brands, product and services.

We’re dedicated to exploring ways to progress down that path for the publishers and advertisers we serve. Today we offer a deep learning algorithm powered by the largest dataset of content consumption behavior across the open web. Its purpose is to enable our wide-reaching platform to distribute the most relevant possible content to people in the moment they’re most receptive to new things.

We believe our unique discovery platform serves many because:

  • Advertisers reach their target audience when they’re most receptive to new messages.
  • Publishers in the digital space drive more engagement and perpetually monetize their properties.
  • Consumers discover content they find interesting.

Ultimately, and in a nutshell, our mission is reflected in the final point above. We want the discovery of what’s interesting and new be a part of everyone’s life.

It’s good for everybody.