Ran Buck Taboola

Ran Buck – VP APAC, Taboola – Exclusive Interview about Video Industry

Tell me something about your Company Taboola?

You’ve probably seen us all over the web: After you read an article or watch a video, you usually see a set of personalized recommendations ( “You May Like,” “From The Web,” etc.) with content that you might be interested in checking out. That’s us, and we call this new space “discovery” because it’s about enabling consumers to find the new information they may like or find valuable but never knew existed. It functions as a “search engine in reverse.”

Over the last eight years, we’ve evolved into a truly global company that works with some of the world’s top publishers, including MSN, AOL, Huffington Post, USA Today, Bloomberg, and more. Every month, Taboola serves 300 billion recommendations to over 750 million unique users, in 50+ markets around the world, spanning over a dozen different languages.

Leading marketers and media companies including American Express, the New York Times, Netflix, Toyota, and much more. Work with us because we provide a new way to reach massive audiences across the web, at a precious moment when users are engaged and open to discovering something new. Our marketing partners use Taboola to achieve business goals across all parts of the funnel, driving awareness, consideration, lead-gen, sales, and loyalty.

Tell me about Video Advertising and Marketing Industry?

Video is, of course, a significant opportunity for both publishers and marketers in the digital media space. Taboola’s internal have found that half of US iPhone subscribers watch videos at least once a month on their phones, which is a considerable increase from 23% in late 2009. Countless industry studies also show that cross-platform video consumption is steadily growing.

People seem to be creating more content than ever before, and the number of digital formats available can be overwhelming: text, video, slideshows, infographics, quizzes, the list goes on. Although content marketing helps cut through the clutter, the format you choose plays a significant role in whether or not that piece of content resonates with your target audience.

We’ve found that video can create a stronger, empathetic connection with audiences, with studies showing that watching video enables us to experience the behaviours and sensations of people on-screen (via the “mirror neuron mechanism”). This neurological activity makes the spectator much more emotionally involved in a way that text alone cannot replicate.

What is Taboola Success Model?

Taboola’s R&D team has spent 8+ years developing the world’s leading predictive technology. Acting as a “search engine in reverse,” Taboola analyses hundreds of real-time signals (including device type, geography, social media trends, and more) to connect people with the top handful of items they might be interested in consuming next. Instead of people typing keywords into a search box to actively find information, we Taboola to help relevant details see people at the right time and place.

We work with thousands of publishers around the world — including USA Today, NBC News, The Weather Channel, Daily Mail, Business Insider, NDTV, The Independent, and others — around three primary areas of focus:

Engagement: Publishers leverage Taboola’s predictive technology to surface more of their editorial content that users may like, keeping readers on-site for more extended periods of time and improving overall levels of engagement.

Revenue: Taboola’s platform includes the world’s largest sponsored content marketplace, and our predictive technology recommends relevant items to users on top sites across the web. Every time a user clicks on a “promoted” item, we get paid a small amount and share that revenue with publishers. This model has been growing very fast, and we now pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year to publishers, becoming one of the top three revenue sources for many of our partners.

Audience: Publishers also use Taboola to build their audience and brand by promoting their content on other sites across our platform. Many of our publisher partners do this by “re-investing” a portion of the revenue they generate from Taboola. Our platform now reaches over 750 million unique users every month, so we have meaningful scale to offer publishers.

Tell me something about your Taboola Products and platform concerning Video Industry?

Taboola’s technological roots are deeply intertwined with online video, as our platform started with video recommendations, before expanding into all kinds of relevant information, including articles, slideshows, apps, products, services, and more. We made video our priority not only because our team was interested in the technical challenge, but also because we recognised that the format will become increasingly important in a web that is driven mostly by mobile devices.

What are the Latest Video Ad Products from Taboola that can help users and brands?

As video becomes a priority for many of our publisher partners, our Audience Exchange architecture enables editorial and business teams to index and recommend the highest-value video pages across their site as well as partner sites. For example, CNBC might use our platform to recommend relevant finance videos to someone reading an article on the business section of NBCNews.com.

We also work with our marketing partners on analysing the “post-click” performance of any videos they recommend across Taboola. That means that we can analyse how long a user spent watching the video, as well as whether that user eventually clicked through to the advertisers’ website to learn more about a product or service. Using next-level analytics, many of our partners able to assign an ROI to their content marketing efforts and more efficiently scale up further campaigns.

How Upcoming Users/Brands can benefit by using your products?

Content marketing, and content discovery correctly has gained popularity in recent years because it allows brands to speak to a broad audience that may not have found them otherwise. Content marketing has been especially crucial for emerging startups that have an innovative new product offering which consumers might not be aware of.

Direct-to-consumer marketers such as Plated, Blue Apron, Casper, and many others have built their entire businesses using discovery and social channels, promoting their company story through compelling content and landing pages. These are the business that could never have scaled through search marketing since consumers didn’t yet know that such a product or service existed.

College Offering Online MBAs

Situation: Our partner was promoting a series of articles around GRE test preparation and applying for MBA programs, encouraging users to download one of their course catalogues. Although the content was informative, most of the visitors were already in the process of applying for traditional college programs, and not necessarily online options.

Solution: Introduce several new articles that focused on assisting people with making educational decisions, particularly around online study options. These included: “5 Things to Consider When Looking for an MBA Program,” “Why Getting an MBA is Now Simpler Than Ever,” and “How to Choose the Online MBA Program That’s Right for You.”

Result: Users who reached these new pieces were much earlier in their decision-making process, and therefore interested in hearing about online course options. Catalog downloads increased significantly.

Personal Investment Services Provider

Situation: Promoting an article about how the rich and famous invest, our partner was driving lead generation for its investment services. Though the article generated ample leads, those new prospects were not converting into sales.

Solution: Featuring stories about celebrities attracted an aspirational audience, and although these visitors were interested in investing, they were not able to afford the minimum deposits required by the service. The solution was to create a more “high-end” content piece that took a more advanced, educational approach, that would speak to a more affluent audience.

Result: The amount of leads decreased overall, but the leads received converted into sales well within the client’s goals.

E-commerce Site Selling Jewelry

Situation: Our partner was looking to drive necklace sales in the weeks before Valentine’s Day and promoted an original article about why chocolate-related presents just aren’t enough anymore. Although the piece attracted engaged readers, the audience was too broad and not necessarily in a buying mindset.

Solution: Create a simple product showcase: “4 Jewelry Gift Ideas for Valentines Day.”

Result: Users arriving at the new article clicked on the link precisely because they were looking for gift ideas, and knew the piece would provide a showcase of different product ideas. This led to a higher conversion rate, and more on-site jewellery purchases.

Online Fantasy Sports Service

Situation: Our partner was driving traffic to an article about the company’s origins in a small town, including very personal stories about the founder. However, nobody was signing up to play fantasy sports.

Solution: Create two articles: the first, an “About Us” piece that discussed why the service was the most innovative fantasy sports hub on the market; the second piece around “5 Reasons You Should Start Playing Fantasy Sports.”

Result: Users arriving at these articles were actively interested in fantasy sports, and therefore more likely to sign up for the service. The conversion rate increased significantly.

As you can see from these examples, being straightforward and direct with your audience when driving towards a performance goal will help ensure ROI. As long as you’re giving the user information that they find helpful, they will click, engage, and have a better chance of converting.

Ran Buck
VP of Asia-Pacific,Taboola
Ran Buck leads Taboola’s operations in Asia-Pacific.

Since Ran opened the company’s Bangkok office in 2013, Taboola has secured a significant Asia-Pacific presence, including landmark partnerships with two of the region’s leading companies. In May 2015, Taboola announced a strategic investment from Chinese search giant Baidu to further its growth plans and realise the full potential of the worldwide discovery market. Taboola also teamed up with Yahoo! Japan to launch “Yahoo! Content Discovery” and bring ROI-driven content marketing to the Japanese market.

Over the past two years, Taboola has focused on expanding into new international markets that present the most significant opportunities for publishers, brands, and marketers to connect with consumers via content. including fast-growing countries like India, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Korea.

before joining Taboola, Ran was the CEO of Marcella, an international trading company for dairy and milk. Before joining Marcella, Ran held a business development executive role at IBM, driving worldwide revenue. Ran is based in Bangkok and holds a BS from the IAF Academy.

Thank you Ran for your valuable inputs with our ReelnReel.com Users.

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