• Taboola Reimagines Publishers’ Mobile Sites as Feed Experiences Loaded With Video

    Content discovery platform Taboola is taking a page from social networks, introducing a new format called “Taboola Feed,” which is a continuous scrolling feed of content that appears at the end of publisher’s article pages. Publishers can customize the feeds using “cards” that can contain either their own or third-party content (see video demo below).

    Adam Singolda, CEO and founder of Taboola, told me that moving to the feed approach is an acknowledgement that social networks have optimized how the mobile user experience should work, and that the publishers’ current approach to loading their pages with multiple widgets is broken. With a feed that follows the end of an article, publisher create a familiar environment that in turn improves the likelihood that users will stay engaged.

    Adam noted that an important aspect of the feed model is that it gives publishers an improved way of displaying multiple videos in-feed and monetizing them. Just as we’ve all encountered videos that autoplay in our Facebook feeds, the same would happen in publisher’s feeds, powered by Taboola’s same underlying content recommendation technology. Adam sees this as a far better way to show multiple videos quickly to users than the traditional thumbnail navigation widget Taboola uses to reach over 1 billion users per month on publishers’ sites.

    By incorporating the feed model into their mobile pages, publishers can also recapture time their users are spending on social networks. Of course this is a critical point for all publishers wrestling with the desire to leverage social networks’ reach while still keeping users in owned environments. Longer term, Adam sees Taboola moving entirely to a feed model.

    The New York Daily News is one of the first publishers to test Taboola’s feed model and it said that revenue is up by 26% and engagement by 40% on mobile. Adam said dozens of other publishers are A/B testing Taboola’s feed to evaluate its performance.  

    It’s worth mentioning that as Taboola embraces the feed model, Facebook is moving a bit away from it for longer-form video, which it is migrating into the “Video Tab” and also to its app on connected TVs. Facebook is reportedly planning to launch a number of original TV shows later this summer and wants users to experience them outside the traditional newsfeed, which is for shorter attention spans. Separate, Snapchat reportedly has a dozen major media companies creating “Snapchat Shows” that will be part of app’s Discover section.

    All of which goes to show that the video consumption experience for both publishers and social networks remains very much a work in progress.