Video recommendation and native advertising service Taboola has begun to turn a profit, with a $100 million annual run rate, Online Media Daily reports. Taboola’s unique vision of what native advertising could—and should—be has helped contribute to their early success.
Native ads, which run alongside original content and are designed to “blend in” with their surroundings, have gained popularity recently thanks in part to their early adoption by social networking giant Facebook. Though native ads have been around for a while, they are implemented in various ways across the web to varying degrees of success.
Taboola is focusing on native advertising’s ability to blend in alongside original content and lead consumers to new, similar content. The method seems to be paying off: Taboola serves an estimated 100 billion recommendations a month to 300 million international consumers—and that’s just video.
In order to be successful, any kind of native advertising must emulate this model. Whether it is linked text, articles or video, native advertising campaigns must appeal to consumers’ desire to know more about a topic rather than impersonate content, which is what many failed native advertising campaigns have done in the past. Content marketers must be aware of the different platforms that exist, and look for success stories like Taboola that use native advertising’s positive attributes to their advantage.
Some thought leaders in the marketing world have decried the $1.6 billion dollar native advertising industry as unethical. Ben Kunz, vice president of strategic planning at media agency Mediassociates, described the practice in Digiday as an “insidious encroachment into consumer media,” and accusing those that use it of breaking down the credibility of legitimate online content by running promoted, native content around it.
Taboola CEO Adam Singolda sees it differently, however. “We have a long-term vision to build a search engine but in reverse,” he said, “helping users discover content they may like and never knew about.”
Like any form of marketing, there are poor uses for native advertising that seek to make money off of what looks like credible content. However, it looks like Taboola—and other companies like it—are focusing on making this type of marketing appeal to the curious Internet browser, a great way to gain exposure in an organic way and fuel a successful marketing campaign.
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