“A Huge Beginning To A Beautiful Era For The Open Web” – Taboola’s Adam Singolda On The 30-Year Yahoo Deal

“A Huge Beginning To A Beautiful Era For The Open Web” – Taboola’s Adam Singolda On The 30-Year Yahoo Deal

At the end of November, Taboola announced that it had signed a 30-year partnership with Yahoo that would see the digital ad company run native advertising across all of Yahoo’s platforms. The move would also see Yahoo take a 25 per cent stake in Taboola and take a seat on the company’s board.

To find out more about the deal and what it means for advertisers and the open web, B&T sat down with Adam Singolda, (pictured) Taboola’s founder and CEO.

“The partnership with Yahoo is a very exciting,” said Singolda, who was, genuinely, very excited.

“If you go to any of the Yahoo properties — which are some of the most trusted in the open web — such as Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Mail, we’re going to work with Yahoo for the next 30 years to service customers with native advertising, so side-by-side with traditional ads.

“We have estimated the size of the partnership and, if we were to have monetised Yahoo throughout 2022, it would have been worth roughly a billion dollars.”

In particular, Singolda is excited about the prospective benefits the partnership will bring for advertisers on the open web. In effect, the open web is anything outside of the walled gardens belonging to the big tech companies such as Apple, Meta, and Google.

“This is a huge beginning to a beautiful era for the open web and journalism and publishers because, by definition, publishers are contextual. It’s not about ‘Who am I?’ it’s ‘Who am I in the context of what I’m reading?’” said Singolda.

“It’s important for advertisers to really have an alternative they can rely on outside the walled gardens. It helps us progress towards where the industry is going, which is contextual environments.

“The open web is [currently] very fragmented. If you want to buy search, you can do it. If you want to buy social, you can do it. But if you want to buy advertising on publisher websites, it’s fairly complicated — SSPs, DSPs, DMPs, there are so many acronyms. There needs to be some level of scale and simplicity for someone to say, ‘I want to spend, I want measurable results, and I want to have diversification outside of two or three companies.’

“To get the scale, to progress forward in terms of the segmentation of contextual [advertising] versus privacy, that’s why it matters.”

When it announced the deal, Taboola said that its advertising product would give spenders greater reach, improve the performance of their ads, and offer them better UX.

“We’re going to work together, A/B test different experiences, different formats,” explained Singolda.

“It’s early days but I trust the relationship we have between the teams to try different things.”

According to Singolda, those different things might be very different indeed.

“I spoke in my letter about what you see in front of you now, we’d like to try new things, find what works and keep innovating. On top of that, you have the big categories that we’ll tap into — contextual segments, ecommerce, display advertising, header bidding. Maybe distribution beyond just websites. Where else can news be? In apps, in automobiles over the next 30 years. If you ask me, Taboola will be in every car that’s out there surfacing podcasts, text-to-audio, maybe the car is autonomous and you can watch videos.”

While the deal might seem staggeringly long to most outside observers, Singolda said he believed that three decades was the perfect amount of time to commit to Yahoo.

“I’m not sure exactly what the renewal process will be — we might do it from Mars. But 30 years goes by fast,” he said.

“The main reason we wanted to commit to each other was to build our ecosystem. We’re trying to serve consumers with trusted information. We don’t want our children to discover important things on TikTok. So, in light of that, 30 years was the right amount of time to commit for the level of investment we want to make in product management and all the things that will evolve over time. I think about how marketers will diversify into different pockets of video, native, ecommerce, all those things as they come together, 30 years is around the corner.”

What’s more, Singolda is nigh-on certain that the digital advertising industry is moving inexorably away from walled gardens and towards a solutions similar to Taboola’s.

“With privacy regs and where the industry is going, which I believe is strongly led by privacy changes and contextual advertising evolution, marketers are asking themselves, ‘If we can’t buy social channels as profitably as we did, because of IDFA and cookies and all those things, where should we buy? What should we do in order to still get measurable performance for our campaigns?’

“To advertisers big and small, it is one more reason to consider the open web and get the scale you need. Rely on us.”

“I subscribe to a future that is very safe for consumers. I think the privacy challenges we’ve seen over the last ten years and advertisers relying on consumers being tracked — that trend is going to zero, it’s going to the ground.

“I am convinced that companies, like social companies, will have to reboot their business as contextual companies that are safe for people. It has to happen. I think publishers have been waiting for this moment since the beginning of time, to have scale — the open web is roughly a $70 billion market — and we see ourselves as the Robin Hood for the open web.”

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