Adam Signolda: “The moments of next are crucial for brands and publishers alike to reach their audience”

Following Taboola’s presence in Athens, GR for their annual Sales Kick-Off event, Taboola’s CEO and Founder, Adam Signolda and TDG’s, Project Agora’s holding company, Founder and Managing Director, Odysseas Ntotsikas did a joint interview with “Marketing Week” one of the leading trade publications in Greece.

Adam and Odysseas talked about the “moments of next”, the value of storytelling and discovery, Taboola’s recipe for success, the state of online advertising in Greece and the TDG-Taboola synergy.

Adam Signolda:

You have stated that, Taboola is “everything about discovery”. How would you define the added value in this statement for brands and publishers?

AS: It’s crucial for brands and publishers alike to maximize the opportunity to reach and engage with audiences during “moments of next” when they’re most receptive to discovering new and interesting content. Publishers use Taboola’s platform to drive additional revenue while increasing audiences and on-site user engagement.

Brands partner with Taboola to reach and interact with their audiences in an authentic way and build meaningful relationships. Whether it’s an advertiser looking to drive brand awareness or specific performance goals, discovery is a key force in pushing for long-term brand value and ultimately sales.

You have recently announced partnerships that transcend the traditional publisher ecosystem, such as the one with Vivo, one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world. What’s the rationale behind this move and your launch of Taboola News?

AS: Many publishers today struggle to drive direct traffic to their websites amid the walled gardens of search and social. This challenge was a driving force for the launch of Taboola News, our proprietary news curation offering that personalizes a feed of articles from our network of premium publishers directly on users’ mobile devices. By providing our publisher partners, as well as mobile carrier and OEM partners, with an additional revenue stream, they are better positioned for success as mobile consumption continues to rise.

Marketers are searching for effectiveness more than ever. Do you think the digital ecosystem serves them properly today in that direction?

AS: Data is the primary attribute that separates digital media from other marketing channels. While traditional media such as TV, or radio does provide scale that marketers still appreciate and use – when it comes to digital there is an opportunity to add a layer of data and measurement that can help a marketer realize their full potential.

With all of this information at their fingertips, digital marketers have the unique opportunity to not only optimize content creation and distribution for the best results, but also to personalize their campaigns based on the wants and needs of individual users.

The digital advertising industry seems to be more and more concerned about consumers’ stance towards advertising, with terms such as brand safety and ad blocking scoring high in the industry’s fora. How do you see your role in the rationalization of online advertising? Are initiatives like the Coalition for Better Ads helping in this direction?

AS: Advertisers want proven brand-safe environments. Consumer attitudes toward advertising are top of mind for us. In 2017, we launched Taboola Feed to offer a premium, brand-safe environment for our publishers and advertisers.

We also strive for more transparency on the open web and created a dedicated content policy team two years ago. The team manually reviews over a million campaigns in nine different languages every month to ensure we’re providing brand-safe environments for our partners. Supporting quality journalism will always be our central mission, and we’ve committed to pushing for better standards and high-quality environments on the open web.

What’s the role of creativity and storytelling in the phase of digital advertising that we are entering?

AS: Every brand has a story waiting to be discovered. We’re at a moment when brands of all sizes are transitioning from traditional advertising to storytelling and those that incorporate creative and authentic stories will succeed in engaging audiences and ultimately driving sales goals. We’ve seen brands such as Flare Audio effectively combine storytelling with discovery to reach new audiences and convert those new audiences into loyal consumers.

You have grown a company from a start-up to a billion plus in revenues and a leader and innovator in digital advertising within 10 years. How does it feel on a personal level?

AS: I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made since we launched the company in 2007 and am fortunate to have grown a company full of passionate, intelligent and kind people. We reach 1.4 billion users every month, nearly half of the world’s internet users, and now have over 1,000 employees. While we’re not small anymore, I still feel we’re just at the beginning and I mainly attribute most of our success so far to the people we call “Taboolars”, creating this magic on a daily basis.

Athens hosted recently a big event for Taboola internationally. Have you been able to form an opinion regarding online advertising industry in Greece, in terms of development, innovation?

AS: Greece is an important market for us and through TDG, our valuable partner in this region, we’re in active discussions to understand the particular needs and challenges of brands and publishers alike. As of today, more than 200 local websites are utilizing our technology to better understand, grow and monetize their site’s traffic, while thousands of local and international brands are helping consumers discover their products and services on those websites.

This year, we look forward to becoming even more ingrained in the Greek digital space by including Greece in white papers and case studies we publish and by participating in marketing events in the country.

Odysseas Ntotsikas:

TDG has been Taboola’s partner for almost 3 years now. You have first-hand experience of what drives Taboola’s growth engines. What can Greek start-ups copy from Taboola’s success? 

ON: Taboola’s phenomenal growth is the result of a number of well-planned intertwined factors. Choosing a bold vision and executing it with surgical precision is my takeaway for Greek start-ups.  

Taboola is what it is because of the boldness of their vision to define the “discovery of what’s interesting and new for consumers”, a huge space that transcends advertising as we know it, and their laser focused perseverance in executing this vision.   

This is what makes Taboola the choice for thousands of digital properties and advertisers and what makes over 1.4billion people in the world engage with its recommendations.  

How open has the Greek advertising ecosystem been to your joint offering.   

ON: The Greek Advertising market has always been open to solutions that bring targeted reach and results.  

Today, Project Agora and Taboola are empowering more than 200 of the most popular websites in the Greek market to increase their organic traffic, better understand their audiences and maximize the revenue of their visits with no resources or any incremental cost. In doing so we provide publishers a much needed revenue stream to help them continue providing local content and services. This is important for them and for the society as a whole for reasons we can all understand.   

In parallel, we are offering brand and performance advertisers a unique way to reach their audiences, when they are most receptive to new messages, products and services, at a buying model that is tied to their results.  

In Greek this is the definition of what we call win-win (laughs) and we are always looking to create such propositions.   

Find here the whole interview with Marketing Week.