“Here’s how to spend $117 million.”
That could be the teaser for this story, if content discovery platform Taboola included this in the 200 billion content recommendations it serves each month to more than half a trillion unique visitors.
The New York City-based company is announcing today it has raised a massive $117 million.
That’s a lot of Taboola, you might say.
The company intends to invest the new funds into continuing “to develop cutting edge technology and tools,” CEO and founder Adam Singolda told VentureBeat via email.
He pointed out that the company is heavily tech-oriented, “with close to one hundred mathematicians and engineers — roughly half of the team.” The goal this year, he said, is to push Taboola’s tech into its next generation of personalization. In the past, Singolda has mentioned his interest in expanding into recommendations for food, travel, and other categories.
The funds will also be used for global expansion, and for what he called “inorganic growth opportunities.” In August, the company bought programmatic ad tech startup Perfect Market, so that automated ads could appear with recommended content.
Taboola’s content recommendations — under the heading “You May Like” — help boost traffic to publishers’ sites, drawing content from around the web that is (ideally) related to the content the reader is viewing. Publishers pay the company for the content distribution.
Singolda noted that “great companies in our space including Yahoo, Google, and Facebook” also offer sponsored content or promoted videos. In October, ComScore said that desktop users in the U.S. saw more Taboola-powered content links — although they didn’t necessarily click on them — than Facebook, direct competitor Outbrain, or YouTube. (VentureBeat utilizes Outbrain’s content recommendation services.)
Taboola does several things well via its proprietary tech to distinguish its content discovery in “this new storytelling-driven advertising category,” Singolda told us. These include “connecting users with content they may like and never knew existed” by taking into account such signals as whether the user signed up for a newsletter after reading some articles or the user’s location.
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On the advertiser side, he pointed to his company’s use of “more advanced KPIs [key performance indicators] such as cost per acquisitions [or] the lifetime value of a reader.”
Taboola also offers a Choice program, where consumers can filter or block content across the company’s entire network, and can provide feedback on why they’ve done so.
This Series E round, which brings the total investment in Taboola to $157 million, was led by Fidelity Management and Research, with participation from existing investors Marker LLC and Steadfast Capital and from new investors that included Advance Publications, Comcast Ventures, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso chairman Carlo De Benedetti, Groupe Arnault, and Yahoo Japan.