Six Second Ads Won’t Build Deep Relationships with Audiences says Taboola’s Singolda

As brands adopt shorter ad formats to make video ads less intrusive, some remain sceptical of how effective these short ads can be. Here Adam Singolda, CEO at Taboola, explains how he thinks brand can get the most out of six second ads, and why they should only be one element of a media mix. Singolda also describes how Taboola’s offering is evolving, and discusses the impact the arrival of 5G will have on video advertising.

Taboola recently announced the launch of its new video studio. What are you bringing to the market and how do you differentiate it from the competition?
Our launch of the Video Studio recognises that creativity is at the heart of a successful video campaign, so as part of how we work with our brand partners – we provide the creative services advertisers might need to optimise video for engagement and brand awareness. Performance metrics like viewability and completion rate are important to advertisers, but so are click through rate and conversions. Taboola Video Studio is our in-house creative studio that enables the customisation of video for both. Features like overlays and end slates deliver a final call to action, while we also include creative consulting with vertical and creative best practises for the open web, video editing, and device adjustment where video ratio and size is adapted for desktop and mobile screens.

Taboola’s ability to broadcast over 100M video views today, is on pace to grow to 1 billion video views per day, puts it in the same category as some of the biggest digital video companies out there such as Facebook, Snap and YouTube. By boosting the impact and creativity of the video campaigns that reach these vast audiences, the Video Studio will help further differentiate our video offering from our competitors.

Historically, Taboola used to focus on the bottom of the page. But your native feed is a “bottomless”page. Are you effectively disrupting your own model?
Yes, a big part of innovation is to allow yourself to disrupt and even break things that were part of your past, into the company you want to be in the future. iPad disrupted the Mac, but it was a good thing for Apple. The natural conclusion of an article is the most effective place for users to consume content – in any format. When users reach the end of the article, they move into a “moment of next” state of mind, when they are most open to engage in and discover something new and interesting. We’ve found that consumers are already used to the feed experience because of social networks, and bringing this to the open web, side by side to editorial quality content was an incredible revolution in its idea, which is to make the open web – endless. What we’ve done is aggregate a wide range of meaningful experiences from brands, publishers, and third party companies in a format they already love.

Advertisers and agencies seem to be moving toward shorter ad formats – do six-second ads really provide enough time to truly connect with consumers?
There is definitely a trend to go for “snackable” content and shorter videos because most audience attention is received in the first 6-10 seconds. To make these shorter formats work, brands must keep them simple and contextually relevant – to inspire recall. We often recommend adding an overlay of brand imaging or text at the start to draw attention from the first second.

That said, six-second ads should only be one element of the media mix as their effectiveness depends on what the brand is trying to achieve. If advertisers are simply trying to increase brand awareness or recall, a six-second ad could be the solution, but if they want to build a deeper relationship with the viewer, I’m not sure it’s good enough and video creatives should be longer in that case.

Which of the European markets are you currently seeing the most growth in?
Overall, digital advertising in Europe grew by more than 13 percent last year; driven by paid search, social, mobile and video, and we’re currently seeing the fastest growth in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the UK. ComScore data from earlier this year shows Taboola now reaches 86 percent of all desktop users in the UK – a 45 percent year-on-year increase – as well as 70 percent of users in France and 91.4 percent of users in Germany. We’re also maximising the potential of these rapidly growing markets by partnering with mobile carriers and OEMs, for instance our partnerships with ZTE and vivo deliver an Apple news experience. We also recently partnered with Axel Springer’s Bild Group to deliver content recommendation across its digital division.

We’re close to 5G mobile speeds being introduced. What impact do you think this will have on the video advertising market?
At the high level, I think the biggest impact will be on things like Augmented Reality, and the opportunity to exchange information at the speed where consumers can see and hear things, and augment the level of information they have around it in real time or near real time. That will open up a whole new category for advertisers, especially on video.

It will also affect the existing video advertising business. Originally, video was made possible by the transition from 3G to 4G, and the jump to 5G will be significant for video advertising as well. With the ability to process and exchange more data at faster speeds, I think 5G will see quicker ad-load times and more satisfied users. In fact 5G is expected to have 100x less latency than 4G, virtually eliminating ad load delays.

The rollout of 5G will result in more connected devices on which to serve video ads, and the faster, more stable exchange of data will allow more complex video advertising techniques. And as I said earlier, high resolution ads using 4K video and videos that include elements of augmented or virtual reality will become far more accessible than they are now, enabling advertisers to deliver engaging, immersive experiences.

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