Digital Advertising Beyond Google, Facebook, and Amazon

October 12, 2020

The Reverse Search Engine for Advertisers

Here is a shocking statistic:

Only three companies – Google, Facebook, and Amazon – controlled almost 70% of total U.S. digital advertising revenue in 2019.

As an advertiser, you are likely already using search and social as the core of your digital media strategy (Google & Amazon are considered a search, Facebook/Instagram is social). Google, Facebook, and Amazon are well-known go-to channels for marketers to promote their products and services.

As more content gets published, Google and Facebook are becoming saturated with promotion. As a result, ads are becoming more expensive, and competition for user attention is fierce. With more online content than ever before, it is much easier for marketers and advertisers to get lost in all the noise today.

But there are other options to the Big Three…

Enter the Wide-Open Web

Because of this, most marketers are missing out on a vast audience by only focusing on search and social, and that audience is…the rest of the open web.

Unlike search and social platforms, the open web has infinite growth potential and the potential to reach every internet user.

What Is the Wide-Open Web?

The wide-open web is distributing content on publisher sites that people visit every day. Sites such as CNN, ESPN, WebMD, and many other content websites, make the open-web extremely valuable. Advertisers not only gain credibility for being on a publisher web site, but they reach highly targeted audiences at scale.

Distributing content on credible and respected publishers’ sites leads to a vast additive solution for real scale for marketers in the face of a crowded online landscape.

The Alternative to Facebook, Google, and Amazon

Google, Amazon, and Facebook are great options.  However, there are other options, as well.

Taboola and Outbrain are leading content discovery platforms, reaching a highly engaged audience through distribution on top publisher sites.

Back in August of 2019, the two companies announced that they would be merging. However, as of September 2020, the merger has been called off. But this called off union is a good development for publishers and advertisers.

You see, as competitors, Taboola and Outbrain each provide publishers a service for recommended links to increase traffic and generate revenue. And between the two, they have a digital audience reach that surpasses Google and Facebook. In the U.S., Outbrain and Taboola’s clients include CNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, and the BBC, and the companies say they reach 1.2 billion and 1.4 billion people a month, respectively.1 This surpasses Facebook and other advertising platforms, according to ComScore Media Metrix Key Measures rankings.2

Think of Them as A Reverse Search Engine

In essence, Taboola and Outbrain claim to be the reverse of search engine results.

While search engines provide precisely what the user is searching for, Taboola and Outbrain’s platforms recommend content proactively based on user preferences utilizing sophisticated algorithms.

Their services appeal to audiences who don’t know what they are looking for (and most habitual internet users, including educated ones, frequently fall into this category).

What Makes Taboola and Outbrain Effective Alternatives

The founder of Taboola, Adam Singolda, in an interview with Forbes, explained:

“I realized that there are three ways people got to consume content: (1) Search: if they knew what they were looking for and could type it (2) Social: if a friend of theirs shared it (3) Opportunistic: they just happened to be on a page, or they happened to open their TV– what’s next? I was very passionate about solving and connecting people worldwide with content they may like.”

Eytan Galai, CRO, at Outbrain put it this way:

“Consumers on the web are becoming disengaged with the saturated news & information feeds of the closed web (Google, Facebook, etc.) and turning to the open web for a better exploration and discovery experience.  We are the best alternative to advertisers who are actively looking to diversify their media spend outside of the closed web, better engage with audiences, and drive significant return on advertising spend.”

Taboola and Outbrain offer a unique variation:

They are generating business from recommendation-based, proactive advertising.

Reach Your Audience In New Places

In addition to the U.S. numbers mentioned above, Taboola and Outbrain reach over 2 billion people monthly directly through exclusive and long-term agreements with the world’s most premium digital properties.

Taboola and Outbrain also work with brands and agencies, Tapstone being one of them, offering a way to distribute content alongside the publisher’s editorial recommendations using Native Ads.

The Sweet Spot for Nondisruptive…

Enter Native Advertising.

Taboola and Outbrain have found the sweet spot for nondisruptive native advertising on the open web—the bottom of the article.

Why Native Advertising?

Native ads come in many shapes and sizes. Certain types of native ads exist on the search and social sites, but the kind of native ads we are talking about blend in with the look and feel of a publisher site in the wide-open web.

The Native Advertising Institute describes it best: “Native advertising is paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel, and function of the media’s content on which it appears.

Native is particularly effective on the open web, where ads are getting more intrusive, annoying, and more ineffective than ever before.

Nondisruptive ad experiences are the ones that do not interrupt the user as they’re consuming the content that they originally intended. These ads blend in with the site’s look and feel and are targeted in a truly valuable way to the user.

The Wide-Open Web Is Real, And It Is Robust

You don’t need just the big three to drive results. You can reach marketing KPIs at any stage of the purchase journey with the right mix of audience segmentation and ongoing optimization efforts outside of just Google, Facebook, and Amazon.



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