We’re all familiar with those recommended articles that websites often have at the bottom of their page with annoying headlines such as Top 10 ways to look younger or You won’t believe the size of Kim Kardashian’s sweat patch. What you may not have realised is that these are actually adverts powered by a content marketing platform such as Taboola. As infuriating as these ads are I’m sure we’re all guilty of the occasional click and with a reach of over 550 million unique visitors serving 200 billion recommendations every month, there’s no doubt they’re effective.

Like many great ideas, Taboola started with a geek. This particular geek was working in the Israeli army and enjoyed solving unique problems with advanced mathematics. During these pensive times CEO Adam Singolda started to become fascinated with the discovery problem. He wanted to introduce people to new articles or videos they would be interested in, but didn’t yet know existed. In 2007, Taboola was founded and after three and a half years of studying content consumption patterns they created the foundation for Taboola's mathematical predictive engine, Taboola EngageRank™. Taboola is now the world’s leading content discovery platform included on publishers such as the Daily Mail and USA Today and had a revenue of over $200 million in 2014.

As with every advertising platform the style of Taboola‘s ads and the audience that it captivates are unique, which of course creates a whole new playground where advertisers can be creative in order to make the most of every visitor. We joined Inbar Yagur from Taboola for a webinar titled "Clicks and Engagement: The Great Online Balancing Act" where she was kind enough to share some of her clever tricks and tips for making the most out of your ads, which I’ll do my best to incorporate and keep you engaged through this blog entry.pic 1Know your audience

Someone who clicks on a Taboola ad is in the discovery mind-set. They have clicked on your ad because they want to consume content, but haven’t directly sought your website and are flying blind. These people are divided into two categories: 30% Readers (people have come to read through your whole article) and 70% skimmers (people who will skim through your website before first before deciding whether to fully engage), with the percentage of skimmers on the rise. In this environment it’s not just about having a good ad to get clicks and as the attention span of the modern world slowly decreases, it’s becoming increasingly important to also keep users engaged enough that they’ll stay on your site and consume the content.

Tips for clicks

  • Entice with intrigue and mystery – Don’t give everything away in the headline. Rather than saying Study shows more sleep makes you happier, say The real secret to happiness may surprise you
  • Use numbered lists – These are particularly effective as people know what they’re going to get and lists present information in an easy and quick to read format
  • Use celebrities – Only if they’re relevant
  • Don’t be too general – This helps ensure quality traffic. An example Inbar used was, rather than saying The secret your girlfriend doesn’t want you to know, you should be a bit more specific with something like The secret your girlfriend doesn’t want you to know about gifts
  • Meet user expectation – Make sure your headline matches the landing page. If there’s an unexpected video or noise playing it will scare people off
  • A/B test – As always!
Tips for engagement
  • Keep the landing page clean – Don’t clutter it with too many pictures. Also, it’s also been shown that black text on a white background is the most effective
  • Avoid dense text and keep it short – People don’t want to read a huge dense article when they get to your site, so break up the text, use subheadings and keep it between 300 and 600 words
  • Encourage scrolling – Make it clear that there's more to see.
  • Have adverts at the end of your article – This is prime real estate and once someone has read your article if there’s nothing that immediately engages them they will most likely close the window
  • People like to learn – Believe it or not content that teaches people is among the most popular including formats such as lists, slides, how-to articles or a quizzes
  • Popular trends – Sticking to popular article trends can be a reliable to drive traffic to your site. These currently include wealth, health, uplifting videos, nostalgia and insider content
  • Emerging opportunities – Some of the topics that are currently on the rise include how-to's, positive celebrity content e.g. most charitable celebs, technology and parenting.
You should now be well on your way to creating some effective Taboola ads, but if you'd like to find out more just get in touch.pic 4