In the last couple of years, the idea of “cards” has gained steam for presenting online information. Google’s Material Design aesthetic depends on cards, Facebook feed items are shown as cards.

And now Taboola, one of the big companies powering recommended content at the bottom of publishers’ news articles, is going with cards, too.

On Wednesday, Taboola launched Taboola Feed, a new way of presenting its recommended content – both sponsored and otherwise – at the bottom of news articles. And the new system is more than just cosmetic:

  • Now that content will be signposted in “cards”, free-standing units beneath article text.
  • Cards can contain anything – not just basic text-and-image pairings, but rich media, games and more.
  • Taboola’s feed scrolls infinitely, like Facebook’s, meaning more and more recommendation units can be surfaced as readers continue to scroll down.

In this sit-down interview with Beet.TV, Taboola CEO Adam Singolda is upfront about the inspiration for the product launch – social networks and mobile phones.

“The average person spends 55 minutes every day on Facebook,” Singolda says. “The reason is … instead of thinking of placements and real estate on the page, everything is streamlined in to this card system.

“Taboola Feed … offers consumers to scroll down, like they do in social networks. My hope is consumers will linger on the open web as much as they do in social networks.”

To realize that dream, Singolda will need to get customers buying in to both cards and feeds. So he is launching a modularized way of getting them to build card content, in what he’s calling “our version of the Apple Store, a marketplace for cards”.

“If you’re a startup anywhere around the world and you want to be part of a publisher ecosystem, you can build a card,” Singolda adds. “Let’s say you’re a weather company – you can build a card about the weather. It can be a commenting card, a gaming card.” This video shows how different kinds of cards may be deployed in Taboola Feed:

The system has already been used by the New York Daily News, with both sides claiming it has driven up both reader engagement and monetization.

Taboola Feed also takes a swipe at many commonly-accepted ways of delivering commercial messages online. Taboola claims that many web pages nowadays are too stuffed full with all manner of ad units and widgets, often competing with content for users’ attention.

Standardising delivery in something called “cards” seems like a beneficial way of going with the current user interface tide, whilst also cleaning up the ad ecosystem.

The Taboola Feed card system can be used both to serve links to publishers’ own organic on-site content, as well as the content marketers want to promote through publisher sites.

This interview was recorded at the annual Digital Media Summit of LUMA Partners.

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