Taboola.com is one of an ever-growing list of video aggregation services. So why should you be reading about it? Well they do a little more than some of the others. Not only are they organizing the videos for the users to find more easily, they're also working towards making things better for the publishers and the advertisers. You might think of Taboola as the point where the three pieces of online video monetization meet - producer, advertiser, consumer.
Taboola prides itself on its Personalized Video Discovery Platform which boils down to a system that gives users recommendations about other videos they might enjoy. The system can be implemented on almost any video site and comes in three pieces - viDiscovery which is the aforementioned video recommendation system, DiscoverAd which is the advertising solution and Taboola Analytics which is of course the metrics.
For advertisers, Taboola gives you are more than the standard pre, mid, post-roll options. They are standalone units and appear as videos in the recommended lists as sponsored messages. The system analyzes the user's watching habits and interests and only shows advertisements that should appeal to that particular user. The user then chooses whether or not they wish to view the message or interact further. Their Matchrank system is said to help increase click through and relevancy. Since advertisements are only seen when the user chooses to do so, the quality of the views should increase as well. Recently Taboola partnered with Brightcove to "offer publishers a simplified video discovery experience for their viewers" which means that the ViDiscovery service can be included in the Brightcove player.
The viewers of course benefit from all of this by being able to discover more videos that they might like without having to go and manually search for them. This not only saves the viewer time and energy but could also increase their viewing time as they will have more relevant content displayed right next to the video they want to see. There's little concern over privacy since they only collect anonymous data unless the user specifies otherwise. So while they know what you are watching and might like to see next, they don't actually know who you are or where you are.
What's it mean for you?
Well that of course depends on WHO you are. If you're a video site or a publisher it could increase viewing time, revenue and overall site usage, popularity and effectiveness. If you are an advertiser it could mean more targeted viewership, better results and a nice fat bottom line. If you're just an avid online video viewer well then it simply means that you will start seeing better recommendations, spend less time combing video sites for the videos you want and have a more enjoyable experience overall. That is of course if everything goes just how they hope it will.
From what I can tell they have a lot of money, over $4.5M was hauled in recently so they've got the assets to proceed. Also from what I can tell there's only one place 5min.com that's using the service except for Brightcove members who might be using it as well.
What I found at 5min.com was, when you click on a recommended video and you are using the 'smart player' in full screen mode (to see the recommendations), the clicked video opens in another web page instead of in the player. Doesn't sound very smart at all now does it? I don't understand why the video wouldn't simply queue up in the player instead of having to go back to the web then click smart player again to see further recommendations and full screen mode. In fact it's far more cumbersome than a normal session at YouTube which also has a recommended video feature.
So with all innovation there comes growing pains. The recommended videos I saw at 5min.com weren't all that different from the ones that were recommended for me at YouTube. I was looking at game videos since I'm a gamer and the video I used for testing purposes at both was Halo 3 Covenent level Thunderstorm Skull video. I am certain that other videos would give similar results. So perhaps the ViDiscovery system still needs some tweaking or for me to use it longer to it can adjust to my tastes in videos.