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Taboola Review: Performance Advertisers’ Essential New Tool

Exploring the potential of online advertising can be both exciting and daunting, especially when venturing beyond the familiar realms of Google and Facebook. In this comprehensive Taboola review, I delve into how this emerging native ad platform could be your gateway to reaching millions of new customers. With a presence on high-traffic sites like Business Insider, USA Today, and Bloomberg, Taboola offers a unique opportunity to expand your reach. Whether you’re looking to complement your existing ad strategies or find more cost-effective alternatives, this Taboola review will guide you through the ins and outs of maximizing your ad campaign results with Taboola.

How Taboola works

Taboola is a native ad platform that serves ads on thousands of websites. This means Taboola, through its algorithm, displays your products on relevant websites.

Native ads are sometimes tough to spot in the wild, as they often match their surrounding content. The biggest difference is that native ads are labelled with disclaimers, such as “Promoted,” “Sponsored,” or “Ad.

The idea is simple. You can use Contextual Advertising – Contextual targeting allows you to place your ads in contexts that are most relevant to your brand and audience.

At Taboola, we believe in the power of context to deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience. Our contextual targeting capabilities are powered by advanced AI and semantic analysis technology, leveraging the valuable contextual insights extracted from our extensive network of 9k+ direct publisher integrations. Our algorithm analyzes the content and metadata of each page to determine its contextual classification.  For example, a person on a sports website will likely visit another sports page. In another sense, a person interested in sports will likely click a sports product ad wherever they see it. 

Taboola combines these and other factors in its algorithm to serve ads on the most relevant pages to the most relevant audiences.

Advertising on Taboola involves three parties:

  • Advertisers: These are marketers who promote their products on relevant websites to achieve their marketing objectives.
  • Taboola: This is the platform that allows advertisers to promote their content on publishers’ websites.
  • Publishers: These are website owners who make money by referring their readers to relevant pages, like news websites and other websites. 

An advertiser will create campaigns on Taboola. Then Taboola will use its algorithm to serve relevant ads on high-quality publishers’ websites.

In this Taboola review, I’ll dwell more on how advertisers can take advantage of this native ad platform.

Why should big brands consider Taboola?

While a native ad platform like Taboola may not be as popular with advertisers as other major publishing and search platforms, there are solid reasons to consider it.

Here are four of them:

  • Exploring a big audience segment: Since people visit websites every day, native ads represent an opportunity to reach new fresh audiences outside search and social media. For example, Taboola ads reach over 1 billion people across the web every month.
  • Rising costs of search ads: the big players dominating the search ads market can increase prices without repercussions or prior notifications to advertisers. In fact, they have already admitted to doing so in the past. This gives Taboola a competitive advantage comparing to other CPC marketing channels – you can diversify your media spend and target new audiences at an average  cost of less than $0.5 CPC.
  • Advertising in a cookieless world: It’s no news that third-party cookies are going away due to privacy concerns. Nevertheless, Taboola ads ensure you can still reach a relevant audience. Since Taboola’s recommendation engine sits in publishers’ websites, it connects your products to new audiences based on interest and relevance rather than on cookies.
  • More efficient ad management: From maintaining keyword lists to performing regular account audits, advertising on search and social can take a lot of time (or money if outsourced). However, Taboola has an easy-to-use interface and account managers to save loads of time.

Taboola has emerged as the biggest content discovery network on the open web. For big businesses looking to reach their ideal audiences on top websites, this is a great option.

Taboola campaigns

Inside Taboola campaigns, you can set up the various elements of your native ad campaigns.

The first thing I observed here is how easy it is to navigate the Taboola campaign interface. 

Anybody who has set up an ad campaign will find the setup a breeze. But even if you’re doing it for the first time, you won’t face any serious challenges.

Now, let’s explore some elements of the campaign setup.

Marketing objectives

For your Taboola campaigns, you can select one of these five marketing objectives:

  • Lead generation
  • Online purchases
  • Website engagement
  • Brand awareness
  • Mobile app installs

Because of Taboola ads’ placement on websites, it’s easy to assume that it only works for brand awareness.

But Taboola, with these marketing objectives, proves that advertisers can pursue similar goals available on search and social media ads.

This makes sense since people who visit websites have various needs. For example, a visitor on the ESPN website may need a sneaker, while another needs updates about their favorite NBA team.

So, Taboola considers your goal and then serves your ad to the best audience that can help achieve that goal.

Of course, your marketing objective will also determine your costs and the destination page. For example, you’ll likely pay more per click for lead generation than brand awareness.

Likewise, the destination for lead generation will be a landing page, while a blog post works for brand awareness.

Next, you can select a schedule to run ads. This includes running it 24/7 or specific times on days.

In a nutshell, Taboola lets you pursue various marketing goals through its platform.

Budget and bidding

In the budget and bidding section of your campaign setup, Taboola lets you select a bidding strategy. Bid Control strategy uses CPC/CPM, while Maximize Conversions uses CPA as its metric.

Keep in mind that you need an active pixel before you can use the Maximize Conversions strategy.

Beyond that, Taboola provides the option of an Enhanced or Fixed CPC in your bid strategy. If you select the Enhanced CPC, it means Taboola will automatically adjust your bid to deliver conversions.

You can set a daily, monthly or lifetime budget. Even if you set a daily budget, Taboola also requests a monthly limit.

The best approach is to start with a low bid while using Enhanced CPC settings. After a few days of running your campaigns, you’ll have an idea of what works. Then, you can use a fixed CPC.

Another interesting option here is how your ads are served. You have the option between optimized and A/B Testing.

For the optimized option, Taboola will serve two variations of your ad, pick a winner in terms of conversions, and serve the winner. However, for the A/B testing option, your ad variations will receive the same number of views until the end date you set.

If you really want to test two ad variations, the A/B testing option may be the best option. That’s because you can have enough views to achieve high confidence in the test results.

For the optimized option, the algorithm can pick a winner without giving the test enough time. But running a few ads before running an A/B test still makes sense.

Taboola also has the SpendGuard algorithm, which identifies significantly underperforming sites and caps your spend on them or blocks them.

That said, no specific bidding setting is best for you in all situations. So, your settings here will depend on what you want to achieve.

All in all, Taboola has put measures in place to maximize conversions but also protect your money from underperforming websites.

Campaign targeting

Your targeting should be towards people who are likely to deliver conversions.

Of course, you should already have a buyer persona that represents your ideal customer. This way, you’ll know who to target with Taboola ads.

First, you can select a location to serve your ads. For example, selecting the United States lets you target locations as small as a city or postal code.

However, if you select multiple countries, you can’t select cities or regions. If you want to select cities in different countries, create separate campaigns for each city.

So, remember that your target location will also affect your cost per click (CPC). For instance, campaigns in the United States will likely cost more than in India. 

Beyond location, another targeting option is the platform. Taboola lets you pick between desktop, mobile, and tablet.

However, Taboola suggests picking just one platform for a campaign. This makes sense since bids for each platforms differ.

For example, mobile is generally cheaper than desktop. So, the bid that works for desktop will be expensive for mobile, and you’ll end up overpaying for mobile.

If you want to create campaigns on desktop and mobile, you can create two similar campaigns and select different platforms. This way, you can set a different bid for each campaign.

Apart from platforms, you can also select operating systems and browsers. Taboola also lets you exclude some websites from displaying your ads.

Audience targeting

Here, you can select audiences according to their interests and behaviors. Taboola lets you select three types of audiences:

  • My Audiences: This contains audiences you have saved in your past campaigns. You can also exclude audiences from your ads. You need to install Taboola pixel to have audiences. If you have no audience, move on to the other options.
  • Marketplace Audiences: This type of audience contains specific types of people. So, if you select an audience here, Taboola will target that set of people no matter the website they visit. You can target audiences by intent, demographic, behavior and interests, and other options.
  • Contextual: This type of audience contains websites in specific industries. So, if you select an audience here, Taboola will serve your ads on these websites.

You can select from the three audience types to narrow your campaign reach to a more targeted audience. 

This is what I mean. 

When you select audiences from multiple audience types, Taboola uses the AND condition. This means people in the intersection of the audiences. 

With this, you can target people with an interest who also visit specific websites. This can lift conversions in some cases. 

However, selecting several audiences in the same audience type can also increase your reach and make your audience less targeted. This is because Taboola uses the OR condition when you select multiple audiences in the same audience type.

Sometimes, it makes sense to create separate campaigns for specific audiences. This way, you’ll quickly identify high-performing audiences.

So, pay attention to these options during the audience targeting process. You’ll also see your audience size as you select audiences. 

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to have a buyer persona so that you have enough information to take advantage of the targeting options.

Create ads

In this section, you can add your images, headlines, and other ad elements.

Taboola provides four creation modes, including variations, one by one, bulk upload, and RSS.

Once you select a mode, the next thing is to enter your landing page URL. Taboola provides an option to extract image and headline from the landing page URL

Below that, you can enter your headlines, descriptions, CTA buttons, and media files.

This is where you set up two or more ad variations. When your campaign goes live, you can test these variations to see the best-performing ad.

It’s important to go through Taboola’s policy about headlines and follow them. This will increase your chances of scaling through ad review.

After adding these elements, you’ll see a preview of your ads in different dimensions. Then, you can complete your ads and send them for review.

If you want to create multiple campaigns and make minor changes like the audience or platform, Taboola lets you duplicate a campaign to make the setup easier.

Overall, you can create Taboola ad campaigns in the campaign section to achieve your goals.

Taboola campaign analytics

In Taboola, you get many ad campaign metrics, such as:

  • Amount spent
  • Viewable impressions
  • Clicks 
  • Actual CPC
  • Conversions
  • Conversion rates
  • Actual CPA

You can see some of these metrics in the campaigns section. Taboola also lets you select the metrics you want to see in the overview.

Once you dive into each campaign, you can compare two or more metrics. For example, the amount spent and the number of conversions generated would make a good comparison.

With the number of metrics available, you can understand your campaign performance. Even more, you can find metrics to improve in future campaigns.

Taboola tracking

Tracking helps you understand how visitors behave on your website. Not just that, but you can also create audiences based on what they do on your website.

To set up tracking for your web page, you have to create and install a pixel.

The three main ways to do that are to use Google Tag Manager, install pixel code in the head of your page, or server to server tracking.

You’ll find instructions from Taboola on how to do this.

After installing the pixel on your page, wait a few minutes to see it reflect in the Taboola dashboard. You can also install Taboola Pixel Helper on Chrome, and it will show when a pixel is installed on a page.

With tracking through a website pixel, you can target better audiences to help you achieve your conversion goals. You can create remarketing lists, lookalike audiences, conversion campaigns, and more.

Taboola audiences

Audiences are the people who see your ads. 

You can create and use audiences in different audience types, such as:

  • Taboola pixel audience
  • File-based custom audience
  • Marketplace audiences
  • Contextual targeting

Once you create audiences, you can use or exclude them from your ad campaigns.

An interesting audience type here is the file-based custom audience. Taboola lets you upload your CRM data to create an audience.

You can upload data types such as emails or mobile IDS. With these CSV files, you can create audiences for your campaigns or reach more people with lookalike audiences.

From the Taboola pixel on your website, you can create URL-based and Event-based audiences. 

URL-based audiences are people who have visited specific pages on your website, while event-based audiences have taken specific actions on your website.

Overall, Taboola audiences provide many options to include or exclude a set of people from your ad campaigns.

Conclusion

Over the years, I’ve watched Taboola evolve into a robust and dynamic ad platform, proving itself as an essential tool for medium and large businesses. The ease of setting up campaigns and the range of marketing objectives available are impressive. But what truly stands out to me is Taboola’s ability to help brands tap into an expansive audience segment – millions of website visitors that you might not reach through traditional channels. In my experience, Taboola is not just an alternative but a powerful complement to your existing ad strategies on platforms like Facebook and Google. Their support team’s assistance in campaign setup has been invaluable, making it accessible even for those new to digital advertising.

As we step into 2024, if you’re aiming to elevate your advertising efforts, I cannot recommend Taboola enough. Whether you’re looking to diversify your advertising mix or seeking a standalone solution, Taboola offers a unique opportunity to extend your reach and impact. From my personal experience, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Taboola’s capabilities and the tangible results it delivers. So, if you’re ready to up your ad game this year, consider adding Taboola to your strategy. Visit their website here, explore the options, and see for yourself how Taboola can revolutionize your approach to digital advertising.

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About Lilach Bullock


Hi, I’m Lilach, a serial entrepreneur! I’ve spent the last 2 decades starting, building, running, and selling businesses in a range of niches. I’ve also used all that knowledge to help hundreds of business owners level up and scale their businesses beyond their beliefs and expectations.

I’ve written content for authority publications like Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc, Twitter, Social Media Examiner and 100’s other publications and my proudest achievement, won a Global Women Champions Award for outstanding contributions and leadership in business.

My biggest passion is sharing knowledge and actionable information with other business owners. I created this website to share my favorite tools, resources, events, tips, and tricks with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, small business owners, and startups. Digital marketing knowledge should be accessible to all, so browse through and feel free to get in touch if you can’t find what you’re looking for!

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