Content Rec Is Trying To Take Over The Open Web, But The Jury’s Still Out
WhizzCo CEO Alon Rosenthal writes in AdExchanger’s The Sell Sider column.
Market leaders Taboola and Outbrain, now public companies, are looking to expand beyond the content recommendation box to run display ads across the open web.
Both Taboola and Outbrain made their intentions known late last year via public announcements, catching many in the industry by surprise. After all, most marketing technology companies tend to swim in their own lanes. Furthermore, content recommendation is one of the few segments of digital advertising where ads aren’t served as a result of programmatic auctions. This means that Taboola and Outbrain will need to adjust to working in a programmatic environment. Still, both have the capacity – and seemingly, the desire – to extend their advertising reach.
Can they do it, and will anyone stand in their way?
Challenging Taboola and Outbrain requires a public company with significant financial reserves. And the slide of advertising technology stocks – except for Zeta Global – in 2022 won’t make it easier. So who has these kinds of financial reserves?
As of late April, Taboola’s market cap was more than $1 billion, roughly twice that of Outbrain, but somewhat below other public advertising technology companies.
Criteo is probably the most likely challenger, given the company’s relatively high market cap and revenues ($500–$660 million per quarter). Furthermore, the company already offers a broad range of advertising solutions, including retargeting, video advertising, mobile app advertising, contextual targeting, omnichannel, web traffic generation, and customer acquisition, not to mention retail media for brands and retailers and direct bidding for publishers. After its recent acquisition of IPONWEB, the company that basically invented programmatic advertising technology, Criteo is best positioned to challenge Taboola and Outbrain.
Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft all have the financial power to challenge Taboola and Outbrain, but they probably won’t risk incurring the wrath of the government and regulators.
So will the content recommendation vendors take over the open web? Will Criteo challenge them?