Digital Publishing Reader Revenue
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Taboola acquires Connexity to create ‘personalized eCommerce recommendations’

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Taboola, the content recommendation engine used by thousands of publishers, has acquired Connexity for $800 million. Connexity is one of the world’s largest independent eComm media platforms serving over 1,600 direct retail merchants and 6,000 publishers.

Connexity reaches more than 100 million unique shoppers per month, via relationships with premium publishers including Condé Nast, DotDash, Hearst, Vox Media, Meredith, and News Corp Australia. The platform allows publishers to integrate more than 750 million product offers on their websites, in some cases providing significant additional revenue streams.

It comes at a time of renewed focus on eCommerce, propelled by Covid-19 restrictions and retail shutdowns forcing shoppers online. Online’s share of total retail sales in the US reached 21.3% in 2020, representing 44% growth in a single year. The situation is echoed across many other countries worldwide with the top 50 UK publishers generating £86 ($113.42) average revenue per article in August 2020.

Taboola’s technology coupled with Connexity’s retail expertise and index of more than 750 million product offers will introduce a new type of recommendation offering for Taboola and will connect editorial content to product recommendations, where readers can buy products matched to stories they are reading.

A spokesperson for Taboola told WNIP that the product recommendations “will involve direct relationships with companies like eBay and D2C brands such as mattress specialist, Otty, rather than affiliate marketing”. However, with Connexity acquiring affiliate specialist Skimlinks last year, a move into affiliate marketing seems a given for Taboola – not least because Condé Nast, DotDash, Hearst, Vox Media and many other publishers already use Skimlinks affiliate tools. 

The deal represents Taboola’s fifth acquisition and adds over 200 people to the company, bringing the number of total employees to 1,600. Bill Glass, Connexity CEO, and the Connexity management team will lead the newly formed business unit at Taboola.

eCommerce is the future of the open web, consumers will be buying outside of Amazon, on publishers’ sites next to trusted editorial content a lot more than they are today. Amazon has millions of merchants, but merchants mainly have Amazon. That changes today. Combining Taboola and Connexity’s technologies is one step forward in creating an alternative to walled gardens.

Adam Singolda, CEO, Taboola