Content Needs a Kingdom, Taboola Founder Says

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Adam Singolda started Taboola 7 years ago because there was nothing to watch on TV. “I thought people should not be looking for information; information should be looking for people. Most people don’t wake up in the morning and search for that amazing jazz singer they like. They have to discover that person somehow.”Singolda makes those connections with something he calls the Magic 3. Creating experiences/stories that are engaging, reaching an audience at scale, and understanding the data to measure and analyze your ROI. Or, as he likes to say, “Content is no longer king unless there’s a kingdom—audience.”

The young CEO spoke impressively in May during Internet Week NY at MediaPost’s OMMA Native, and he will deliver a keynote titled The New World of Content Marketing at SIIA’s inaugural Business Information & Media Summit, Nov. 10-12 in Miami Beach. (The early-bird registration for this conference expires July 18.)

Taboola has quickly become one of the world’s leading content discovery platforms, reaching 350 million unique visitors. Their tagline is simply, Content You May Like. I watched Singolda speak for the first time this morning (on a video from that May event), and he makes a strong first impression. His ideas are not rocket science—“You have to allow people to participate in the conversation”—but Taboola’s complicated algorithms do perhaps reflect the background of an officer in an elite mathematical unit of the Israeli National Security Agency. After all, as he says, they’re choosing 4 thumbnails out of 5,000 to show you.

“Every 10 years there’s a dramatic and huge behavioral change that affects all of us, and we’re going through one right now—[we call it] the lack of user attention,” he said. “I think it’s gone to playing Candy Crush to games to video to online video to offline apps to syndicated content to native content to distributive content. It’s becoming super complex, and every person in this room can kill 5 minutes on their iPhone very easily.

“What does that all mean? [Audiences] demand engaging experiences to choose to participate in; it’s become very personal. For marketers to be part of my day, they have to create some of those engaging experiences.” Singolda gave examples of companies that have gotten the message.

- Netflix signed up 2 million subscribers by creating original shows like House of Cards. “They’re creating content instead of creating a bigger banner.”
- American Express decided they wanted to help small businesses grow—so they became a publisher. “All Amex wants to do is provide value so you include them in your experiences.”
- Bank of America started producing Better Money Habits, an online TV show. They are now there to help you save money.

“How do people discover content?” he asked. “You used to go to www, look at a homepage and see what the agenda is. Then came searching, then discovering based on our friends. Now it’s how do we discover the best thing we like and never knew existed. It’s the Magic 3.” Singolda filled in more details of this secret elixir:

1. “We have to be able to create engaging experiences and stories so people will choose to engage with [us].”

2. “We have to completely understand the audience. It used to be just about creating the best piece of content. Now we can’t stop there. We have to create the best piece of content that millions of people have the chance to consume—and you have to make this part of your company, part of your workflow. It has to be a recurrent, measurable, tangible, scalable process. It can’t be a one-off—‘I have a budget, I’m spending it.’ Or ‘I heard that we can do it, I’m trying it.’”

3. “Bring [the loop back to] journalism and the people who create the content. What can you tell people who invest so much in content that they must create it in a better way next time? Better title, better thumbnail, better narrative. [Given] audience fragmentation and data, how can you create the Ninja type of editors so that they create now and get better tomorrow in a competitive environment.”

I have never heard the phrase “Ninja type of editors.” But given the things we writers and editors have been called in the past, I’ll take it. It’s kind of exciting actually, in the same way Singolda’s talk in November should be as well.

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Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

SIIA Announces “Lightning Round” Winner at 2014 Strategic & Financial Investment Conference

SIIA announced the winner of its new Lightning Round Competition at its Strategic & Financial Investment Conference, which was held yesterday in New York City.

During this unique one-day event, hand-picked and carefully screened companies with revenues between $5 million and $250 million focused on  the software, digital content, ed tech and information services industries, presented their products and services to an invitation-only audience of investors, venture capitalists, M&A firms, corporate development officers and other investment professionals.

Debuting this year was a new competition called Lightning Round, where investors attending the conference selected three presenting companies to participate in the competition. FirstRain, Mag+ and Extole had the honor of being selected. Each company presented their pitch for 5 minutes and then took questions from a panel of investment experts that included Bill Detwiler, CFO of Risk Assistance Network & Exchange, Mark Holdreith, Partner of Media Advisory Partners, and Joshua Sukenic, Senior Vice President of Sales and Growth Strategy of EBSCO Industries Inc.

FirstRain won the competition and received an opportunity that’s invaluable to any early-stage company – direct access to key players in the investment industry who will spend time with FirstRain executives, and provide input and guidance into their business.

The SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference featured the following companies:

The fifth annual SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference served as an exclusive opportunity for some of the most innovative emerging companies in the media and digital content, information services, education technology, and software services sectors. Over the past four years, the Strategic & Financial Investment conference has continually produced valuable financial partnerships and opportunities for participating companies.

More information on the event is available using the conference’s Twitter hashtag: #SIIAINVEST.

Bill Detwiler, Chief Financial Officer, Risk Assistance Network + Exchange Mark Holdreith, Partner, Media Advisory Partners Penny Herscher, President & CEO, FirstRain Inc. Ken Wasch, President, SIIA Mike Marchesano, Managing Director, ABM Joshua Sukenic, Senior Vice President of Sales and Growth Strategy, EBSCO Industries Inc.

(left to right)
Bill Detwiler, Chief Financial Officer, Risk Assistance Network + Exchange
Mark Holdreith, Partner, Media Advisory Partners
Penny Herscher, President & CEO, FirstRain Inc.
Ken Wasch, President, SIIA
Mike Marchesano, Managing Director, ABM
Joshua Sukenic, Senior Vice President of Sales and Growth Strategy, EBSCO Industries Inc.

DataContent Has Transformed into a Brand New Turbo-Charged Event: #BIMS14

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Plans are now underway for DataContent 2014, and it will be like no other event you’ve attended previously. That’s because DataContent is now part of a brand new turbo-charged event, the Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), to be held November 10-12, 2014 in Miami.

The Summit combines DataContent with two other key events: SIPA Marketing Conference and ABM Executive Forum — to expand networking and learning for you — and your team! In total, we will have 5 tracks. Here are the top five things you will learn at the DataContent sessions:

  1. monetizing the Internet-of-Things
  2. rising to the global data challenge
  3. making money, making markets
  4. powering data with analytics
  5. exploiting open data and API’s… and much more!

You’ll also meet and mingle with this year’s Models of Excellence winners. Singled out by InfoCommerce Group for being the best role models in the industry, they’ll provide pre-mainstream insights you can use to keep your content and business model ahead of the curve.

While DataContent will immerse you in all things data, you can also pick and choose sessions from the additional conference tracks with more than 45 additional sessions. But most important of all, you will be amongst the largest annual gathering of business information and media professionals.

Check out our complete schedule of pre-cons, sessions and networking opportunities; and register using code MIAMI to save via our pre-registration / Early Bird discount of $400! Stay up-to-date with the conversation on Twitter by following the event at #BIMS14.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Heather Cejovic today at 212.784.6363, or via email at hcejovic@siia.net

ABM Kicks Off Regional Training Series for B2B Media Companies

ABM announced the first in a series of regional training events for B2B media professionals.  The series of events is open to B2B media professionals of all experience levels, and is intended to provide intensive insight and education on essential media industry topics.

The first training event will be held on July 10 at the Chicago Executive Conference Center in Chicago, IL and will feature the following three concurrent tracks:

  • Digital Sales Training for B2B Media (9:15 am – 6:00 pm)
    ABM is teaming with renowned digital media sales trainers The Laredo Group to offer a full-day immersion into digital advertising sales. The track will provide participants with comprehensive knowledge in all aspects of interactive media delivery, measurement and creative.

    o   Member registration fee: $499
    o   Non-member registration fee: $670

  • Creating Data Products from Scratch (1:15 pm – 6:00 pm)
    Presented by Russell Perkins, founder and managing director at Info Commerce Group, this session will show publishers five key steps to building a data product, and demonstrate how to take control of the market and the audience data you collect through existing media channels to develop high margin data products that offer new, recurring revenue streams.

    o   Member registration fee: $199
    o   Non-member registration fee: $350

  • Editorial Best Practices & Workflow (1:15 pm – 6:00 pm)
    This session will help improve editors’ business understanding of digital platforms and the overall publishing model.  Topics include integrated editorial platforms, effective content curation, and best practices in social media, video and more.

    o   Member registration fee: $199
    o   Non-member registration fee: $350

For a complete schedule of events, visit: http://www.abmassociation.com/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=283. B2B professionals interested in attending can click here to register online. The training event concludes with a networking reception from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm.

The event is sponsored by Hallmark Data Systems and Publishers Press.  For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Heather Cejovic at 212-784-6363 or email her at hcejovic@siia.net.

WHO: American Business Media (ABM)
WHAT: ABM Regional Training Series: Edit, Digital Sales and Data Products
WHEN: July 10, 2014
WHERE: Chicago Executive Conference Center
                  8655 West Higgins Road
                  Chicago, Illinois 60631  

 

SIIA INFO Local: Data, Content, and Information Services

SIIA events are a casual way to meet other professionals from the content industry and keep on top of developments in open data, content marketing, the frontiers of data visualization, and the potential of crowdsourced information gathering.

Information Evolution sponsored the first SIIA INFO Local Meetup on April 30, 2014 in Austin, Texas. There, a crowd from diverse information-interested companies came together for an evening of networking. Attendees included representatives from The Daily Dot, Vital Interaction, Leadspace, Planview, Builder Homesite, Do512, Cubit, Dell, and Enlyton.

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View more photos from this event here and be sure to stay up-to-date on the next INFO Local: Austin coming in June.


Iyana Moore is the Marketing Intern for the Content & Information Services Division at SIIA. She is a graduate student at Bowie State University, where she is pursuing a master’s in Organizational Communications.

Software, Digital Content, B2B Media & Ed Tech’s Most Innovative Companies to Present at SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference (SFIC)

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today announced the first group of 8 companies selected to present at its Strategic & Financial Investment Conference. The event will be held June 18 at the Princeton Club in New York City.

The Strategic & Financial Investment Conference serves as an exclusive opportunity for you to hear about some of the most innovative emerging companies in media and digital content, information services, education technology, and software services sectors. During this one-day event, 24 hand-picked and carefully screened businesses will present to an invitation-only audience of investors, venture capitalists, M&A firms, corporate development officers and other investment professionals.  Now in its fifth year, the conference has produced financial partnerships that have helped accelerate the growth of presenting companies.

Debuting this year is an exciting opportunity called Lightning Round, where the top three attendee-selected presenting companies will compete to win a prize.  The winner will receive an opportunity that’s invaluable to any company presenting on June 18 – direct access to key players in the investment industry who will spend time with executives from the winning company and provide input and guidance to their business.

There are still a limited number of slots available for companies to present at SIIA’s Strategic & Financial Investment Conference.  To apply, visit http://www.siia.net/investment/2014/apply/. Information about previous presenting companies and their current status can be found here.

The SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference will feature a select group of public and private companies with revenues between $5 million and $250+ million, including the following companies, announced today:

  • Crimson Hexagon-Crimson Hexagon’s team is comprised of professionals at the vanguard of social media analysis, data processing, software development, marketing, and business. From up-and-coming professionals to seasoned leaders coming from diverse and accomplished backgrounds in academia, enterprise, Wall Street, and startup companies, the Crimson Hexagon team provides the social media analytics and insights our customers need to stay at the forefront of their industries.
  • Extole-Extole serves both B2C and B2B companies across a range of verticals, including: financial services, retail, and consumer subscription markets. We’ve delivered hundreds of referral programs that have helped acquire millions of new customers.
  • FirstRain, Inc.- Unlike general business data services, FirstRain analytics run on a sophisticated, infinitely scalable big data platform.  Its ability to find and organize only business-relevant data from the massive and ever-growing global Internet, gives each user personalized, real-time, highly relevant business insights into their  world.
  • Flat World Knowledge, Inc.- Flat World provides high-quality, affordable college textbooks and an online platform that allows instructors and institutions to personalize content in new ways to help students succeed. The company revolutionized the creation of higher education textbooks, using digital technology to more efficiently and affordably deliver quality content to more than 1 million students, 13,000 faculty, and 2,500 institutions worldwide.
  • LF Data- Lowerfees.com is a privately held technology and information company that targets service provider costs for consumer services. Lowerfees provides cost analysis and comparative shopping around many components of localized consumer services.
  • Mag+-Mag+ is based upon an InDesign plugin and made for creating tablet and smartphone apps without the need for programming skills. Perfect for consumer, corporate & enterprise apps.
  • NewBay Media, LLC-NewBay Media is positioned at the center of the world’s most dynamic industries — Music, AV/Pro Audio, Consumer Electronics/Gaming, Video & Broadcast, and Education. NewBay Media connects and informs these industries through our award-winning content, integrated media capabilities, and extraordinary events. Our unparalleled reach provides marketing partners with excited, engaged, and  targeted communities, effectively connecting them with decision makers and influencers in their  markets.
  • WhatCounts-WhatCounts provides data management, software, and services to marketing professionals seeking to deliver smart personalized digital messages to their target audiences. Each day WhatCounts team partners with over 800 customers to leverage email, social media, mobile devices, and the web to drive revenue.

The founding sponsor of the SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment Conference is The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc (JEGI). JEGI of New York, NY is the leading independent investment bank for the media, information, marketing, and technology sectors. Since 1987, JEGI has completed more than 500 M&A transactions for global corporations, middle-market and emerging companies, entrepreneurs, and private equity and venture capital firms.

Our host sponsor is The Parthenon Group, the leading advisory firm focused on strategy consulting, with offices in Boston, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, and Shanghai. Since its inception in 1991, the firm has embraced a unique approach to strategic advisory services built on long-term client relationships, a willingness to share risk, an entrepreneurial spirit, and customized insights. Also sponsoring the SIIA Strategic & Financial Conference is The Riverside Company. They are the global private equity firm focused on acquiring growing businesses valued at up to $250 million. Among its more than 330 lifetime transactions, Riverside has invested in more than 30 software and IT companies. Riverside’s Software and IT specialization team includes dedicated transacting and operating professionals with proven experience acquiring and growing companies in the industry. For more information or to register for the conference, visit the conference website https://www.siia.net/investment/2014/. You can also get updates in advance of the event with the conference’s Twitter hashtag: #SIIAINVEST.

The All New Business Information & Media Summit Combines 3 Events!

The all new Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), to be held November 10-12, 2014 in Miami combines the content of the SIPA Marketing Conference, ABM Executive Forum and DataContent – bringing together all the best knowledge, and all the industry movers and shakers, into one super-charged event. It will be the largest gathering of information and media leaders to date, offering you the opportunity to connect with people you never would otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

The lines that once separated business models are fading away. Advertising-based media companies are becoming data companies; subscription-based businesses are entering the events business; media marketing strategies and tactics are shifting constantly; and every media company needs to understand how new advertising networks are disrupting traditional business relationships. Speed to market is critical. It only makes sense that all of the key industry players come together to collaborate, address challenges and opportunities, and to help plan the future.

BIMS Highlights:

  • BIMS features five distinct learning tracks and more than 45 sessions for you to choose from across media, sales, marketing, data content, executive/CEO-oriented sessions and much more! There are tracks and sessions planned to interest both you and everyone on your team.
  • We will explore everything from revenue models, pricing strategies, B2B retargeting, marketing automation, open data, renewal strategies, growing site licenses and acquisitions, while also featuring hands-on sessions that include multi-channel marketing, social media, promotional copy, mobile marketing and much, much more.
  • Pre-conference “Boot Camps” will help you and your team do a ‘deep dive” into Data Publishing, Social Media and Marketing Events.
  • Models of Excellence honorees will be featured, highlighting “who’s doing it right” in data.
  • You’ll enjoy a Previews competition, where 6 emerging companies will present 5 minute pitches on their growing businesses.
  • You’ll also enjoy unprecedented networking opportunities and connect with other publishers, B2B media and data companies from all over the world as well as your industry peers. If you are a senior leader, data, sales or marketing expert, we will have programs to connect you with your peers across the industry to share best practices and network.

For more information visit our complete schedule: http://siia.net/bims/2014/schedule.asp.

Learn more about BIMS:

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