Weather Co. goes all-in on 'Taboola Feed,' a Facebook Newsfeed clone

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IBM-owned The Weather Company says it's going all-in on Taboola Feed, which mimics the look and feel of Facebook's News Feed, the publication said Thursday, making it perhaps the largest publisher to adopt the format.

Like Facebook's News Feed, Taboola Feed is an infinite scroll that surfaces both the publisher's own content as well as content from other platforms in so-called cards. It differs from the box of paid links traditionally seen from the New York-based ad-tech company.

Weather Co. says its pages saw an average uplift in revenue per thousand impressions, or RPM, of 158 percent after piloting Taboola Feed in place of Taboola's previous widget, adding that the figure went as high as 353 percent on certain pages.

Although Taboola has received its fair share of criticism—the company recently said it's purging sketchy publishers that use sexually suggestive pictures to drive traffic to their site—Taboola's business is booming. The company reported revenue of $350 million in 2015, but now says it's on pace to hit $1 billion this year.

"The average person spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook, and that is some 2 billion people who are scrolling and scrolling," says Taboola CEO Adam Singolda. "But when you look at the open web, there is an opportunity to give them something familiar, like Facebook."

Singolda says Taboola Feed typically increases revenue between 40 percent and 50 percent. "Publishers previously had to make a trade off between their own content and their sponsored content," he says. "This allows a publisher to have both."

Weather Co. adds that it will provide Taboola cards of its own, featuring the weather and local news, to appear on other sites that host the Feed. Tapping on a card sends a user to the provider's page.

If a card links to paid content, Taboola and the publisher that hosts the Feed split the revenue.

Sheri Bachstein, global head of consumer business at Weather Co., says the company tested both its own cards and hosting Taboola's feed for about a year before deciding to fully roll out both. "There's been an uptick in engagement and click through," she says. "It's amazing when you track how much people are scrolling and how far they will go."

Weather Co. is ranked as the 25th most visited site, according to ComScore. Websites that receive that much traffic can reap millions from outfits such as Taboola.

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