Ben Young
Ben Young
October 4, 2019

Back in the hot seat, it’s been a full on couple of weeks but read on.

For those who follow Nudge, we have soft-launched a ‘for all content marketers’ solution. You can check it out here. It’s pretty neat.

And that seems a fitting thing to announce on the 250th edition. Native is now the norm, content is now the norm. Thank you all for reading! The comments, intros, submissions are what really makes it.


One big thing
Taboola announced their acquisition of OutBrain this week – with an as yet TBD name change to follow. The deal was $250m cash and 30% equity in the combined entity.

What does this mean? It means, they can stop fighting each other and bidding each other up (bad for pubs?) but this is countered by smarter technology investment and operations. Which improves margins, in turn they can deliver more revenue to pubs or invest smartly. Likely a bit of both. Focusing technology investment on improving the overall ad rates, benefits all involved.

Despite snark around their model. In a world of, building a ‘we’re not Google or Facebook’ they have the wind behind their backs.

Taboola CEO Adam talks about being an ‘ad tech stack for any brand’ but today that’s not their business model. They’re not a SAAS company, they make money from ads. They’re like YouTube or Spotify, make money off others content and share the revenue. To get this public, they’ll likely pick up some owned and operated sites. Otherwise they’ll just get squeezed by publishers on the transparency of their revenue share.

An O&O will help them in that.

Notable stories this week

  • [Long read] The new era of influencer marketing, this is a good summary of the spectrum of challenges and opportunities facing influencers.
  • In partnership with the BBC, FedEx Express is growing its international brand through content.
  • The strain of revenue diversification on pubs.
  • [Must read] German publisher Burda increased ad revenue by cutting ad clutter – and putting the user experience first.
  • BDG is launching a tech site.
  • Shutterstock is accelerating its branded content solutions.
  • Reddit ads new ‘card view’ ad format.
  • Podcast ad blockers are here?!
  • Verizon is preparing for 5G with AR native ads.
  • Hearst’s goal is to be the world’s leading data-driven media company by, among other things, using data to support its content creation with analysts and insights, and enhancing its advertising offerings.”
  • GroupM launches NextM a content advertising agency in Australia.
  • A new survey by Gartner found that the majority of chief marketing officers at large companies in North America and the U.K. surveyed believe their marketing budgets will rebound in 2020, despite economic uncertainty.
  • Moat and GIPHY partner to measure GIPHY branded content.
  • BuzzFeed, Group Nine and Insider form alliance to co-sell video ads.
  • This Twitter thread from Kerry Flynn on Joy Robins, WaPo CRO in growing their business.


  • Vox acquires NY Mag, helping broaden its offerings to advertisers and bringing some of that print property sheen to the portfolio.
  • Refinery29 is acquired by Vice for stock valuation at below $500m presuming a $4b valuation for Vice. Really, they agreed on a percentage amount, say 12.5% and that was it. The total value doesn’t really matter given the volatility in the market. I think this is smart, R29 is good property, spread the brand sales, bring in affiliate/ecommerce revenue (they’re good at content to commerce).

Campaign of the week

Datapoints of note

  • Amid declining ad revenue from ad blockers, Burda cut a quarter of ad impressions. In turn, digital ad revenues rose slowly back up, with an average 38% year-on-year lift recorded across all its titles in 2018.
  • ^ A great case study for others wondering if lower ad load CAN lead to better revenue.
  • Today, about 75% of BDG’s revenue comes from direct-sold advertising, 90% of which involves some branded content creation.
  • Brand mentions in the podcast deliver on average 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than the surrounding content (in contrast, global radio benchmarks show brand mentions on average score 5% lower than content).
  • Also in the same study, an elevated state of engagement for brand mentions also drives brand metrics across the board: awareness (+89% uplift), brand consideration (+57%), brand favourability (+24%), and purchase intent (+14%).




Nudge is a dashboard for your content.
Nudge is built by marketers and aims to serve brands investing in content-based media, across any category, looking to illustrate ROI, generate deep performance insights, and save time.