VP Business Development
For those of us not familiar with Carambola, please tell us more about your company and offering.
Carambola is a publisher-focused, cross device interactive content monetization platform. Through original premium content that we create in house, and our advanced page analysis, we offer contextual and monetized content units such as Trivia, Bios, Did you know, Tip of the day, On this day, etc. The units generate incremental revenue which we share with our publishers, while boosting engagement. We work with top publishers and demand providers and create a native hybrid product of content and monetization.
How do different types of content like Quizzes, Facts, Quotes, Bios, Polls increase user engagement? What type of engagement metrics have you seen so far for the publishers you work with?
The combination of contextuality + fun engaging content, creates high user interaction: We see up to 40% engagement, with average of 2 minutes interaction time, over 15 interactions per engaged user. The content is fully consumed within our publishers’ pages so they benefit the engagement and improved metrics.
After the user has viewed these additive pieces of content, how do you integrate ads into them?
We integrate ads within and around the content. We work closely with our publishers and customize the experience to fit each publisher’s specific strategy: In addition to the standard revenue share model, we also enable the publishers to sell into our units, or have it fully sponsored for their direct inventory.
Are there specific types of publishers that this works well for? How does your revenue-sharing program typically work for the publisher partners you work with?
Our library covers over 25 categories – from popular verticals such as Entertainment, Fashion, Food, Sports, etc to niche categories such as Space, Golf, Crafts, and more. Our units work best for online publishers that are looking to leverage our technology and library, and offer their readers a new but relevant content format, that’s fun to interact with.
What is your take on how the whole ad blocking issue will play out over the next few years?
Honestly, there’s currently too much vagueness around this issue, to allow long term evaluation. The whole ad blocking legal legitimacy is questionable, while we an evolving trend of newly balanced environment that will encourage less intrusive ad formats, and expansion of branded content.
Specifically, there’s a lot of uncertainty around ad blocking in mobile. Additional policy changes from Apple (for example integrating a default block) may quickly change the situation. Certainly, users’ awareness of the trade off between advertising and free content is going to increase, and the payment models (either micro payments or long term membership) are going to take place, mostly for the leading content brands.
The next two years are certainly going to be dramatic, mostly for content creators that are facing this issue.
From your internal data, are there any average eCPM payouts you can share for the publisher types you work with across vertical?
Obviously, we can’t share our publishers’ revenue information, but we work with the leading publishers and media companies, consistently generating revenue that’s higher than their programmatic alternatives, while we increasing user engagement.
What are your thoughts on programmatic advertising?
We believe that the consolidation trend will continue, through the programmatic channels. As a result, the quality of the inventory will continue to improve, facilitating ad cleanup, new inventory formats, and better optimizations. These tools will become more accessible for a growing number of publishers, which will enable publishers, including long tail, to “free up” from dependency in certain dominating providers, and facilitate a more open market.
At what point do you think it makes sense for a publisher reduce their reliance on Adsense, and start working with independent, specialized ad networks? Are there impression volume minimums for these types of partnerships?
It’s important to understand that the in-article placement, is a unique placement that requires a unique expertise and user-experience. The content is the center of the user’s attention, thus the user’s expectations and tolerations for this placement – are significantly different than standard ad placements. That’s why we recommend to place the standard ads before or below the article, or in the side bars, and for in-article, to only feature units that were built to be placed specifically there. Good in-article products, provide the users with relevant content that’s complete / relates to the article, not disturbs or breaks the experience.
Lastly, what is your take on the future for independent, specialized ad networks?
Independent ad networks that generate ad revenue only, will gradually go extinct as a result of the consolidation trend that the market goes through. There’s no value for a company that just offers the same ads from the same resources. The future belongs to companies that will find the balance between the opportunity to generate new revenue and value for the users / publishers. Relevant advertising is not a value. But new, relevant content experience is a huge differentiating value. Moreover, the growing usage of ad blocking, further increases the users awareness and sensitivity to ad experience, and will therefor “promote” the development of more user-friendly, content based monetization formats.
Carambola is a unique, publisher focused platform that creates new revenue streams for premium publishers, while enhancing the experience on their pages – rather than damaging it. The combination between Carambola’s ability to deeply understand publishers’ pages and our premium, original content library (artfully crafted by professional writers and editors) enables us to set a new bar when it comes to users engagement and satisfaction. Backed by Tier-1 VC, our goal is to become publishers’ preferred and trusted choice.
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