Daily Mail Invests $3 Million in Native Partner Taboola

'We're all competing against Facebook,' CEO says

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The Daily Mail is announcing today that it has invested $3 million in publishing-tech company Taboola, and there are two big reasons why—native ad dollars and speed.

"At the end of the day, we have to move so quickly," said Jon Steinberg, CEO of Daily Mail North America. "We're all competing against Facebook, ultimately."

That essentially means publishers need ad-tech folks at the ready at all times. In a social-first world, wait in line for help too often and consider yourself dead—and 3 million bucks gets anyone on speed dial. If you didn't think Facebook's Instant Articles and other publishing-focused features have gotten the attention of notable media players, think again. 

Steinberg, who left his executive post at BuzzFeed to help run Daily Mail a year ago, said he's developed a healthy kinship with Taboola CEO Adam Singold.

"These guys are my partners—I want to be able to throw in with them," he said. "The relationships and human factors in all of this is so enormous."

Native advertising seems enormous to his business, as well. About five months ago, Steinberg said he was dissatisfied with how "we were delivering our own native campaigns. We'd sell a native post for $10,000 and guarantee 40,000 views. We served them through DoubleClick, and it wasn't terribly efficient."

Now, his company is working more hand in hand with Taboola with hopes of executing native ads in a more timely fashion and increasing revenue. Additionally, Steinberg said the two will develop new kinds of ad units—think video and mobile—during the coming months.

Taboola also is announcing today a product that has been tested by Daily Mail with clients like Comedy Central and Strayer University. Taboola Native is a white-label version of Taboola's related/recommended articles feature, and it includes a slew of native ad formats.

Singold said the offerings represent "an opportunity for publishers to more easily present content that is more engaging and integrated into their site, allowing them to compete with Facebook and Twitter."

Steinberg suggested the Taboola arrangement could help Daily Mail gain a stronger foothold in the U.S., where it's been in business for four years.

"We've only had a fully commercial operation here for about a year," he said. "And that makes it even more important to find people we can trust and be aggressive with."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.