Rubicon Project and Telaria today announced an agreement to combine in a stock-for-stock merger. Rubicon Project and Telaria are listed in the New York Stock Exchange: NYSE:RUBI and NYSE:TLRA.
Upon closing, Telaria stockholders are expected to own approximately 47.1% and Rubicon Project stockholders are expected to own approximately 52.9% of the fully diluted shares of the combined company.
According to Rubicon Project, the merge of the 2 companies will create the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising platform, poised to capture the growth in Connected TV (CTV).
Telaria is a leader in Connected TV, and Rubicon Project is an expert in programmatic operations. Rubicon Project is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, while Telaria is headquartered in New York. Combined, the new company will have over 600 employees and contractors in 19 cities in 11 countries.
“Our businesses are highly complementary, and when combined, are a powerful, strategic alternative to the walled gardens, which have been frustrating both buyers and sellers due to their lack of transparency, innovation bottlenecks, and conflicted business models,” stated Telaria CEO, Mark Zagorski. “The two companies will provide more technology resources, a broader geographic footprint and deeper financial assets to attack the growing opportunity created by the shift from linear viewing to CTV to the benefit of our customers and in support of a thriving open internet. For our stockholders, we believe this merger allows us to accelerate our growth, while providing additional resources to increase investment and continue to scale our industry-leading CTV technology. For our employees, this is an opportunity for development and to fully realize the potential of what we have built these past few years in a scaled, omnichannel platform.”
Upon closing, Michael Barrett (Rubicon Project) will be named Chief Executive Officer of the combined company, Mark Zagorski (Telaria) will be named President & Chief Operating Officer and David Day will be the Chief Financial Officer. Telaria board member Paul Caine will be Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the combined company. The full board will consist of nine members; four existing directors from each company and Michael Barrett, CEO.
The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020.
Here the speech of Michael Barrett, during today’s webcast:
Mark and I are pleased to announce that we have entered into a definitive agreement to combine Rubicon Project and Telaria in a stock-for-stock merger. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies.
The combination of Rubicon Project and Telaria creates the world’s largest, independent sell-side advertising platform. It will provide programmatic buyers and sellers with a single place for transacting CTV, web, traditional video, audio and mobile advertising inventory unmatched by any other independent exchange.
On top of strengthening the depth in formats we serve, there are numerous key strengths that this combination creates to create significant separation from our programmatic competitors. This is driven by the massive scale of volume we serve, literally hundreds of billions of daily ad requests, to our speed of execution, to our efficiency, to our low cost unit economics, to our data science and our ID initiatives, just to name a few.
This transformative combination builds on our commitment to trust and transparency and accelerates our strategy to provide buyers and sellers with the most efficient paths to every format and channel including CTV. We could not be more excited about the future as we bring together two industry leaders with strong businesses, complementary technical assets and incredible cultures to create a market leader in the industry that will generate significant opportunities for our employees, customers, partners and stockholders.
From the Rubicon Project perspective, despite having a solid video business and a small but rapidly growing CTV business, we were looking at a meaningful investment over an uncertain period of time to position us to effectively and aggressively compete for share in the CTV market with Telaria, SpotX and Freewheel. It is not news to anyone that CTV is an exciting growth opportunity in the digital programmatic market and we’re happy to take on the opportunity in combination with an industry leader with greater scale together than we could separately. We believe it’s just a matter of time before video is more than half of the combined company’s revenues and CTV will be the strongest long term driver.
For the past 2 years, I’ve talked about our 3 key growth drivers – SPO, video and Demand Manager. This transaction reshuffles which will be our largest growth driver but doesn’t change our view that each will drive meaningful future revenue growth for the business.
In fact, we think adding to the video offerings, specifically CTV, is extremely complementary to SPO and Demand Manager.
In SPO, we’ve seen DSPs, agencies and buyers treat CTV differently and retain most key CTV players, outside of the omni-channel sell side platforms, which we believe positions us even stronger in this process over the next 12-18 months.
In the long run, we also see a path to CTV and broader video being sold via header bidding, more specifically in Prebid, and believe the strength that we bring in serving the developing market today as it becomes more mainstream in header bidding allows us to cover the entire market opportunity.
We are very pleased to have come through the challenges presented when I joined nearly 3 years ago now and begin playing offense and bolstering the long term strategic value proposition of Rubicon Project. We were able to organically take a challenged business and restore it to a healthy, growing business with solid financial performance, which provided the opportunity for a transaction like the one we announced today.
M&A has played an important part of our turnaround and differentiation since I joined Rubicon Project – buying nToggle in mid 2017, followed by RTK last quarter and now a game-changing merger with Telaria, which transforms our long term strategic prospects. The enhancement of our revenue growth prospects, combined with the financial discipline we’ve demonstrated historically, makes me very excited about our company’s future.
Before handing over to Mark, I want to highlight that outside of the obvious leadership position Telaria has in CTV, I’m very excited about the combined prospects in web video and adding a great team of people with great strategic relationships.
With that, I will hand things over to Mark, who will assume the role of President and Chief Operating Officer upon closing of the transaction, to share some of his thoughts about today’s deal.
Here the speech of Mark Zagorski, during today’s webcast:
This transaction is a great deal for both of our shareholders and is an exciting strategic opportunity for both companies. Together, we will have more technology resources, a broader geographic footprint and deeper financial assets to go after the opportunities that exist in digital advertising.
This merger allows us to accelerate our growth, while providing additional resources to increase investment and continue to scale our industry-leading CTV technology.
We are two category leaders combining strengths to form the largest independent sell side advertising platform. Telaria is a proven leader in CTV.
We have led innovation in the space which has resulted in us partnering with the most premium CTV publishers around the globe. Rubicon Project brings their technical expertise in high speed, high-volume transactions across the entire digital advertising ecosystem. The powerful suite of technology assets that will result from the combined entity will enable us to further broaden and deepen our relationships with publishers, create additional differentiation from our industry peers and help both companies grow share as an independent, transparent and unconflicted alternative to the walled gardens.
As more consumers cut the cord, more CTV content becomes ad-supported and more CTV publishers embrace programmatic technology, our prospects for continued growth are strong.
I’m very excited to add the capabilities that Rubicon Project brings to our combination. Our go to market approach now includes all formats to serve publisher and buyer needs across all platforms. A great example of where we have opportunities to leverage a broader set of solutions is in the APAC region where Telaria has traditionally had a strong CTV and video position. We will now have the ability to offer a complete set of solutions to complement our relationships in that market and others around the globe.
Before I hand the call over to David Day, I would also like to add that we are really excited about bringing the complementary cultures together into one unified force. Both companies have been pioneers in their respective spaces and embody the true spirit of the open internet. Bringing them together will provide a formidable alternative to the market and provide benefits to buyers, sellers and consumers of digital advertising, while delivering bottom line results and helping to enhance shareholder value.
What You Need to be Doing NOW to Get Your Shop Ready for Black Friday
Did you know that 130 million users use Facebook and Instagram to discover sales and buy products during Black Friday weekend alone?
This means that setting your shop up for success is an excellent way to attract all shopaholics into your business and make serious money. But, with so little time, how can you know what you’re supposed to do?
Well, after talking with Meta experts, I’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist with everything you need to do AHEAD of Black Friday if you want your Instagram or Facebook Shop to be a huge success this holiday.
So read on, and start planning now!
11 Things you need to do to get your shop Black Friday ready
The key to a successful Black Friday is reaching the right audience with the right products. In years past, this meant a well-placed ad in the local newspaper or a spot on the radio. But today, the best way to reach potential shoppers is through social media. And of all the social media platforms out there, Instagram and Facebook offer the best buying experience.
Facebook and Instagram Shops provide an easy way for businesses to showcase their products and reach a wide audience, and offer a convenient way to browse and purchase items with just a few clicks. Plus, since most users are already using these social media platforms *we’re talking about more than 3 billion*, it has become a natural way to shop.
So if you’re a business owner looking to take advantage of Black Friday, setting up an Instagram or Facebook shop is a must, and here are the best tips to do so:
1. Start planning your holiday strategies if you haven’t already
For many businesses, Black Friday is make-or-break time, when they can either turn a profit or end up in the red. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid plan in place for dealing with traffic.
By mapping out a strategy beforehand, businesses can avoid being overwhelmed by the high demand and ensure that everyone has a positive experience. This means, planning your offer and deals ahead of time, placing your ads budget, doing product inventory, organizing customer service, etc.
Regarding offers, Instagram and Facebook Shops allow businesses to set up coupons and discount codes during checkout, and timely offers to display their deals. Offer parity with your site is key. So be sure to review #7!
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2. Update your Meta Shop banners
In order for retailers to lure customers into their shops, they need to make sure their signage is up-to-date and eye-catching. This is especially true for banners, which are the first thing people see when hunting for good deals and promotions.
A well-designed banner can help to create a sense of urgency and excitement, convincing shoppers that they need to act now in order to get the best deals. These act as hero images from a traditional site, but for your Instagram Shop.
Additionally, they can be used to highlight specific sales or promotions, making it easy for shoppers to find the products they’re looking for. After all, what good is a sale if no one knows about it?
So if you’re looking to make the most of this busy shopping day, don’t forget to update your social shop banners with eye-catching designs. It could make all the difference in attracting customers to purchase in your store.
3. Make your organic media is shoppable
Facebook and Instagram Shops allow you to tag a product every time you post a picture, reel, story, or video. This is especially relevant because it drives users from an organic publication to your shop where they can check all the information about the item they’re interested in.
Plus, tagging can give you clean insights to how they’re interacting with products and creatives.
Hat tip: Did you know that you can tag your products in the description of your feed posts? No more using ‘link in bio’ in your copy for your organic posts. Use the @ symbol and choose ‘products’, once you have found your product select it and BAM, your product is now linkable in your Instagram post’s description!
4. Set your products up for success
Each product description should contain anything and everything a user needs in order to buy. This includes:
- Engaging and informative product descriptions
Standing out from the crowd of sellers can be especially hard during the holidays. However, a great way to do that is to make sure your product descriptions are clear, concise, and compelling.
No matter if you’re selling clothes, accessories, or home decor, a good product description will tell potential customers everything they need to know about a product, including its features, benefits, etc. Plus, it should also be engaging, so that shoppers are tempted to click “add to cart”, so don’t forget about the call to action and use strong and convincing language to urge the buyers to take your deal.
Be sure to exclude urls in your product description because it’s not allowed. Keep your product descriptions centered on benefits and remember, users often have 1-3 seconds to evaluate the efficacy and interest in a product from a product description.
Images that are well-lit and clearly show the product details can be the difference between a customer clicking “add to cart” or moving on to the next item on their list.
For Instagram and Facebook Shops, images need to be at least 500×500 pixels. Additionally, it’s important that you include more than just one image and focus on features.
Extra tip: according to Meta experts, if your product is in the lifestyle category, detailed product images can help you increase your possibilities of making a sale by 6-8%.
Extra extra tip: Include an image of a customer’s selfie with the product. Showcasing real customers using or holding your product makes a big difference with your conversions.
- Include price, availability, and sizes
No one will buy anything from your shop if you don’t have this information! So check your products and make sure that all of them include the deal price, pieces in stock, and sizes (this one applies only for items that are in categories like: Clothing Accessories, Newborn & Baby Fashion Accessories, and Costume Accessories)
Regarding sizes, you can (and should) add a size chart to help users feel confident in the purchase decisions and potentially reduce return rates.
Bear in mind: July 2022, Meta changed the basic information each item showcased in their shops needs to have in order to be displayed, so click here to discover everything your products need to have!
5. Update your catalog
An outdated catalog will make it difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, and they may decide to do their shopping elsewhere.
So, it’s important that you check and update your catalog to display all the products that are on sale to help your customers make important purchase decisions and drive sales.
Taking this into account, your catalog should:
- Have all the products displayed with their variants
- Include product details: complete all data fields (materials, ingredients, multiple images, videos, and size charts where applicable)
- Be maintained: update collections with new items and inventory quantity. Regarding this, you can use Meta Pixel to automatically update your catalog and reduce operational load.
6. Enable checkout on Facebook and Instagram Shops
Redirecting users to your own website or another platform in order to complete a sale is inconvenient and can lead to lost sales. So, it’s HIGHLY recommended that you set up your shop with checkout, if you’re allowed,to help potential customers discover and buy your products on one platform.
**For eligible stores in the US, all fees are waived through the end of 2022 for enabled checkouts.
Onsite checkout can be set up in Commerce Manager and it’s available for US shops only; it will give insights into shopper demographic and full-funnel conversion data which, in return, can help you optimize your campaigns.
7. Offer Parity
An Instagram or Facebook Shop is an extension of your store, but in a more consumable form that doesn’t require users to go from a place to another in order to buy something. This means that both should offer the same data: from prices and deals, to contact information and banners.
Why? Because some people may find your social shop and make their purchase there, meanwhile others would prefer to go to your website to get more information about you, so offer parity is a must if you want to build trust with potential customers. After all, no one wants to find mismatched prices!
8. Enable product reviews
By reading reviews, users can get an idea of what other shoppers thought of a particular item before they make a purchase and it can help them make informed decisions. That’s why they’re a key player when it comes to driving sales during Black Friday.
Regarding this, US shops with onsite checkouts have access to ratings and reviews and can manage them in Commerce Manager, which will allow you to check customer feedback and answer them.
Remember this: you need to have a shop with onsite checkout to enable product reviews and ratings.
Moreover, it’s possible to import reviews from 3rd parties! For now, Yotpo and Bazarro are active, meanwhile, Okendo and Stamped.io will be available with the reviews section in the next quarter.
9. Don’t forget about user-generated content
User-generated content has the added benefit of being more authentic and relatable than traditional marketing materials. It’s this human element that can be critical in helping persuade undecided shoppers to make a purchase. In fact, UGC drives a 9% increase in CTA clicks for buy now or view on the website
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During Black Friday, this type of content can be a valuable tool for helping brands connect with consumers and build trust, so it’s important to include it in your strategy.
For this, you can use images and videos of different customers using, wearing, and loving your products or provide buyers with information like “how to use” or tips that can help them make the most out of an item.
If you go to the UGC section of your commerce account, you can find UGC that’s ready for potential use in your stories and in your Meta Shops. You can find any images that tagged your handle or used one of your branded hashtags. When you find images that you’d like to use, you can send a request to that user’s profile for permission of usage of that media in your store.
It’s really that easy!
10. Leverage Shopping Ads and Catalog Ads
Instagram shopping ads allow businesses to showcase their products directly in the Instagram feed.
By tagging product photos with relevant information, businesses can create ads that include pricing, product descriptions, and a link to purchase the product. These ads are designed to be highly visual and engaging, and they provide a convenient way for users to learn about and purchase products without ever leaving Instagram.
On the other hand, Advantage+ Catalog Ads are a must-try for those businesses that have a large catalog of products and don’t want to be bothered by having to create a different ad per product. Instead, this type of ad helps you to create one campaign for all your products and show it to people that are interested in even one item from your catalog by creating an individual ad.
By integrating Catalog and Shop Ads into your paid media plan for Black Friday, you can attract possible customers and take them through your sales funnel all in one platform.
If you’re not familiar with these types of ads, you should start experimenting and scaling them as you see fit from now on! Also, don’t forget to set up your CPA!
*** Black Friday ad ramp up should begin by September 20th. October 15th is the BIG day when everyone enters the Meta Ads marketplace and auction pressure increase***
11. Prepare your customer support service
Answering questions from possible customers in less than 24 hours increases their possibility to make a purchase by 50%, that’s why it’s important to invest in effective customer service to help users get a clear understanding of your business and build trust.
With Facebook and Instagram Shops, you can get an email every time someone asks specific questions and reply by using the feedback tag on Commerce Manager. These replies become publicly available helping future customers see that social proof to make better buying decisions.
However, this feature is only available if you have enabled checkout and are an admin to the commerce account.
When should you start?
The peak of users eager to get Black Friday deals starts from October 15th to the big date *yes, more than a month before Black Friday*, so it’s crucial that you start optimizing your Instagram and Facebook Shops ASAP.
And, if you feel like this long list may overwhelm you and already give you a headache, at Mongoose Media we have a team of experts that will take this task from you and make the most out of your shop to go from plan to bestselling during the holidays!
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