9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


Would “real” businesses benefit from Outbrain?

Outbrain is a content distribution network.

As we have previously discussed, Outbrain can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your website.

But not every business can take advantage of this tool. So who can?

Editorial Content Required

For a quick refresher – Outbrain is a content distribution network which runs the display ads you see on popular websites such as CNN, Slate, and ESPN. Despite some of the whacky headlines you might find in these display ads, the content distributor vets each post per specific guidelines. The most basic requirement is that content must be editorial in nature. Blatant advertisements will not be accepted.

In other words, you must write about a product – not submit an advertisement for it. Some examples of accepted content include blog posts, editorial articles, earned media (more on that later), videos and slideshows.

Acceptable Outbrain Content (editorial blog post)

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 10.38.20 AM

Unacceptable Outbrain Content (direct website link)

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 10.37.06 AM

What is acceptable?

During our initial test campaign (watch our blog for more on this later), we discovered that 9 Clouds is the type of business that fits the platform well. We publish a blog regularly. Even when referring to our own products, our posts are editorial and therefore accepted. Now, if we were to submit direct links from our website, Outbrain would reject our content (see above examples of acceptable and unacceptable content). The distribution network defines content as “any article, video, slideshow, infographic, or earned media that offers informational and/or entertainment value to the reader outside of information about the product or service.” Outbrain won't accept links to website homepages and section fronts, PDF's and self-promotional items.

Therefore, content publishers are some of the best candidates for an Outbrain campaign. Bloggers, newspaper websites and other content creators have found their niche on the content distribution network. If your business doesn't regularly churn out content, Outbrain probably isn't the right advertising platform for you. If you have a basic website without a blog or email campaign, your options for Outbrain will be limited. That is, unless your product is often mentioned or reviewed in the media. Referred to as “earned media,” a product review is considered acceptable content for Outbrain. For example, Apple could run a campaign without writing any of its own content, as the company could simply post the hundreds of online reviews on the web about iPods, iPhones, Macbooks, etc.

Other businesses that use Outbrain

If content publishing isn't the primary function of your business, you can still use Outbrain. For example, a car dealership which regularly publishes blog posts could use that content to drive traffic to its website via Outbrain and convert customers. The dealer would need to use catchy headlines and target carefully using the geotargeting feature to ensure that the campaign would reach potential customers. A dull headline such as “Compare Midsized Sedans” wouldn't compete with Outbrain clickbait headlines like “8 Ways to Live Forever.”

Even if you don't use Outbrain, we at 9 Clouds still believe that every business has the opportunity to gather a loyal audience with regularly-published, high-quality content. Want to read more about content distribution? Download our eBook below.

Download Content Distribution eBook