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What Outbrain’s Latest Tweaks Mean for Content Distribution

Digital content can be shared via Outbrain.

Content distribution. We know it’s important. In fact, we just wrote a substantial blog post about it.

In that post, we discussed many options for getting your content read, including Outbrain, a content recommendation platform that can get your content a lot of exposure for not a lot of money. We recently tested new features from Outbrain that make it an even more intriguing option for creating brand awareness – while better targeting audiences. 

Outbrain Outreach

Outbrain reaches a global audience of 561 million each month through online ads that are displayed below and to the side of news stories on various websites.

We did a test campaign with Outbrain in the spring and wrote an eBook about our experience, discovering that the service offered tremendous value for advertisers looking to expose their content to a massive audience at a low price.

Our first campaign garnered 1 million impressions for $362. That’s impressive ROI for content advertising – especially compared to other platforms.

For example, we ran a $100 Facebook for a client that reached an audience of 11,885. If a $300 ad tripled that audience–around 33,000–it would be a far cry from the 1 million impressions we received for the same price on Outbrain.

Another Outbrain Experiment

We ran another campaign this fall on the same budget and received 830 clicks and 1.5 million impressions, achieving twice as many goal conversions as our first campaign. Our bounce rate decreased by 5 percent while our conversion rate increased by 5 percent.

The difference? Better targeting.

During our first series of tests, we noted that some of our content was recommended on places we weren’t too excited about. A tabloid site called MobileLikes provided the most impressions. The site is highly-trafficked but doesn’t attract the kinds of readers who might be interested in our digital marketing services.

This time, we used Outbrain’s publisher filtering option to get our content on sites more likely to reach our target audience. Below you can see an example of a site we blocked – insidegrind.com – that is similar to MobileLikes.


Both sites probably receive high traffic, but not an audience that is suited for an inbound digital marketing agency like 9 Clouds.

The inbound marketing philosophy is about drawing in readers with valuable content and nurturing a relationship that will potentially develop into business interest down the road. We write anything from tips on eye health for computer users to creating the correct hashtags on Instagram.

Answers.com, Time Inc., and FoxNews are news and information sites where readers are much more likely to look for informative articles rather than the latest news on Kim Kardashian.


Campaign Results

According to the calculations we set up on Google Analytics, each goal conversion (a reader spending at least 30 seconds on a single post) on our blog is worth $10 to our business. Our second campaign achieved 61 conversions while the first had 30. So we essentially doubled the value of the campaign to our business from $300 to $600. 

We were impressed by how effective the publisher filtering feature is. This tool is now included within the Outbrain user dashboard and is a user-friendly tool. By blocking sites where users are unlikely to convert, we optimized our campaign to draw in more potential reads and, hopefully, more customers down the road.

If you run an Outbrain campaign, you still can’t handpick the sites your content lands on, meaning you might end up on a tabloid site. However, the company is making a concerted effort (including a new KPI tool) to allow you to quickly block your advertising from any site, thus improving your chances of gaining readership in the competitive world that is online content.

Another option is to use referrer source reports in Google Analytics to send Outbrain ID numbers of sources that are delivering a low session duration or high bounce rate. Outbrain will then block those sources using that information. We may be testing some more of these features down the road – so stay tuned!

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