Outbrain Review + Overview

Screenshot of Outbrain's homepage

What is Outbrain?

Outbrain is a native advertising network that offers a “content recommendation engine” that provides recommended links to audiences via native ad widgets built into the content of websites, facilitating what Outbrain calls “a more personalized reading experience”. 

The platform helps publishers generate revenue by displaying these “ad widgets on their sites, and helps advertisers generate leads and sales and awareness by running ads on these widgets.

In summary, Outbrain allows advertisers to reach potential customers through running ads that will appear on many top websites, such as CNN, BBC, Time, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, and more.

 

Here is a video on the Outbrain YouTube channel, in which the company’s co-founder, Yaron Galai explains what Outbrain is. 

 

Company Info

Outbrain hails itself as “the world’s leading discovery and native advertising feed for the open web”. 

They also state that “one third of the world’s Internet-connected population explore and discover information through our feed technology”.

 

According to Outbrain’s LinkedIn page:

  • The company was founded in 2006  by Yaron Galai and Ori Lahav
  • Their headquarters is located in  New York. 
  • The company currently operates in 55 countries with a total of 788 employees. 

 

Outbrain for Advertisers

Outbrain services & tools for advertisers

Here is a screenshot of what Outbrain has in store for Advertisers.

 

On their website, Outbrain states that:

Advertisers can create an emotional connection with audiences with timely and experience-based native advertising.

Timely –  Native ads delivered at the right time evoke an emotional connection with audiences, leading to improved engagement

Experience –  Feed-based experiences across the open-web provide a rich and diverse experience for improved performance

Real Interests – Our interest graph captures hundreds of characteristics that capture real interests based on content consumption

 

Here are some statistics listed for Advertisers on the Outbrain website:

  • 290 million native stories delivered each month 
  • 100% premium publisher network
  • 1.8 billion daily pageviews

 

Outbrain Targeting Options For Advertisers

Outbrain allows advertisers numerous targeting options, including the capability of targeting by:

-Location (country, region, city, zip code)

-Device type (desktop, tablet, smartphone)

-Device brand (iOS vs Android, etc)

-Browser

-Publisher (advertisers can block certain website or raise/lower the bid on certain websites)

-Time (day of week/hour of day/etc)

-Demographics And Interests (note: Outbrain’s demographic and interest-based targeting is still limited in scope compared to other advertising networks like Facebook or Google)

-Retargeting

-Lookalike audiences (via their own internal data as well as the uploading of hashed email lists)

 

Outbrain has also introduced “Conversion-Based Optimization” where their internal AI (artificial intelligence) system optimizes campaigns on it’s own to maximize conversions (as seen in the screenshot below).

Conversion options

 

 

Advertisers can also track and optimize their campaigns within Outbrain’s advertiser dashboard (see below).

Outbrain advertiser dashboard screenshot

 

 

Outbrain For Publishers

Screenshot of Outbrain for publishers

Outbrain states that their feed technology “empowers media companies and publishers to compete with the walled gardens on audience acquisition, engagement, and retention.”

In laymen’s terms, Outbrain’s platform allows publishers to place ad widgets on their sites and generate revenue as a result. 

Small and large web publications alike work with Outbrain to monetize their audiences in this fashion.

Just like with advertisers, Outbrain’s “publishers” (those websites placing Outbrain’s ad widgets on their site) can utilize the Outbrain dashboard to track their progress and optimize their use of Outbrain’s ad widgets, in order to make sure they generate as much revenue as possible.

Publishers can also exercise some control over what types of ads run on their sites.

 

Screenshot of OB native ad widget on CNN

Here is an example of the Outbrain native ad widget on CNN:

 

Outbrain In The News

A recent press release published on September 26, 2020, on prweb.com talked about Outbrain’s launch of Carousel, an interactive Smartad format designed to offer brands the possibility of showcasing various products and offers in a swipeable gallery fashion.

Here is an extract from the article: 

“COVID-19 has heavily influenced consumer shopping habits, further accelerating the shift towards e-commerce,” said Eytan Galai, CRO at Outbrain. “With Carousel, marketers are able to successfully mimic the physical shopping experience of comparing products, at the point when consumers are the most engaged. By showcasing many of the products and offerings most relevant to a brand’s target audience, we’re making it easier to tell a brand story while driving real results digitally.”

 

Another article in prweb.com, titled “Outbrain’s New Mobile App Install Advertising Experience Drives 90% Lift in Conversions”, mentioned the recent app development: “Outbrain’s App Install Smartad™ features several new elements, including logo, CTA button, and interactive GIFs, creating a more seamless and engaging experience. It joins Outbrain’s Performance Smartad solutions suite: Outbrain’s native advertising formats powered by proprietary targeting using Outbrain’s interest graph data.”

In an interview for businessinsider.in, Sandeep Balani, Head of India – Outbrain, talked about the platform’s influence in India’s internet marketing sphere. To read more, click here

Also- as with other native advertising networks- Outbrain has received criticism (largely from legacy news outlets) that the ads that run on their network represent “the worst of the web”, as Fortune once stated.

 

 

Outbrain Merger With Taboola

Outbrain has often been compared with competitor Taboola.

Both companies, Taboola and Outbrain, were founded in 2006 in Tel Aviv, Israel and both are well-positioned in the content recommendation sector.

(Note: To learn more about Taboola, read our thorough breakdown and in-depth article on the company here.)

In 2019, Outbrain Inc. announced its intention to merge with Taboola Ltd..

Several roadblocks lined this path, as the Justice Department and UK and Israeli regulators started looking into whether a merger of the two companies would hurt competition and in turn, have a negative impact on publishers. 

After a couple of months, the Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department’s antitrust division has carefully reviewed the proposed merger before informing the management of both parties, Taboola and Outbrain, that it wouldn’t object to the deal. 

However, in September 2020, the Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist reported that Taboola and Outbrain have ceased merger discussions, citing differences on both sides. 

Yaron Galai, Outbrain founder and co-CEO, and David Kostman, co-CEO, wrote in an email:  “Over the past few months, we recognized just how fundamentally different Outbrain and Taboola are when it comes to our values, corporate culture, and business approach.”

On the other side, Taboola’s leadership seemed to argue that the main issues were financial, and CEO Adam Singolda stated that: “The original deal does not make sense anymore”.

 

Outbrain Contact Info And Social Media Presence

You may reach Outbrain online via the following social media pages:

 

Conclusion

That is a basic run-down of Outbrain as a company and a native advertising network. For more information on Outbrain, you can visit their website here, check out their blog here, or listen to their podcast here.

In addition, we here at OBpedia.com are long-time users of Outbrain, and believe that it is an excellent choice for advertisers and publishers looking for companies to work with within the native ads space.

As a result, while we officially recommend only a very small number of products and services, Outbrain is an advertising network that we do heartily endorse.

 

 

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