Outbrain outsmarts most of its rivals to attract larger numbers for clients

Outbrain is a recommendation platform that links earned and/or created content to premium publisher sites. A reporting suite helps clients measure and track content.

Outbrain is a recommendation platform that links earned and/or created content to premium publisher sites. A reporting suite helps clients measure and track content. 

A flexible CPC model which is similar to Google. The self-serve product starts at $10 per day. A minimum CPC structure of 15 cents is recommended, but CPC starts at 1 cent. Customers can cap cost and pace spending.

Dan Horowitz, EVP of digital, Fleishman-Hillard in Washington, DC, has been using Outbrain for six to eight months.

How do you use it?
I use it two ways. I can call or email my dedicated client services contact pretty much 24/7. I've emailed a new purchase order 11pm on Sunday, and the campaign was up by midnight. We work through the client service representative to start most campaigns.

There's also a self-service interface that we can log into any time to update the campaign and get analytics.

We determine what piece of client content we want Outbrain to syndicate and then we write headlines that support it. Usually we create eight to 10 headlines. Outbrain runs all 10, but when they have enough data to show which one performs best, they use the top one or two. 

We also determine how much money we want to spend for each campaign. You pay-per-click so it's very similar to paid search. It comes down to what clients have to spend, then we measure Outbrain against other forms of content marketing to ensure it's delivering based on what we're paying. If something's performing really well, we'll allocate more for it. If there's a problem I call our super responsive client rep.

How does it serve your business needs?
Outbrain delivers against earned and owned content through paid content. 

If you have a really good earned media placement, Outbrain can increase visibility and extend its reach by appearing on numerous other top-tier publisher sites with a link to the original earned media story.

For a food and nutrition industry coalition client, we know consumers are most likely going to be convinced of the science if they hear it from third party experts. We had a really good placement in a mid-tier newspaper, and Outbrain extended reach and increased visibility. Then Huffington Post wrote its own story about that article. We reached more consumers, which is great, but we also got another story written that reached way more people than the original story.

For a global financial services client, we're using Outbrain to promote its blog posts. The blog speaks to a niche audience, and Outbrain increases our ability to reach the right kind of audience for it.

Earned media tends to perform better than owned media because people will click on links from publishers they're familiar with, but we've found success with both.

How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from an IT standpoint?
It's web-based.

What are the main benefits?
As we spend more time focused on content marketing and helping clients increase content reach and visibility, tools like Outbrain are invaluable.

It's very flexible from a budget standpoint, so you don't have to wait to have a huge budget to try it or you can try a bunch of different pilots to see what works.

What are the main drawbacks?
The only one I've found is targeting. You can target by state, but unlike some other platforms, like Facebook, you can't target against age or demographic or anything like that. This means you need really good headlines to reach your intended audience.

What would you like to see improved/added?
I'd like to see the reporting integrated with some of our other tools. We're working on that with Outbrain.

Outbrain competes for search, display, content marketing, and content discovery budget, so its main competitors are Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

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