The power of content discovery tools: Looking at Outbrain & how to leverage it

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | July 2017

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Over the last month, we’ve been talking quite a bit about content marketing. We’ve covered everything from the basics of how a content marketing strategy can impact your organic traffic to what tools are best to manage it all. However, while building your organic traffic with your content is a very effective tactic, it can take a while to see results. Today we’re going to talk about how content discovery platforms can build exposure and increase your reach quickly.

Simply put, content discovery platforms, like Outbrain and Taboola, are ad networks that place ads in “Recommended Stories,” “Sponsored Stories” sections found on large publishers and news sites.

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If you’re thinking about running a content discovery campaign, there are three key factors you need to consider first.


  1. Define your goal. Do you want to drive traffic to your blog, build brand awareness or increase conversions?
  2. Identify your audience. Who are you trying to reach and what are their digital habits? Get help with this step through our guide.
  3. Determine what content to promote. What content will resonate with your audience? Does the content contain a clear call to action?

Now, how to set up your first Outbrain campaign

Now that you’ve answered some of the basics, you’re ready to get started. We’ll use the Outbrain platform in our example today.

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Once you create an Outbrain account, you can create a campaign. At this point, you’ll name your campaign, schedule your campaign and then set your budget, targeting and tracking.

Next you’ll upload your content, write headlines and attach images. Be sure and test different headline and image variations to find what performs best.

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Outbrain uses over 50 algorithms grouped into four basic buckets: personal, behavioral, contextual and popularity. Learn more about how Outbrain's four algorithm segments work

Don’t be alarmed if your campaign is not performing right away. Outbrain’s algorithm take a few days to optimize and show your content. They recommend running the campaign for at least three weeks. 

Finally don’t forget to add the conversion pixel to your website. This allows you to track specific actions readers take on your website.

Updated features to note about Outbrain

Over the years, Outbrain has evolved and added more functionality for marketers. We’re going to cover two features that make the platform stronger.

Multiple Conversions

Last month, they released multiple conversions, a way for marketers to track up to twenty different conversions per campaign.

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Outbrain breaks conversion goals down into three buckets.

  1. Awareness: How many people are aware of your brand? Measure awareness by looking at the website traffic coming from Outbrain.
  2. Engagement: Is your audience engaging with your brand? Measure engagement by tracking downloads, signups and form submissions.
  3. Action: Is your audience taking the desired action? Measure action by tracking add-to-cart clicks, purchases, event registrations and more.
Multiple conversions give marketers a way to track every step of the funnel, from getting familiar with your brand to becoming a customer.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences, released over a year ago, gives marketers the option to retarget ads based on segments that you create.

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Here are a few behaviors you can use as custom audiences. People who...

  • have visited your homepage
  • have engaged with specific blog categories
  • signed up for your newsletter
  • went to the sign up for an event or make a purchase funnel but never completed the action
  • are past customers that you’d like to re-engage

Re-engaging people who have already engaged with your brand, are further down the funnel and more likely to convert will most likely reduce your cost per click, increase your click-through rate and decrease your cost per acquisition.

If you want to boost your website traffic quickly and easily, consider running a content discovery campaign. Get help with your setup and management by reaching out to our team

Topics: Digital, Digital Marketing

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