Outbrain Review for Publishers

Outbrain is a sponsored content network for publishers to advertise their content as well as earn revenue from sponsored content hosted on their sites. While sponsored content is a relatively new and unique form of monetization, compared to more traditional sources such as display or affiliate advertising, revenue potential is sponsored content is very low. Still, with high enough levels of traffic, a publisher can earn significant incremental revenue with Outbrain’s site widget.

Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5.
What We Like: Easy to install, unique monetization method.
What We Don’t Like: Delayed reporting, low earnings, high traffic minimum.
Outbrain Company Stats
Homepage: Outbrain
Program Founded In: 2006
Employee Count: 201-500 employees, as of April 23, 2014, according to LinkedIn
Ownership: Private
Profiles: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Crunchbase
Outbrain Support & Contact Information
Address: 116 E 16th St Fl 12, New York NY 10003
Phone Number: 646-867-0149
Support Email: support@outbrain.com
Publisher Requirements
Publisher Terms: http://www.outbrain.com/amplify/guidelines/
Traffic Minimum: 10 million monthly US article pageviews.
Publisher Language Requirement: None.
Prohibited Publisher Content: Adult, alcohol, financial services, gambling, games/contests/sweepstakes, health services, subscriber-only content, pornography, weaponry, illegal drugs or tobacco, non-government-approved pharmaceuticals and supplements, malware, hate, scams, bad user experience.
Advertisers & Offers
Advertising Types: Sponsored Content.
Offer Types: CPC.
Verticals: All.
Network Size: Over 100,000 blogs and websites.
Sampling of Publishers: New York Post, Slate.
Tech Implementation
Outbrain Tech Implementation Rating: 5 out of 5.

Example of Outbrain implementation (outlined in red) on Slate, at the conclusion of an article
Example of Outbrain implementation (outlined in red) on Slate, at the conclusion of an article

Creating an Ad Unit: Implementing the Outbrain recommendation engine is very quick and easy. For WordPress publishers, Outbrain offers a virtually idiot-proof widget that is dead simple to implement. Outbrain also offers widgets for TypePad, Blogger, and Squarespace. There is also Javascript code for manual insertion on any platform that should be a breeze for most developers to install. Once the plugin is installed and configured, recommendations automatically begin to display after about an hour. In our experience, we noticed that Outbrain did not recommend any external content until about 24 hours later. On the first day, only internal recommendations (articles on our site) were presented. Now that we’ve been up and running for a few days, approximately one-third of the recommendations appearing in the widget are from external sites, which we would be able to earn revenue from with each click if we were enrolled in the premium publisher program.
Display Ad Unit Sizes Available: Choice of 1-10 content recommendations, displayed as thumbnail images or text-only links.
Compatible with Google AdSense: Yes.
Mobile Ad Units Available: Yes.
WordPress Plugin Available: Yes.
Publisher Reporting & Admin Control Panel
Outbrain Publisher Reporting & Admin Control Panel Rating: 4 out of 5.

Outbrain publisher site dashboard
Outbrain publisher site dashboard

Control Panel: The Outbrain publisher control panel is very simple. Under the Site Performance section, you can see reports on top content as well as a more detailed report of clicks and CTR. There is section where you can manage your blogs, or sites where you can install the recommendation widget. Here, you can select language, recommendation settings, whether or not you’d like to donate your earnings to charity, specify the number of recommendations to be displayed (1-10), and widget type (text links or thumbnail images). Under the Account Settings page, you can change your email address or password. Overall, it’s a pretty easy to use, but bare bones control panel; there is nowhere to enter payment details, as that is reserved for their premium publishers, and setup of that type of account is reserved for those publishers receiving at least 10 million monthly US page views on article pages.
Reporting: The Outbrain reporting, much like the control panel as a whole, is very basic. All reporting is delayed one day. (I.e., it is not possible to get the current day’s stats.) The dashboard displays CTR, page views, and clicks, along with a table of the most-clicked article and video content. The “detailed report” simply shows page views, clicks, and CTR by date. It defaults to a trailing 30-day view, though you can specify a custom time frame, if you’d like.
Control Panel URL: https://my.outbrain.com/reports/dashboard
Outbrain Payment Rating: 3 out of 5.

Publisher’s Share of Revenue: Unknown.
Payment Methods Available: Unknown.
Payment Terms: Net-60 or Net-90
Minimum Payout Threshold: $50.
Account Help
Outbrain Account Help Rating: 3 out of 5.

Knowledge Base URL: http://help.outbrain.com/
Personal Account Manager: No.
Easy to Contact Support: Yes.

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