If you haven’t heard of Outbrain yet, here’s what you need to know. Outbrain is a “content discovery platform”, partnering with publishers in over 55 countries. It’s a relatively cheap way to promote content, whether it sits on a blog or within a website. The headline of the article (and sometimes image) appears in the “you may also like” section of news sites. Users pay on a cost-per-click basis, not impressions, therefore it’s relatively easy to see if a headline has generated a lot of views but no clicks.
How it works
When setting a campaign live, place a maximum daily budget, cost per click, and select which countries to target. There is no functionality to add keywords as in PPC, but Outbrain does allow you to add different headline variations. It’s important to ensure there is UTM tracking on each headline so you can clearly analyse which one drove the most traffic using Google Analytics.
We used Outbrain for the first time late last year and want to share with you the 5 reasons we recommend using this platform as part of your content marketing campaign in 2015. So here goes:
1) Amplify content
We used Outbrain for the first time to promote our own blog post about Tumblr to see if it would increase its visibility.
Our first trial of Outbrain went swimmingly and resulted in some great stats. The campaign generated:
- 199 clicks
- 773,166 impressions
This was all for just £54! We wanted to find out the impact Outbrain had and therefore looked at our analytics. From analysing the data, looking at the traffic report for Sept 3 – Sept 10 and comparing against 8 days prior, we saw the following increase:
- 37.19% increase in Sessions
- 44.63% increase in users
- 53.72% increase in new users
- 16.05% increase in referral traffic
- Outbrain referral channel sent 195 clicks
- 20,700% increase in traffic to the landing page we promoted!
We didn’t keep the campaign running long enough to have a conclusion on the titles that worked the best and if having an image increased CTR. However, we did have a 0.05% CTR for the Titles “5 Surprising Things You Never Knew About Tumblr” and “5 Things You Never Knew About Tumblr”. The original title “Tumblr: Aren’t you missing an ‘e’?” only had a CTR of 0.03%.
2) Promote a blog
Launching a blog takes a lot of work, not just building and designing the site, but generating ideas and writing content. Posts need to be unique and original and most of all, attract the readers’ attention. However, it can be difficult to drive lots of traffic as soon as the site goes live, so one way to promote a new blog is to use Outbrain to push out key blog posts. One of our clients launched a blog just before the holiday season; therefore we used Outbrain to ensure the blog posts were being promoted and traffic driven to the blog.
The Outbrain campaign ran for five days in total and we spent a maximum of £100, splitting our budget to £20 per day. We saw some great results!
- 294 clicks
- 248,681 impressions
- CTR =12%
- CPC = 34p a click
Outbrain has a minimum budget of £10 per day, but we set ours to £20 for this campaign. It was a very efficient and cost effective way of driving traffic to the blog.
3) Drive More Engaged Traffic
As shown in the previous example, promoting content via Outbrain is one way to drive more traffic to the site. In the case of some of our clients, the visitors who came to the site via Outbrain were more engaged. They spent longer on the site than the average. These users also viewed more pages, per session. When we ran Outbrain promoting the Fast Web Media blog post, we saw a 44.63% increase in users. If we split the total amount spent on Outbrain by the number of extra visitors we drove to the blog, it works out to be 25 pence per visitor, which is very economical indeed!
4) Attract new users
Outbrain helps promote content to new users and to new channels for a fraction of the cost it would be to place an advert on some of these sites. Some of the news and publisher sites that showed our clients’ content include PC Advisor, TechGeekBox, Android Authority, Venture Beat, The Guardian, Sport Network, UK Yahoo News, ESPN, CNN, Fox News, and Bauer Media. When we ran Outbrain promoting the Fast Web Media blog post, we saw a 53.72% increase in new users because these visitors were coming from these publishing sites and media sites who may not be aware of the Fast Web Media blog.
5) Test headlines
Headlines are an important element in content marketing; if the non-marketers in the team are not convinced of this, Outbrain will clearly show the importance of spending time to create a unique, clear, and attention-grabbing headline.
Neil Patel stated that 8 out of 10 people will read the headline copy and when we ran Outbrain for one of our campaigns, this theory was proven correct. Sometimes when uploading your blog post to Outbrain, it will set an alternative title for you. When working with our client, we found this alternative headline generated all the clicks for the designated article.
Use negative words and numbers in your headline, for example “Amazon loses 50% of its Online Sales”. We found the negative headlines performed better than the positive ones. Creative writers may want to come up with a title that is long and ambiguous, however, we found these headlines generated just impressions and not clicks. When we changed the headline, the shorter and clearer headlines with adjectives like ‘essential’, ‘incredible’, and ‘unique’, generated clicks.
Outbrain is a great platform to use with clients who have a blog or have content on their site that needs more visibility. It is a cheap and efficient way to promote content and generate clicks, thereby showing clients a clear ROI. In this way it is a step towards clearly showing the impact content has on a website (for those clients that may not be 100% on board with content marketing).
It is also a great tool to use to test out different headlines. Many people in marketing are aware of the significance of headlines with their articles, but sometimes it can be difficult to persuade others of its importance, especially those coming from a more traditional press background. A good way to see which headline performs the best is to allow the campaign to run for 2 – 3 days and analyse the results. If the campaign has not generated any clicks, it shows people may not be interested in the article and the headline may need to be amended.
What about you? Have you used Outbrain to amplify your content marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re looking for other ways to amplify your content marketing strategy, why not try Reddit? Read our case study, simply click on the image below