On Web Traffic and Conversions: What I’ve learned on doing Outbrain Paid Syndication

If you’re a content marketer, you have probably heard about content syndication tools such as Taboola and Outbrain and how these tools can magically make your content appear in authoritative news channels – from the giants CNN and Bloomberg to local sites and blogs. With a minimum of $10 budget daily, and at an average of .34$ CPC, you can say it’s relatively cheaper than Adwords and almost at the same range as Facebook Ads.

Since I was handling a corporate account, I saw Outbrain as a more fitting tool to try compared to Taboola. From the articles that I’ve read from Moz, SearchEngineLand and SearchEngineJournal, it seems a fitting channel to distribute our very “corporate” content. We’ve ran the experiment for 2 weeks using 4 very different articles.

Due to non-disclosure policy, I won’t be able to discuss the details fully. However here are the campaign highlights:

  • Test ran for 2 weeks with a budget of $10/day ($140 for 2 weeks, weekends included)
  • Ad was ran on schedule (8am – 10pm)
  • Outbrain improved the traffic to Article 1 at 1000% change

outbrain paid syndication results
Article 1 has had an increase in traffic of 1000%

As indicated in Outbrain’s guidelines, articles that are more likely to become popular (relatable/viral) will get more exposure as compared to content that are very ‘niched’. Since amongst our promoted content, article 1 is likely to have broader demographics (topic is related to Halal), it obviously gained more exposure from Outbrain; thus, a wild boost in its traffic occurred during the testing phase!

But of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. One of the toughest downside of promoting through Outbrain is tracking. Unfortunately, Outbrain hides its tracks with a redirection URL, which disables us to determine what exactly are the channels Outbrain has delivered our content in.

Outbrain Results

According to Outbrain, their system is behavior based, which means if you have been searching for French fries all day, related news about fries will appear on your Outbrain news partner channel. One crazy idea we had is to use a completely different IP or even a VPS and try to catch it in one of their channels. Though we didn’t get the chance to do that. #sadlife

Whether or not Outbrain has indeed submitted our content to Time Magazine or CNN as what they claim in their dashboard (Outbrain has their own analytics dashboard), we’ll never know.

So what did I learn from Outbrain paid syndication?

  1. Outbrain is a great tool to drive traffic to your blog or any article you wish to promote urgently.
  2. Take advantage of the tracking ID option for better analytics tracking.
  3. Want to track possible conversion? Create a separate landing page for your Outbrain campaign.
  4. You can promote a semi-brand promotional content on Outbrain. As long as the approach is editorial and informational, it will be approved. And last, but not the least..
  5. You definitely have to run your campaign for more than 2 weeks. :p

Maria Espie

It's a Writer's World is your online resource to digital marketing news including marketing strategies covering social media, search engine, paid ads, and more.