Powerhouses of Content Amplification: Analyzing Outbrain and Taboola

Lauren Dowdle
01 August 2017

In the words of BuzzFeed’s Jonathan Perelman, “Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.”

It isn’t enough to create captivating content: You need your pieces to actually attract eyeballs, or the content is just gathering dust on your site. To help get your content out to the masses — or to a select few — you can use sites like Outbrain and Taboola.

We’ve all seen these content amplification platforms at work — and maybe even clicked on some of their articles. You’ll spot them at the bottom/side of high-traffic websites in sections titled “You Might Also Like,” “Sponsored Content” or “From Around the Web.”

Outbrain and Taboola share their customer’s content on sites like Time, CNN and ESPN to help them reach their target audience beyond the confines of their own sites. They have different payment models, such as cost-per-click and daily budgets, so you can choose a plan that best fits your brand.

How to Use Content Amplification for Retention

Outbrain and Taboola aren’t only great at helping you reach prospective customers — they are also ideal tools for retaining current customers.

Retention is all about encouraging engagement and loyalty, and that’s where these two discovery platforms come in handy. They allow you to target your ideal audience with personalized content, an important part of your overall marketing and retention plan.

Here are a few of the ways Outbrain helps you reach your customers:

  • Retarget brand website visitors. You can have your content show up on other sites customers are visiting after they land on your page. Their Custom Audience feature segments and targets visitors who browse your homepage, learned about your products, signed up for your newsletter and gently nudges customers you’d like to re-engage.
  • Reach customers through CRM data. Use your lead and customer lists to target audiences. You can recommend specific content for different customer segments, making the process even more personalized.
  • Control the content sequence. Are you trying to reach your die-hard customers, or is the content targeted toward some of your wayward clients? No matter who you are trying to reach, you can create a content experience that best fits the audience with Outbrain’s Story Sequencing. That allows you to best reach them wherever they are post funnel.

Taboola also allows you to target users who have been to your site and clicked your campaign pieces. Here are some of the other ways this platform helps you further target your customers:

  • Reach specific geographic areas. Break down your ideal audience by country or region.
  • Target by platform. Would you rather reach customers on their mobile device or desktop? You can narrow your reach by the type of platform they use.
  • Narrow down your audience by operating system. If your product or service is intended for a specific operating system, you can have your content only show up on those devices.
  • Show up with similar content. You can target your campaigns so that they show up on websites that cover specific topics — such as dining, business, auto, etc.

Both sites have their list of pros and cons — from how they allow you to allocate your budget to the level of usability — so see which one best fits your needs.

What Content Isn’t Allowed?

To keep their shared content from becoming the Wild West, both Outbrain and Taboola have set rules in place.

As part of Outbrain’s guidelines, the content can’t promote these topic:

  • Adult themes
  • Controlled or illegal substances
  • Religious
  • Gambling
  • Fake news
  • Financial services
  • Malware
  • Unsafe products

Outbrain also provides instructions for headlines, capitalization, grammar, landing pages and acceptable page types.

Taboola is similar in what it will allow as part of its guidelines. To comply with their policies, you’ll need to steer clear of content that falls in these categories, as well:

  • Offensive, threatening or inappropriate
  • False or misleading practices
  • Targets children younger than 13 years old
  • Thumbnails that show before/after photos
  • Titles in all caps with excessive punctuation

Basically, if you stick to ethical, useful content, you’ll be in the clear.

Do Your Part to Amplify Content

Outbrain and Taboola can be great outlets to help distribute your content, but to truly be successful with either, you need to craft and share stellar content. Useful content and good distribution go hand in hand.

Don’t let the basics of content marketing fall by the wayside:

  • Give them what they want. Your content should hit home with customers, providing them with useful information. Maybe it’s a relevant how-to piece or a blog describing a product update/improvement. Your content should help encourage engagement and brand loyalty.
  • Provide value. Share valuable information, not sales talk that only promotes your business. Your customers will see right through you and begin to see your brand as disingenuous.
  • Publish content regularly. This can be weekly, biweekly, monthly or whatever works best for your business. The point is to keep the content flowing and have customers check back for more after they see your initial piece.
  • Do what works. Track your analytics to see what type of content is performing best, and see how you can recreate that.

Consumers want good content they can interact with, not your typical ads — considering 200 million people now use ad blockers. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 88 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing as part of their strategies.

The best marketing and retention strategies include a variety of tools in the arsenal, so explore whether Outbrain and Taboola are right for your business.

Originally published at postfunnel.com on August 1, 2017.

PostFunnel, by Optimove, covers the intersection of data, technology, design and innovation in retention marketing, helping practitioners to excel at their work