Outbrain launches content referral network for publishers

Outbrain’s latest initiative will see the open web discovery platform invite publishers to form audience exchange networks, and diversify audience referral sources, as part of its Content Coalition.

The Content Coalition is launching in Australia and New Zealand before the rest of the world, with Outbrain to use its SmartFeed technology to allow publishers to exchange links for free.

It gives publishers full control over the sites they share links with, and they can set audience exchange rules and policies around what content is recommended.

Its launch comes off the back of recent moves by Facebook to block news content in the market, but Outbrain VP of global ad revenue, Ayal Steiner, tells Mumbrella it’s less of a direct response to moves by Facebook and Google, and more about diversifying sources of content.

“It’s not about not using Facebook or Google, but ensuring you have other ways for your content to be discovered, which you know won’t be switched off at the drop of a hat,” he says.

“Outbrain is founded on the idea of supporting publishers – we’re never going to change that. More is better.”

Outbrain vice president of global ad revenue, Ayal Steiner

Steiner says there are benefits for both big and small publishers.

“We’re open to publishers of any size. The benefit for large publishers is potentially in getting their relevant content discovered on more specialist sites, pollinating with those audiences, and positioning them as a destination.

“For smaller publishers obviously, it’s a chance to scale and share audiences – we know people are diverse and have a range of different interests, so there’s an opportunity here to find new audiences for free.”

How Outbrain’s Content Coalition Works

Outbrain founder and co-CEO, Yaron Galai, said the tool will blend multiple sources of content with diverse points of view in the form of a feed: an environment that users have been shown to favour.

“Our recommendation engine contains the world’s largest, most trusted news content index.

“Bringing publishers together to create Content Coalitions that improve the user experience is in line with our mission to power the best feed of recommendations for the user, wherever they are.”

At this stage, the platform is opt-in, and is open to any publishers, but if they aren’t partnered with Outbrain they won’t be able to refer traffic back.

Steiner adds: “We’re not creating this instantly, we’re enabling it and we expect publishers to create their own content exchanges with other sites as they would with traditional content sharing.

“This Content Coalition platform is open to anyone, however without being an Outbrain partner they won’t be able to refer traffic back, so it’s not as mutually beneficial.

“They may not need to show Outbrain ads, but Outbrain needs to empower the feed through the SmartfeedTM technology.”

Outbrain’s clients include Australian Community Media (ACM) and Nine, having recently signed a multi-year deal with the latter.


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