Trust & Authenticity

Our content guidelines

Welcome to Outbrain’s Content Guidelines. We define content as any article, video, slideshow, podcast, whitepaper, or infographic – owned, earned, sponsored, native, and more! – that offers informational and/or entertainment value to the reader outside of information about the product or service.

Outbrain partners with premium publishers, brands, and agencies who are passionate about authenticity and creating a great user experience.

Please note that Outbrain reserves the right to reject any content for any reason at our sole discretion. While we may not identify problematic content before it goes live, content will be blocked post-launch if we feel it compromises the safety or quality of our network. In addition, any content linked to from the Outbrain service that is not identical to the content as initially submitted will be immediately removed. Further, our publisher partners may choose to block specific pages or entire sources. Any advertiser who repeatedly violates our guidelines will be blocked from the Outbrain network without notice.

What Content Can You Promote?

We accept content that offers informational or entertainment value to the reader.

Content We Accept
  • Blog Posts
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Press Coverage
  • 3rd Party Reviews
Content We Do Not Accept
  • Home Pages or Product Pages
  • Direct Sale Landing Pages
  • Adult Content
  • Pages Full of Ads

Not sure if your content qualifies?      Watch This

Prohibited Content/Categories
  • Nudity and pornographic language
  • Images may not be overly sexual, imply nudity, display excessive amounts of skin/cleavage or focus unnecessary on body parts
Hate, violence, or discrimination
  • Defames an individual, organization, or group of people
  • Segregates or classifies individuals or groups of people by race, religion, or sexuality
Fake News
  • Websites that seek to intentionally deceive the end-user into believing something that is not true
  • Content designed to deceive the reader into believing that they are reading legitimate editorial content or fact-based news
  • Could be a cleverly disguised advertisement (with little or no value afforded to the reader) or a piece of propaganda or a hoax
Exploitation or endangerment of minors
Weapons or explosives
Illegal drugs or tobacco (including e-cigarettes)
Misleading advertising techniques
  • Deceptive practices to encourage continuity sign-ups
  • Encouraging accidental clicks by implementing ads that appear to be organic content
  • Utilizing fake comments that appear to be from real individuals
  • Employing unsubstantiated claims to promote a product or service
Non-government approved pharmaceutical products and supplements
  • May not make illegitimate or unproven claims about results.
  • May not promise to diagnose, cure, prevent, treat, or reverse any disease, condition, or illness
  • No male enhancement or erectile dysfunction products
Class-action suits or malpractice claims
Penny Stocks, High Risk Investments, and Business Scams
  • Content which encourages high risk investments or money making schemes with the intention of profiting off user participation
  • No Forex trading
  • No Binary options trading
  • No Payday Loans
Information Harvesting
  • Content that harvests personal and/or confidential information from users with the intent to distribute or engages in lead generation with the purpose of generating profit off information gathered
  • Contains adware, malware, spyware, virus, Trojan Horses, or other features designed to infiltrate or damage computer systems or access personally identifiable user information without explicit user consent
Restricted Content

Outbrain reserves the right to block content from the following groups and categories. Restrictions may vary depending on the region your campaign targets.

Negative Earned Media
  • Direct competitors cannot promote negative earned media or content that defames or otherwise compromises an industry competitor without clear disclosure
  • Content cannot promote the sale of alcohol
Financial services
  • Content must comply with financial governing bodies
Health services
  • Beauty products may be considered for approval
Political advertisements
  • All political content must have clear disclosure (ie. Promoted By [Political Party])
Overly personal or niche content
  • Content must have broad cultural appeal and/or be of value to more than just content creator
  • Content cannot advocate for or promote one religion over another
Subscriber-only content
Content Page Guidelines

Content should provide a positive, value-adding experience for users.

Advertising Policies
  • Outbrain requires clear and conspicuous disclosure for Sponsored Content (prominent label must appear at the top of the page). “Advertisement” or “Advertorial” must appear clearly and prominently on the page. Disclosures must appear in a placement, color, and font size that is easily read by a user.
  • May not contain excessive overlays and pop ups. A user must be able to easily close any popup advertisements or overlays that appear in connection with the landing page.
  • Misleading advertising techniques are not allowed including but not limited to:
    • Fake testimonials
    • Fake comments
    • “Too good to be true” statements
    • Fake social media icons
    • Fake navigation that make a user think that it is a larger editorial site
    • Fake site logos
    • Auto refreshing date stamps to the current date
    • Titles that are dynamically generated based on IPs
    • False 3rd party endorsements by celebrities or others
    • False rumors about any person/celebrity
  • Affiliate marketing sites must clearly disclose any financial relationship between the site and sponsoring advertiser in accordance with FTC guidelines
  • Content cannot be copied from another site or violate copyrights. Any plagiarized content without clear disclosure of authorship will not be allowed.
  • Content should not include trademarks or logos that are confusingly similar in design to that of third parties
  • Links in content must be labeled accurately and must link to the page or pages reasonably expected by the reader
Competitor Widgets
  • Viral sites, that host content widgets other than Outbrain's, may be required to display the Outbrain widget for all Outbrain-referring traffic. This will ensure that our audiences have a great content experience, even after the first click.
Page Format
  • Content must live on an HTML page (no PDFs)
  • We do not accept home pages, directory listings, or traditional product sale pages
  • Content cannot require a login for access
  • Page must contain clear organic navigation, including but not limited to easily locatable Contact and About Us pages
  • Content must be current and feature up-to-date information
Headline Guidelines

When creating additional titles for your content, please ensure all new titles accurately reflect the tone and subject matter of your content. Headlines will be rejected if they attempt to mislead or falsely entice readers.

Inaccurate, Misleading, or Overly Sensational Headlines
  • Does not accurately depict the content
  • Exaggerates or embellishes the content
Offensive Headlines
  • Contains offensive words in any language
  • Employs sexual/violent/explicit language that sensationalizes content
“Too good to be true” headlines

If it sounds too good to be true, it is

  • “One weird trick that will help you lose that belly fat”
  • “Mom reveals clever $4 wrinkle therapy, makes doctors furious”

Please adhere to the following grammar, capitalization, and punctuation guidelines when submitting titles.

  • Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading
  • Capitalize all major words in the title, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report)
  • No excessive capitalization or inter-capitalization, such as words or phrases in all capitals (exceptions include trademarked brand names, acronyms, and common abbreviations)
  • Observe correct verb tenses, subject-verb agreements, and spelling
  • Use correct spacing (e.g. no missing or excessive spaces between words or punctuation)
Punctuation & Symbols
  • Refrain from inappropriate, aggressive, or tasteless punctuation in headlines
  • Do not use periods at the end of headlines
  • Repeated punctuation (?!?!) or symbols are not permitted
  • Do not include a price point in headlines
Image Guidelines

Any images being promoted in Outbrain's widget must meet the following standards of network appropriateness.

Thumbnail images cannot include
  • Nudity or sexual imagery
  • Weapons
  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Imagery that is designed to provoke, offend, or shock
  • Violence, gore, or dead bodies
  • Graphic images of physical deformities or health conditions
  • Profanity or offensive language
Quality & Appearance
  • All images must be relevant to the linked content.
  • Images must be clear, recognizable, and properly oriented.
  • Images that have been altered with Photoshop or other graphic editing softwares will not be permitted.
“Trick to Click”
  • Images cannot employ deceptive practices to entice a user to click. These include:
    • Images that pretend to be a system or site warning
    • Images that use sensational tactics that are not relevant to the source material
    • Images that show before & after photos