Automatic Yield Feature | Outbrain Blog


New Feature: Connecting content programming and revenue delivery with Automatic Yield

| Matt Crenshaw

We’re rolling out a product this quarter that is going to fundamentally change audience development for publishers.

Right now, publishers are producing tons of valuable content, making decisions on which content is more valuable, and deciding where to drive audiences based on those decisions. But they’re doing so without the answer to a crucial question.

What is the actual value of each and every piece of content on my site?

Historically, we’ve made approximations. We’ve said this section is more valuable than that section because of an ad campaign that’s running. Or certain types of content are innately more valuable than others, so let’s drive people there, even if that’s a messy process built on averages.

The reality is that the value of a single piece of content varies wildly. Not just from month to month, but from minute-to-minute, every day, like the stock market. For example, we say things like, “video is more valuable,” but we’ve found that the yield on a single page of video can fluctuate by 60% over the course of a day, causing the overall page value to fluctuate by as much as 262%.

Why? Because of the complexity and variety of revenue sources and the ad stack that publishers now have on the page.

What we’ve set out to do in acquiring Revee is integrate with the ad server, where we can track over 30 common variables from platform type, to RTB partners, make-goods and house ads, to create a snapshot every second of what a page is worth. And then automatically assign that information to every single piece of content.

The Link Between Content Programming and Revenue

It all starts with tapping the ad server. Ad servers like DFP aren’t designed to show you what a single page is worth. They track ad units, and look at impression delivery and monetization at the unit level. The technology we’ve built allows us to take all revenue sources flowing through the ad server (plus Outbrain revenue) and create a real-time revenue snapshot of every page.

It’s also a people challenge. Historically, ad operations teams and editorial teams haven’t worked very closely together. In the Native world, this is all changing. What we’ve done is create a single system of record for marrying the two together.

And to get there, we’ve had to build several different layers of data integration to figure out the real-time page value, the reporting of those values, and then making that information turnkey for content delivery. Simply knowing the value isn’t enough.

Google just announced that for Google Analytics Premium customers, they can pass DFP values into their Web Analytics. Even if this were easy, and you could see just the page-level snapshot, it’s not the same as automating content recommendations to take advantage of that data.

That’s what Outbrain’s Automatic Yield does.

Traditionally, a publisher goes out to a number of sources and feeds their most popular articles to drive back to their site. They track the PVs/Visit each referral and each campaign generates. But when you try and line up the amount that you’re paying for that traffic with the revenue return, that’s where things get fuzzy. It becomes a cost center.

Revee helps us establish this system for publishers to grow their audiences profitably, every single time. Since we know the real-time holistic value of every page on your site, we can dynamically set the bid price for the traffic that you buy. That means instead of guessing at a bid price, you can tell us the profit margin you’re looking to make, and we only drive audiences to your site when that user session is going to be profitable to you, based on real-time revenue values.

Publishers around the world all have the same goal – to grow their audiences. Organic growth is becoming harder and harder to find. SEO gets more competitive every day. And I think we all saw the recent news that Facebook had just surpassed Google as the #1 traffic source to publishers, and then shortly thereafter Facebook had changed their algorithms to drive less traffic to publishers, causing a 32% drop in traffic.

The bottom line is: there has never been a profitable way to build a premium audience.

Now there is. One hundred percent of the time.

Essentially, we’re building Programmatic for Content, a way to marry all of our personalization algorithms to a new system of understanding, in real-time, how revenue is being delivered. Automatic Yield is the first step toward this new reality in modern publishing.

User experience and revenue don’t have to be a trade-off. You just need the system to deliver both at the same time.

We’re building it for you.

See what your content could look like being recommended on

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Matt Crenshaw

Matt Crenshaw

Matt Crenshaw is the vice president of product marketing at Outbrain. He is responsible for setting the product vision and... Read more

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