Three Steps to Accurately Measuring Outbrain’s Performance in Google Analytics |


Three Steps to Accurately Measuring Outbrain’s Performance in Google Analytics

| Amit

If you’re a Google Analytics user who wants to precisely assess Outbrain’s impact on your traffic, here are three important processes we suggest you implement to get the most value out of your traffic analysis.

1) Append Google Analytics parameters to Your Website URL: The main difference between Outbrain’s reporting system and Google Analytics is that we report “Clicks” on the Outbrain widget, whereas Google reports on “Visits.” A Google Analytics “Visit” is defined as a 30-minute session. For instance: A user may consume 10 pages in a session but the number of “Visits” Google Analytics will report is only one. Because Outbrain users tend to be sticky and engage with the Outbrain widget multiple times in a session, a gap grows between reported Outbrain “Clicks” and Google Analytics “Visits.”

Our internal Click Validation systems ensure any click we report on was generated by a human and was intentional. In order to track the Outbrain clicks, we use a redirect method. Usually, the referring URLs for Outbrain traffic are: for organic clicks and for paid clicks.

In order to ensure Outbrain is registered as a referring source, we encourage appending Google Analytics parameters to your website URL. This can be done automatically by Outbrain and will be set up by your Account Manager. For organic clicks, we support appending the following tags:


If you participate in the traffic buying program, these tags can be customized. We also support any other click tracking methods, such as third-party redirects.

2) Add “obref” to Your Search or Filter Box: When we add the Google Analytics tracking parameters listed above, we also add another Outbrain unique parameter: obref. This will help you determine whether internal traffic is staying within certain sections or exploring additional sections of your site. Usually, you will see two values for this parameter:

obinsource – determines a click from within a certain section to a different article in the same section

obinsite – determines a click from a certain section to a different article in a different section

This will help you see Outbrain traffic in your content report. Simply click into the content report, select “Pages” and add “obref” to the search or filter box.

3) Use JavaScript Code to Log ANY Outbrain Click Event: If you use XiTi and have jQuery on your pages and you want to capture Outbrain click events, you can use JavaScript code to log ANY Outbrain click event on Organic or Paid links. The following code should be placed after the Outbrain widget code:

<script type=”text/JavaScript”>

$(“.ob_container_recs a”).live(“click”, function(){

return xt_click(this,’C’,’11’,’OutBrain::Clic’,’A’);



If you have any questions about these processes or any other Google Analytics questions related to your Outbrain account, please feel free to email me at

This information is based solely on our experience and familiarity with Google and AT Internet (which owns XiTi). We are not affiliated with Google or AT Internet and we do not take any responsibility for their products or services.  

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Amit Elisha is Vice President of Products at Outbrain. He overseas Outbrain’s Product Management group and has more than 10... Read more

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