Trust & Authenticity

Our Advertising Guidelines

Here at Outbrain, one of our key differentiators is that our network is filled with high-quality, reliable content from premium publishers and marketers alike. Our overlying goal is to create a great user experience for readers around the world. Happy network, happy readers!

To do this, we’ve developed advertising guidelines to help you understand what can (and cannot) be promoted in our network. Keep in mind, Outbrain reserves the right to reject or block any content for any reason at our sole discretion, even after post-launch, if we feel that it compromises the safety or quality of the user experience. Also, both publishers and marketers can choose to block pages or sources that they don’t feel resonates with their brands.

If you encounter any content that violates Outbrain’s guidelines, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly Support team.

We hope to see your content in our network soon!

Acceptable Page Types
  • Article Pages & Blog Posts
  • Earned Media
  • Videos (must contain some descriptive text on the page)
  • Search Engine Results Pages - Search pages in which results do not lead to the landing page itself (but rather to another search, for example) are not allowed.
  • Home Pages
  • Product/Landing Pages
  • App Download Pages
  • Infographics
  • Advertorials (with proper disclosure that follow Outbrain’s Advertorial policies)
Prohibited Categories
Adult
  • No promotion or sale of adult products
  • Content may not be:
    • Overly sexual
    • Imply nudity
    • Display excessive amounts of skin, cleavage or focus unnecessarily on body parts
    • Allude to sexual activity
Controlled or Illegal Substances
  • Content cannot promote:
    • The sale or consumption of alcohol
    • The sale or consumption of illegal drugs
    • Tobacco-related products such as e-cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, vaporizers, hookahs
Hate, Violence, or Discrimination
  • Content cannot:
    • Defame an individual, organization, or group of people
    • Exploit or endanger minors
    • Segregate or classify individuals or groups of people by race, religion, ethnicity, sexual origin, color, age, gender identity, family status, disability, or medical condition
    • Include the use or promotion of weaponry or explosives
    • State a political point of view
Fake News
  • Sites that seek to intentionally deceive the reader 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
High Risk of Fraud
  • No content that encourages high-risk investments or money-making schemes with the intention of profiting off user participation (i.e. “Get Rich Quick” Schemes)
  • No Payday Loans or Cash Advance Loans
  • No Penny Stocks
  • No non-premium TV/Movine streaming boxes (acceptable brands are Mi/Xiaomi, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire stick).
  • Tactical flashlights
Malware
  • 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
Religion
  • Content cannot advocate for or promote one religion over another
Unsafe Products or Supplements
  • No anabolic steroids, ephedra, or HGH (others may be added according to Outbrain's discretion)
  • No weight loss supplements
  • No male enhancement or erectile dysfunction products
  • May not make illegitimate or unproven claims about results
  • No before/after photos of unlikely results
  • May not promise to diagnose, cure, prevent, treat, or reverse any disease, condition, or illness
Restricted Categories
Negative Earned Media
  • Direct competitors cannot promote negative earned media or content that defames or otherwise compromises an industry competitor without clear
Financial Services (Restricted)
  • Content must comply with financial governing bodies
Gambling
  • Content cannot include the promotion of gambling, or be hosted on a site where gambling is facilitated
  • Promotion of physical casinos (as a destination) is allowed
  • State Run lotteries are allowed
Political Advertisements
  • All political content must have clear disclosure (ie. Promoted By [Political Party])
Landing Page Guidelines
Advertising Policies
  • Clear Disclosure Required:
    • “Advertisement” or “Advertorial” must appear clearly and prominently at the top of applicable pages. Disclosures must appear in a placement, color, and font size that is easily read by a reader
    • Affiliate marketing sites must clearly disclose any financial relationship between the site and sponsoring advertiser in accordance with governing guidelines
  • No Excessive Overlays or Pop-Ups:
    • A user must be able to easily close any popup advertisements or overlays that appear in connection with the landing page
  • No Misleading Advertising Techniques:
    • 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
    • False 3rd party endorsements by celebrities or others
    • False rumors about any person/celebrity
    • Scare tactics to encourage users to take a specific action
    • Countdown clocks that make a user think the offer expires (when it doesn’t)
  • Required
    • Privacy Policy link
    • Contact Us link/section (for Advertorials/Affiliates)
    • Landing pages that are promoted in Germany must include an Impressum (imprint) as required by the German Telemediengesetz (TMD).
Authenticity
  • 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
  • Additional sites may also be required to display the Outbrain widget for all Outbrain referring traffic
Timeliness
  • Content must be current and feature up-to-date information
Headline Guidelines
Inaccurate, Misleading, or Overly Sensational Headlines
  • Does not accurately depict the content
  • Exaggerates or embellishes the content
  • “Too good to be true” headlines (i.e. “One weird trick that will help you lose that belly fat”)
Offensive Headlines
  • Contains offensive words in any language
  • Employs sexual/violent/explicit language that sensationalizes content
Capitalization
  • 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)
Grammar
  • 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 (i.e. “?!?!”) or symbols are not permitted
Image Guidelines
Thumbnail Images Cannot Include:
  • Nudity or sexual imagery
  • Weapons
  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Imagery that is designed to provoke, offend, or shock
  • Circles or Arrows placed to highlight a specific part of the image
  • Violence, gore, or dead bodies
  • Graphic images of physical deformities or health conditions
  • Zoomed in body parts
  • Profanity or offensive language
  • Before/After Photos
  • Politicians/Celebrities for Product Endorsement
Quality & Appearance
  • All images must be relevant to the linked content.
  • Images must be good quality.
  • Images must be clear, recognizable, and properly oriented
  • Images that have been altered with Photoshop or other graphic editing softwares will not be permitted
Misleading Images
  • 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
Additional Guidelines for Publishers
Landing Page User Experience
  • Publishers who use Outbrain to drive traffic to their sites may be required to host user experiences that comply with the stated Outbrain content guidelines.
Prohibited Categories:
  • Inflammatory Political Content
  • True Crime stories older than 5 years
  • Negative representation of celebrities
    • Net Worth & Bankruptcy
    • Physical Appearance
  • Discrimination of any kind
  • “Perfectly-Timed” Photos
Examples of Accepted Categories Include:
  • Positive Celebrity Content
    • “15 Most Epic Celebrity Photobombs Ever Captured”
    • “‘Growing Pains’: 10 Things You Didn’t Know”
    • “Gigantic Movies That Are All Coming Out In 2017”
  • Positive Sports Content
    • “20 Greatest College Football Coaches, Ranked”
    • “All Time Greatest MLB Players By Team”
  • General Interest Content
    • “The 12 Most Expensive Weddings In History”
    • “The 10 Best Places to Vacation in the US”
    • “Awesomely Aggressive Windshield Notes You Should Totally Steal”
    • “Guilty Dogs That Will Have You Laughing For Days”
    • “2017: Hardest Colleges to Get Into in America”
  • Lifestyle and Beauty Content
    • “Age Gracefully With These 21 Classy Hairstyles”
    • “17 Cheap & Healthy Dinners That Will Hit the Spot Every Time”
    • “Haircut Inspiration: 30+ Gorgeous Short Hairstyles”
Headlines:
  • Remove sensational words such as “stuns”, “reveals”, “real reason”, “last words”, “years later”, “you won't believe”, “make your skin crawl”, and “uncovers truth”. Any phrases that are similar should not be used as well.
  • Remove suggestive words such as “stunning”, “hottest”, “trophy wives” and “attractive”
  • Remove negative words such as “ruined”, “worst”, “disturbing”, “disgusting”, “horrifying”, and “hated”
  • Align headlines with the content. For example, "12 things..." when there are actually 40 slides
Images:
  • Should be relevant and included within the content being promoted
  • Should not display excessive amount of skin/cleavage
  • Should not display red arrows/circles that are meant to highlight something
  • Should not be photoshopped or simply designed to be 'shocking'
Slideshow/Gallery Guidelines:
  • All slideshows should implement one of the following:
    • Place [Gallery] at the beginning of the title
    • Make the titles obvious that they are a slideshow - Top 10….
    • Limit/Shorten the slideshows to 15 slides with at least 5 lines of text on each slide
  • If the title mentions a specific celebrity, that celebrity must appear within the first 10 slides of the slideshow.
    • Title: Celebrities Sport Armani at the Oscars - Check out Julia Roberts! - [Julia Roberts is in the image wearing a red carpet dress]
  • If the title does not mention a specific celebrity, but does display one in the image, that image must appear somewhere in the slideshow
    • Title: Best Red Carpet Looks at the Oscars - [Julia Roberts is in the image wearing a red carpet dress]
  • News stories in slideshow format should not use headlines to insinuate recent or breaking news if it’s not current
    • Refrain from using phrases like “Truth Revealed 10 Years Later”