The Ultimate Affiliates Marketing Guide to Native Advertising with Outbrain

Affiliates Guide to Native Advertising

You’ve heard it before – native advertising is hot. The first native ads appeared in 2012, and since then, native advertising spend has exploded, overtaking display spend back in 2017. By 2020, native advertising is predicted to make up 30% of all global ad spend.

Performance marketers are also getting in on the game, and with good reason. Native ads work because they don’t look like regular ads. They are an effective way to overcome some of the obstacles faced by affiliate marketers – banner blindness, ad fatigue, and negative perceptions about aggressive advertising tactics.

Let’s take a walk through some of the finer points of affiliate marketing via native ad networks, and we’ll do some healthy myth-busting along the way.

If you’ve been reluctant to expand your affiliate strategies with native ads, now’s the time to put all fear aside and dive in:


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1. Native ad networks and affiliates are a great fit

For affiliate marketers, native ad networks like Outbrain are not just another channel for your campaigns – they’re the ideal platform, proven to bring great results.

While some verticals and products that are popular among affiliates are not accepted to native ad networks, there are many more that are, including financial, travel, health and beauty, tech, careers, and entertainment. It’s just a matter of adhering to certain guidelines.

2. Who’s afraid of content articles?

“But, I need an article!” This is a common refrain heard from affiliate marketers when it comes to native ad networks. It’s true, content pages like advertorials or promotional articles are important. They help the reader understand the product, and push the final CR up, which is what we all want.

However, if you don’t have a content article, you can also promote direct landing pages (like product pages, webinars, ebooks, videos and more), as long as they meet our guidelines. So, don’t worry – you don’t have to create content articles in order to join the Outbrain network.

See here for an in-depth overview of the types of content you can promote.

3. Ads on search and social are not the same as ads on native networks

Native ads work differently on different platforms. Just because you’ve achieved results on search or social campaigns won’t necessarily mean instant success on a native ad network. The main reason? User intent.

There’s a big difference between scrolling a social feed, searching for something specific on Google, or browsing a favorite news site (where Outbrain ads are shown). With the latter, users are in “discovery mode”.

They are primed to discover content that interests them. Find out more about the differences between search, social and content discovery in this post.

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that when working with Outbrain, you’ll experience a different kind of flow than that of Facebook or Google. So take the time to prepare yourself for a new adventure.

4. Native ad networks are performance driven

As an affiliate marketer, you may be under the impression that native ad platforms are not built for performance campaigns. But in fact, networks like Outbrain have changed significantly in the past two to three years, adding a host of targeting features that enable really advanced performance marketing measurement.

Some examples include multiple conversions, Lookalike audiences, CPC per Section, S2S, Conversion Segments, Interest targeting, 1st, and 3rd party targeting capabilities, and more. All these features were built with affiliates and performance marketers in mind. And the news gets better – there are more exciting performance products to be released this year, designed to help affiliate marketers like you in ways you didn’t think were possible. So stay tuned!

5. Strict guidelines can work in your favor

Outbrain is well known for its guidelines on what is acceptable to the network. There’s a good reason behind these guidelines – one that benefits affiliate marketers too.

The guidelines are designed to keep our network clean, high quality and brand safe. This means that affiliates can run effective campaigns without a sensationalist tone.

This will work to your advantage as you maintain better quality and more trustworthy campaigns. The network environment also helps brands keep their name safe and clean, which is good for you too.

6. You are MORE than your competitors

Sometimes it’s tempting to just duplicate what your competitors are doing. After all, if they are succeeding, why not just ride on their coattails?

This is definitely not a strategy for success. Just because it works for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you. You may be selling the same products, but there’s no need to advertise them in the same way.

It’s important that your campaigns stand out for being original, different, and by adjusting your pitch according to the target audience. Native ad networks like Outbrain are the ideal platform to do this.

7. Even affiliate marketers ask for help sometimes 🙂

Many affiliate marketers have created their own success with their bare hands. The climb upwards is easier when you reach out for help at the right time – particularly if you are starting out on a new platform. At Outbrain, we’ve got Account Managers and support teams who know exactly what affiliate marketers need.

They’ve got access to information about what works and what doesn’t, as well as a load of strategic tips about how to help you improve the ROI of your native campaigns. Seeking their help can dramatically boost your results. So get in touch today.


There are a number of ways that affiliates can promote native ads: on social media networks, search engines and e-commerce sites like Amazon. But if you want to advertise on high-quality publisher sites, with access to advanced targeting options, then working with a native advertising platform like Outbrain may be a good fit for you.

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