What’s Next for Content Marketing? Better ROI Analysis with Outbrain KPI Optimization

|Asaf Hochman

Marketing innovation is a never-ending race. Consumers are quick to adopt new technologies and platforms, and we often end up playing catch-up, trying to identify where our consumers currently are and how we can best connect with them.

When marketers flock to a trendy new platform, they might manage to come up with creative ways to leverage it, but rarely are they able to adequately measure their success. Standard ROI measurement usually arrives only once the platform matures.

We’ve seen it in every major field. It happened with social media – it took Facebook and Twitter over 6 years to finally develop robust analytics and attribution models for marketers. It happened with video, it happened with mobile, and it’s happening with the newest kid on the block – content marketing.

Marketers are excited about content marketing, which allows them to tell their brand stories and connect to consumers in ways that digital marketing never enabled them to before. Today, 8 out of 10 marketers already practice content marketing, but a staggering two-thirds of them feel their efforts aren’t successful, in large part due to the lack of clear ROI and clear ways to measure it.

When content marketing was in its infancy, it was more straightforward. Marketers’ single KPI was audience development, e.g. driving audiences to their content properties. It was easy to measure, report and comprehend. Life was good. But it didn’t take long to figure out this approach was too simplistic – not all audiences are created equal, and marketers needed to find ways to measure the individual value of visitors to their content and understand how this value aligned with their overall marketing KPIs.

illustration, the online sales funnel

Even now, there’s no silver bullet to content marketing measurement. Marketers evaluate their content marketing against a great variety of KPIs across the marketing funnel. Working with the world’s leading brands, we have seen many different types of campaigns with many different types of KPIs which span across the marketing funnel:

  • Awareness – Some marketers are focused on upper funnel KPIs and want to achieve awareness at scale and reach as many visitors as possible. For example, a CPG launching a new recipe site is usually concerned with getting massive reach and awareness.
  • Consideration – Some marketers care most about the level of engagement with their content as an indicator of how valuable those visitors are. For example, for an automotive brand, visitors to its site who also view videos may be more valuable.
  • Conversion – Some marketers are only interested in the bottom line – selling products or generating leads. For example, a fashion company amplifying great 3rd party reviews, and tracking how many purchases were generated from those reviews.

The challenge is threefold – identifying the right KPIs, measuring them, and acting on them. We’re excited to introduce a new feature that will help marketers combat this challenge.

Outbrain KPI Optimization enables content marketers to not only set and track various content marketing KPIs for their Outbrain campaigns but also optimize their campaigns accordingly to reach more audiences that match these KPIs. Marketers are welcome to start optimizing their campaigns and get more of the traffic that achieves their KPIs across the marketing funnel.

KPI Optimization is based on sophisticated lookalike modeling. We look at visitors to your site that achieved your KPIs, analyze them, and find lookalike audiences across Outbrain’s network of half-a-billion unique users. We then recommend your content to those lookalike audiences, which are more likely to engage with your content and achieve your KPIs. Notably, we’ve seen around a 30% lift in KPI conversions among clients who moved to KPI Optimization.

If this sounds interesting, there a few simple steps you can take to explore Outbrain KPI Optimization.

      1. Reach out to your account strategist
      2. Identify your campaign KPIs
      3. Integrate the Outbrain Optimization Code in the right places in your site according to your KPIs
      4. Set your CPC for traffic that achieves your KPIs
      5. Get more of the traffic that achieves your KPIs

For further questions about this and other new Outbrain features, contact

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Asaf Hochman

Asaf Hochman

Senior Director of Product Marketing, he focuses on Outbrain Amplify and works with brands and agencies to do better marketing.... Read more

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  • Gill| October 12, 2017 at 11:11AM

    Can you explain the added benefit for publishers if they pay a higher CPC ? In other words, if I pay $.10/click instead of $.05/click then am I being placed in a more visible spot on somebody’s page, or a more trafficked website?


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