Inside Outbrain: Meet Nir Elharar, Head of Online Acquisition, Outbrain

Nir Elharar

Welcome to Inside Outbrain, our blog series that introduces you to some of Outbrain’s employees and their day-to-day. Today we’re talking to Nir Elharar, Outbrain’s Head of Online Acquisition, Global. We sat down with him to ask a few questions about the performance marketing sphere, how he came to Outbrain, and what he has coming up.

OB: So what exactly is performance marketing? What makes it different than any other kind of marketing?

NH: The main differentiation from other kinds of marketing are:

  • The optimization cadence
  • The KPI’s one is tracking
  • The control marketers have on every aspect of the campaign

With branding or awareness tactics you might have three, four, five weeks to optimize your ads, audience, targeting but in performance marketing you need to have a hand on the pulse and be re-adjusting and optimizing constantly since the very first days. Also the KPI’s are more focused on actions such as leads, conversions, sign-ups, and sales. Last but not least –  performance marketers are usually the first one to try new platforms and new features and love to get their “hands dirty”, meaning doing all the optimization by themselves and deciding where to change the bid , where to tweak the targeting and when to stop the campaign.

There is no room here for paying big fees up front for a company / 3rd party and then wait for the  results  – everything is fully transparent, actionable and in real time.

OB: What led you to Outbrain?

NH: I’ve loved to read since was a kid, so I was happy to join a company that helps users discover the most relevant piece of content according to their interests. That’s something Outbrain focuses on — submitting the right content to the right audience, helping people find something they wouldn’t be able to find otherwise.

It’s also appealing to work in a global company that has a unique culture, and operates in many different markets and locations.

OB: What major projects have you been working on recently?

NH: My team’s main focus right now is targeting specific verticals in specific markets. We aggregate the assets and find the right targeting and messaging to hit the right users. In the past we’ve been targeting a wide audience with overall general messages.

After identifying together the verticals and the micro segments that are working better for us, we’ve been adjusting our activity, and today we’re touching these audiences with tailored messages, case studies, eBooks and other assets.

Also the complexity and the level of targeting we’re running with today (across all platforms) is much more granular.

That involves a lot of different teams in the organization collaborating together: the content team, the design team, the regional sales teams, developers & marketing tech, the conversion optimization team, and the paid acquisition team.

It’s very rewarding (and fun!) to work toward a shared goal with such a talented group of people from the entire company.

OB: What are you most excited about for the upcoming months?

NH: As a performance marketer, I’m marketing our product to marketers like me. I’m excited to see the recent updates in our product that give marketers many more tools and much more control. It’s vital for performance marketers to direct the messages and the content to the right audience. One thing in particular is the Lookalikes product that just launched.There are many exciting features on our road map, that will be rolling out in the next few months, and I can’t wait for them to launch and help our marketers to gain much more control on their campaigns and reach ever better results than they are seeing today.

OB: What is the most rewarding aspect of this job for you?

NH: The most rewarding thing is to see projects come to life. For example, with all the verticalized outreach we’re doing now, we started by planning everything together, sketching it out on a whiteboard, starting to work on it, creating assets, creating landing pages, creating ads. Now we’re harvesting the demand, and starting to receive leads that turn into happy customers. I think that’s the most exciting thing: to see a project come to life from a whiteboard sketch into real digital assets and see what it inspires. I really enjoy that about my job.

OB: What is the most interesting new thing you discovered in the last month?

NH: I’m an avid scuba-diver and have had the chance to dive in some amazing places around the world (including the cenotes at Yucatan peninsula, Mexico). Recently I’ve discovered a fascinating article (through our recommendation engine of course :)) about some hidden diving spots that I wasn’t aware of, all of them were immediately added to my “diving wish list” — with a target to visit there by 2020.

Read more interviews from our Inside Outbrain series here.

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