Looks Aren’t Everything…


But they can certainly help.  Our algos work hard to surface interesting, relevant links which is the most important part of what we do here.  But anyone who has been through high school knows that sometimes being interesting and smart isn’t enough.  We think those links deserve to look good too and the account management team works hard to make sure they’re always putting their best font forward.

We recently put this into practice on a major publisher with whom Outbrain has had a long relationship.  Everything was humming along technically, but it seemed like the widget needed a little love in the looks department.  The partner agreed to let us try out a new UI that seemed more suited to the page to see what would happen.

What happened was a huge jump in revenue and CTR, quadrupling and doubling, respectively.  We think the results were so dramatic for several reasons.  The new UI looks and feels more like the page – we’re guests on the site so for us, being seamless is tantamount to ‘looking good’.  We also adjusted the placement of the widget to be closer to the content.  Our mission is to provide great links to other articles based on what you’ve read.  It’s logical that appearing right after an article will help readers continue that positive experience. Again, seamless for us is key.

There is no one ‘best look’ for every page – our thumbnail widget thrives on certain sites while other readers love the text interface.  You can test both by logging into your dashboard following the “Manage Blogs” screen to your “Settings” and changing Widget Type, number of links and several other settings.  A little makeover might be just what those recommendations need to get noticed all of your readers.

See here more tips on how to make your website look more professional

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Jackie is a Senior Account Manager at Outbrain. Read more

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  • marinildac| December 31, 2010 at 4:04AM

    Friends, your thumbnail script did not work. Two blogs, nada. Thnk you anyway.

  • SEO Generation| January 6, 2011 at 4:16PM

    I can see a flaw with this model, Why have the name of the links. This simply means that small blogs/less authority ones will see a very low CTR. Whilst the big players continue to grow.

    • Davids| January 27, 2011 at 7:19PM

      Hi SEO, thanks for your comment–

      We like showing the name of the site who is hosting the article since it gives the user a sense of where they will go when they click, especially since it may not be obvious to them that the links point off the site they are currently on. However, unlike in search, we don't give any more/less authority to a link because it's from a smaller site….we give authority to a link based on how often people click on it, and in what context. So to some extent you are right than publishing the site's name may influence user behavior, but this may not be a bad thing: if users know a site has a history of publishing good content, they are free to use that information when making their click decision.

  • Bob Bowman| August 10, 2011 at 11:23PM

    Please copy and repost.
    In September 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of more than 80 female employees, who argue Bloomberg L.P. engaged in a pattern of discrimination against pregnant women who took maternity leave. Michael Bloomberg is responsible for the creation of the systemic, top-down culture of discrimination’ at the company.
    This is the same idiot mayor who says we can’t smoke in the parks.
    I guess shortchanging women is more socially acceptable than smoking.


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