4 Campaign Optimizations That (Actually) Hinder Success

Outbrain Campaign Optimization Tips

Like many marketers, you know how amplifying on Outbrain drives high-quality leads and conversions at scale. However, the day-to-day work of campaign optimization can be a bit overwhelming at times. So, we’re here to help!

Follow these simple dos and don’ts to keep your Outbrain campaigns scaling and thriving.

❌Don’t: Launch Too Many Ads In a Campaign

When testing headlines and images, more is not always merrier. Especially when starting with smaller test budgets, we recommend limiting the number of ad variations to no more than 15 per campaign (3 images and 5 headlines, or vice versa). Spreading the budget over more than 15 ads will take longer for our system to find those winning ads, and may drive up your CPA in the interim.

✅Do: Launch 5 – 15 ads in a campaign

You should see which ads drive the best results for you over the next 2 to 4 weeks.

❌Don’t: Launch With a Low CPC or Too Small a Budget

At Outbrain, we love testing and totally understand the need to start small initially to see what works and what doesn’t. However, starting with too small a budget or a CPC that isn’t competitive will restrict our algorithms from finding your converting users.

Ultimately, this may hinder the system’s overall learning about which ads, publishers, and tactics drive the best performance for you.

✅Do: Launch campaigns with a minimum daily budget of $250.

This gives the algorithms enough leeway to properly explore the network, and launch at a CPC that is competitive for your targeting and campaign goals. If you’re unsure about what a competitive CPC is for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dedicated Customer Success Manager.

❌Don’t: Pause Top Spending Ad Creative

Perhaps the top spending ad in your campaign is driving significant conversion volume, but the CPA is not quite where you’d like it to be. The urge to pause this ad totally makes sense – it’s driving the CPA up, so it should be taken offline, right? Wrong! The effect of pausing is to essentially ‘decelerate’ your campaign, leading to a drastic drop in spend, but also in scale and performance.

✅Do: Use our Bid by Section tool

Bid up on converting publisher sections and bid down on any publisher sections with higher spend but few conversions. You can also break out top ads into their own campaign to isolate and scale ads with a better CPA.

❌Don’t: Lower CPC Aggressively

Your campaign launched 2 days ago and has a bit higher initial CPA, so you drop the CPC by 30 cents in a day to bring the CPA down. The next day, you see your spend has dropped dramatically. What now?

While the impulse to drastically lower your CPC is totally understandable, in reality, this will cause the campaign to be less competitive in our network, ultimately affecting campaign performance.

✅Do: Lower CPC no more than 4 to 5 cents each day to help reach your CPA goal.

Once you start hitting your CPA, gradually increase CPC and budget to start scaling the results. At Outbrain, making gradual CPC changes is the best way to ensure campaign health and success over time.


With these simple adjustments in mind, we’re confident your campaigns will start seeing the results they deserve. As always, your Customer Success Manager is available to answer any questions and discuss opportunities to scale your performance.


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