[COVID-19] What’s Happening Online While You’re Inside?

While the outside world is on pause, consumers’ consumption habits are not — in fact, they’re more active than ever. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, in late March, we saw jumps in the amount of page views week over week across the Outbrain network.

Network Trends

With this influx of users consuming content comes an increase in the number of engagements within these given articles. This is apparent by the steady increase in Click-Through-Rates (CTR), which are up 24% since the week of March 1st on Mobile devices. However, not all aspects of Advertising are trending up, in fact, the average Cost-Per-Click (CPC)- since the beginning of March has declined by 25% for all buyer types for native ads — a good decline.

  • CTR’s have increased 24% since the first week in March
  • CPC’s have decreased by 25%

And not only are network trends changing, but we are also starting to see a shift in consumers’ reading patterns.

During this Global crisis, News has accounted for approximately 34% of total clicks over the past two months. However, in order to combat the disconcerting news around the coronavirus, Americans have been frequenting Entertainment pages as well, making it the second most clicked category. This goes to show that readers are still looking for light readings on celebrity gossip, TV, and movies during this time in order to distract themselves from the heartbreaking news.

Health Vertical

Interestingly enough, content related to Health is on the decline, just further proving the thesis that people are trying to take a break from the negative media and focus their energy elsewhere. Specifically, engagements with Cold & Flu content are dropping while Beauty and Nutrition are on the rise within the Health sector. Consumers are starting to think ahead about how to come out of quarantine looking and feeling their best by researching the latest beauty and nutrition trends.

  • Cold and Flu content engagements have decreased 6%
  • Beauty and Nutrition has increased 7% in engagements

Travel Vertical

Given travel restrictions and the stay-at-home order, cabin fever has become prevalent in society, and therefore Americans are fantasizing about their next adventure. This reigns true based on the data showing that the Travel category is performing the best in terms of CTR across all category pages.

  • The Travel category has the highest CTR in the network with a .26%!

The Top Outbrain Features to Test ASAP

Max Conversions mode: Conversion Bid Strategy

With Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) and Return-On-Investment (ROI) being at the forefront of Performance Marketer’s goals, the low network CPC’s offer a great opportunity for this buyer type. Outbrain’s newest feature, Max Conversions mode of Conversion Bid Strategy is a win-win for performance as it saves them time, and maximizes conversions.

On the other hand, high CTR’s present a unique contingency for marketers in the categories that are performing well in terms of engagements. Specifically, Travel, Beauty, Nutrition, and Entertainment content is booming, which speaks to Brands and Mobile Applications.

Interest Targeting

Even though the Tourism industry is taking a hit at the moment, it will most likely come out on top after quarantine due to the predicted surges in travel. Therefore, while these companies are most likely cutting advertising dollars at the moment, within the next few months they will have a great opportunity to ramp up. Targeting the “Travel” interest segment would ensure that marketers are reaching those users most likely to plan a trip using Outbrain’s proprietary data.


By utilizing Outbrain’s Carousel format, Cosmetic and Health companies who have DIY products could advance their Brand Awareness and Sales efforts now while consumers are searching for ways to keep themselves feeling and looking their best. Once again, these buyers are preparing to come out of this as the greatest version of themselves. The Carousel feature would be an effective marketing strategy for brands to showcase multiple products and services in a seamless ad experience.

App Installs Card – Coming Soon!

Finally, with Americans searching for additional ways to be entertained, mobile apps are expanding their marketing efforts. With Outbrain’s App Installs card launching early next month, mobile app designers will have an opportunity to target these entertainment seekers and incentivize them to download the app directly from a publisher page.

Just because we’re locked in, doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all of the latest Outbrain news — feel free to subscribe to our blog or reach out to our brainy Support team if you’d like to set up a campaign.

Launch your Campaign!

Create full funnel campaigns that drive real business results.

Start Now