Conversion Tactics

How do I create and track conversions using the Outbrain pixel?

Once you’ve installed Outbrain’s pixel, you can begin setting up conversions in your Amplify dashboard.  The more conversions you can track across your website, the better — this will provide you with the most comprehensive picture of user behavior across your site, fueling data-driven performance optimizations.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • How to set up URL-based and event-based conversions in the Amplify dashboard (conversions initiated by click)
  • How to interpret and customize conversion reporting in the Amplify dashboard
  • View-through conversions (conversions not initiated by click)
  • Best practices for tracking conversions for multiple advertisers under the same account
  • How to check if the conversions are being tracked properly

Beginning with conversions initiated by clicks, there are two types of conversions: URL-based conversions and event-based conversions.

URL-Based Conversions

URL-based conversions track each time a user lands on the URL that you specified in your conversion settings. For example, completing a purchase and landing on a confirmation page. Installing the pixel in the header of every page on your site will allow you to generate different URL-Based events and provide easier tracking.

To begin setting up a new URL-based conversion on your dashboard, start off in the Conversions tab on the left-hand side rail. You’ll see an “Add Conversion” button in the top right-hand corner (next to the “Outbrain Pixel” button). Go ahead and click the button to proceed.

A window will open where you can enter all your conversion specifications, beginning with the Type. Select “URL-Based Conversion” and specify the URL (or key piece of the URL) tied to your conversion. Below, you’ll see we have entered “Outbrain.com/blog” as an example.

Next, enter the remainder of your conversion details:

  • Category: Choose a category that best describes the type your conversion.
  • Name: The name will be automatically populated to match the name of the chosen category, but you are able to change it if necessary. If you’re using Google Tag Manager (GTM) to track implement OB pixel, make sure the name of the conversion precisely matches the name of the conversion in GTM. Learn more here.
  • Window: Set the time it usually takes for a prospect to make the conversion you’re optimising for (the time it takes from click to conversion)
  • Value (if applicable): Attribute a value to each conversion. Keep in mind this works best with static conversion values. If you’re looking to pass back the value of each conversion dynamically, visit this article.

Be sure the “Create an Audience Segment” box is checked — this will ensure your converted audiences are pooling in the Audiences tab on the dashboard. 

Click “Save” at the bottom once the fields are complete.

The Tracking Status will remain as “Pending” until the action has been tested or a conversion has occurred. You can check that the pixel fires properly by using our pixel tracker browser extension.

Quick Tips

  • Omit HTTP(S) when adding your URL to prevent tracking issues
  • To track views for specific pages, create a conversion with “URL Contains”: /product-page

Conversion Reporting

Once the first conversion has been tracked, the following columns will populate on your main Campaigns dashboard: ConversionConversion Rate, and CPA. Each will follow the naming convention you created for the conversion. As data begins to roll in, you can measure your conversion results using a host of data breakouts, such as PublisherPublisher Section, and Content to further optimize your campaign’s performance.

Tracking a few conversions? You can customize your dashboard view to display only a few conversion columns at a time. To do this, click the “Customize Columns” button above the data visualizer. From there, you can select which columns to show in your default view.

If you’d like to learn more about how to view and filter for conversions, check out this guide.

View-Through Conversions

Beyond just tracking click-initiated conversions, you can also track view-through conversions in the Amplify dashboard.

View-through conversions are when a user views one of your ads (but does not click) and later converts within the next 24 hours. View-through conversions at Outbrain are based on viewable impressions — If a user views at least 50% of your ad for at least one second, it’s considered a viewable ad (per the MRC standards).

View-through conversions are a great way to zoom out on your campaign’s performance, as they’ll provide more insight into the impact of your ads on your conversion rate.

As part of our transparency effort, you’ll find that view-through and click-through conversions will be reported both as a total as well as separately on our platform. To help you better identify your conversion sources, you’ll find that the Conversion columns will be labeled with (Click) or (View). If the columns include both, they’ll be labeled with (View & Click).

Event-Based Conversions

Event-Based conversions require knowledge of HTML. Implementation of/ alterations made to the Event-Based conversion pixel code cannot be troubleshot by our Support team. Only use this conversion style if you or someone on your team is up to speed on HTML.

Event-based conversions track a specific action that the reader takes on your site, unrelated to a particular URL. This can include button clicks such as “Add to Cart” or “Subscribe.”

The creation process for event-based conversions follows the same steps as for URL-based conversions (outlined above), but with a nuance: this type of conversion requires extra code (and possibly the assistance of your web developer). The snippet of code will be provided as soon as you click “Save” at the bottom of the “Create Conversion” page. Don’t forget: you will still need to install the Outbrain pixel in addition to the event-based code provided.

We provide two versions of the code snippet; select the snippet that best works with your website implementation (a tag manager system or directly inside a script tag).

Here are a couple examples of how the event code might be placed:

Event based conversions

If your conversion requires different values depending on the action taken, check out our helpful guide on how to create Dynamic Values. At any time, you can view the code snippet by clicking on the view (eye) icon next to the conversion type.

Advanced: Tracking Conversions for Multiple Advertisers on the Same Account

If you have several advertisers listed under the same account, you have the ability to add multiple advertiser IDs within the pixel by separating them with a comma and a space (see example below – note the bolded part of the code, and add the correct marketer IDs). This is a more convenient alternative to implementing multiple pixels on each page. This way, you will be able to capture audiences in each respective advertiser that is tied into this pixel.

<script data-obct type=“text/javascript”>
!function(_window, _document) {
    var OB_ADV_ID=[‘00a48561a62513714dfe43b5bc90dd2000’, ‘00a48561a62513714dfe43b5bc90dd2001’, ‘00a48561a62513714dfe43b5bc90dd2002’];
if (_window.obApi) {var toArray = function(object) {return Object.prototype.toString.call(object) === ‘[object Array]’ ? object : [object];};_window.obApi.marketerId = toArray(_window.obApi.marketerId).concat(toArray(OB_ADV_ID));return;}
var api = _window.obApi = function() {api.dispatch ? api.dispatch.apply(api, arguments) : api.queue.push(arguments);};api.version = ‘1.1’;api.loaded = true;api.marketerId = OB_ADV_ID;api.queue = [];var tag = _document.createElement(‘script’);tag.async = true;tag.src = ‘//amplify.outbrain.com/cp/obtp.js’;tag.type = ‘text/javascript’;var script = _document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];script.parentNode.insertBefore(tag, script);}(window, document);obApi(‘track’, ‘PAGE_VIEW’);

Don’t forget: you’ll need to set up audiences based on URL-based rules identically for each advertiser within the dashboard. For conversions (and the audience segments that are built from them), the same step of setting up the actual rule in the dashboard for each individual account is still necessary. Please note, this process works for both URL and event-based conversions, as both are dependent on the universal pixel including that marketer’s respective ID. 

If you do use it for event-based conversions, just make sure that each advertiser that is tied into this pixel has the same event name as all others advertisers (see example below).

To prevent attributing the same conversion to multiple advertisers, we recommend to set the conversion window to one day. For example, a brand selling in both France and Belgium has a pixel that is triggering for both the French and Belgian advertiser. If a user clicks on the ad from Belgium and two days later clicks from France, having the attribution window set to just one day will prevent that same conversion to be attributed to both the French and the Belgian advertisers.  

Pixel and Conversion Tracking Status

To check whether the pixel has been correctly implemented, check the implementation status in the Conversion tab:

  • Active – Firing accurately
  • No Recent Activity – No recorded pixel or conversion activity in over 72 hours
  • Not Active – Pixel hasn’t been activated or hasn’t yet fired

In the Conversions column, you’ll also be able to check the status of each conversion connected to the pixel. Simply hover over the status for an explanation of what it means and how to troubleshoot:

In case you see that your pixel is not active or hasn’t fired in a while, use our easy-to-use Outbrain pixel tracker browser extension to double-check the pixel has been correctly added to your website.

Important to Note

  • Conversions will be attributed to the day the click takes place, rather than when the conversion occurs. This attribution is in line with how Meta, Google, and other popular platforms track conversions.
  • Testing the pixel will not register a conversion in the dashboard. A conversion will only be recorded when a reader clicks on your ad in the Outbrain widget, reads through your awesome content, and completes the desired action you have outlined in your dashboard.
  • Don’t worry if you make a mistake — you can always click the pencil icon next to the conversion name to edit your conversion settings.
  • If you choose to edit the pixel’s destination URL for URL-based conversions or the event name for event-based conversions, the conversion status will change to “Pending” until the pixel has been tested or a conversion has occurred.
  • We recommend keeping your campaigns running for at least two weeks to collect enough conversion data to begin optimizing.
  • Our pixel will only track conversions coming from an Outbrain source.
  • You can choose to Include in Conversions if you wish to have the URL-/event-based conversion show up in the column displaying Total Conversions.
  • Conversions are supported for both view time and conversion time, with the default being view/click time.
  • View-through conversions are not able to include views from MSN, SDK, or programmatic traffic.

Whew! You’ve made it to the end of this article and may still need help setting all this up.  Our DIY Customer Success team is here to assist with any questions you may have.

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