A Brief History Of...Outbrain with Joe James

A Q&A series featuring some of the most inspiring minds in the industry.

Today, we speak to Joe James of Outbrain - the world's largest content discovery platform. Here he gives us some tips on creating successful content and driving traffic.

1. What’s the best thing about working at Outbrain?  

The best thing about working at Outbrain is getting to see all of the amazing brand stories that clients are producing from inspiring content hubs to hilarious video content to educational and informative native content from 3rd party publishers, especially when that content leads to business results. 

 2. What are your top tips for creating successful content?

Listicles seem to work really well on Outbrain so with that in mind my top 4 tips are: 

1. As basic as it sounds: know your audience, learn what interests them, and find out how to add value to their digital experience. 

2. Create stories that speak to your audience and use available data to help inform what topics, themes and format to cover.

3. Produce stories on a regular basis, to engage your audience consistently across multiple touch points. 

4. Think about your business objectives and measure how your content impacts your online digital strategy.

 3. Digital has allowed consumers to dictate how and when they interact with media. Do you see this as an opportunity or a challenge?

Digital is becoming increasingly challenging and it's becoming increasingly hard to capture the scarce online attention, especially with some 300 million consumers globally installing ad blockers and most other consumers largely ignoring the traditional disruptive online ad formats (banners, pop ups etc). However, therein lies the opportunity. The opportunity for brands to create stories and digital experiences that provide both value to the consumer and also drive the right business outcome at the same time without being disruptive. Brands can win the consumer attention battle only if they can provide the right value in exchange. 

 4. If traffic is no longer a driving measurement – what metrics do you see as genuinely valuable for evaluating and refining a content marketing strategy?

Traffic is obviously an extremely important aspect of any content strategy, but what is more important is what those audiences do after the click. For some brands engagement metrics such as time on site or page views per session might be an effective measurement of the success of their content. For other clients it might be more about lead generation or conversion if they play more in the performance space. Think about your campaign objectives, ensure your content is set up for success (ie page design, calls to action) and then invest in different channels and optimize, refine and repeat. 

5. What updates are just around the corner from Outbrain? 

Outbrain will join forces with Oracle Data Management Platform (formerly BlueKai) and Acxiom’s LiveRamp, enabling marketers to integrate their own first party data with content marketing for the first time. As an extension of Outbrain’s Custom Audience solution – a capability which lets marketers re target their website visitors across the Outbrain network – these two new integration's now offer marketers the chance to engage both website visitors and their DMP's (data management platform) audience segments.

The integration falls in line with the forecast for 2016, in which 82% of marketers plan on increasing their usage of first party data this year. 

Posted on April 28, 2016 .