Outbrain: The Best Alternative To Taboola?

If you want to start your first native ad campaign, the first two ad networks you’ll likely encounter are Taboola and Outbrain.

They are the two biggest networks for native advertisers and content marketers. They both offer high-quality traffic from top publishers like USA TODAY, Business Insider, CNN, Fox News, Mashable, MSNBC, and more.

Having to choose between them is a lot like choosing between a delicious pizza and an amazing hamburger. You can't really go wrong, but it's still worth the consideration.

So let me give you a couple pointers on the perks of each network...


In case you’re still wondering “What the hell are advertorials?!”

In short, advertorials are the future of advertising. They are advertisements “disguised” and often times functioning as high-quality editorial content. If you want to learn more about advertorials and native advertising, click here.

1. The Support You Get

As someone new to this whole content marketing and native advertising deal, you'll want to know if your ad spend will be in good hands on these networks.

The answer is a reassuring yes. Both Taboola and Outbrain offers great support.

Taboola has a help section with helpful articles on best practices and all aspects of using their platform. Outbrain matches that with free video tutorials.

As the two biggest networks for native advertisers, they both offer live support and they'll respond to your questions and concerns within a reasonable time-frame.

The only difference is, while Taboola assigns you a personal account manager, Outbrain doesn't have this option. They do, however provide you with hands-on help from their staff in your first 30 days. Plus, their network is easier to use.

2. Traffic Quality & Click Prices

In terms of clicks, both sites offer about the same traffic quality.

Your content and native ads can be shown on top publications as well as not-so-well-known sites and blogs. If your targeting is on-point (and you exclude most websites you DON'T want to be seen on) you can't go wrong with either network.

If you want clicks from premium websites only (that is, sites like CNN, Forbes, CNBC, Business Insider, etc.) you can make a note of that and each network will gladly abide.

As far as click prices go, Outbrain seems to average lower CPCs than Taboola. Plus, Outbrain will spread out your ad budget evenly during the days your campaign is running. This can't be said about Taboola, where thousands of dollars can be gone in seconds. If you don't know what you're doing, that can be deadly for your campaign.

Overall, both Taboola and Outbrain offer about the same as far as clicks go. But Outbrain is the budget-friendly option, whereas with Taboola you can achieve MASSIVE scale

3. Advertising Policy & Content Policing

In this quick blog post, I won't go into details on the networks' ad policy. I’m just sharing a general overview based on my experience.

In short, Outbrain generally enforces higher standards when it comes to your content. It’s best to use it as a content amplification platform. You won’t get away with direct advertising and product promotions.

Taboola, on the other hand is more accepting when it comes to sales materials. They are the tabloids of the native advertising world. They have moderate rules and they’ll run just about any content piece as long as you stay within legal (and ethical) boundaries.

Before advertising on any of the networks, please do review their policies.

4. Conclusion: Outbrain vs Taboola?

In conclusion, choose Outbrain or Taboola based on the unique needs of your business. They're both great ad networks if you want to boost your content marketing or spend profitably on native advertising.

Outbrain can be a bit more friendly budget-wise, whereas Taboola is great for massive scale and branding needs. But Outbrain is also more strict about what’s allowed to run on their network.

If you’re just getting started with native ads, I suggest to test your advertorials and funnel with Outbrain first. If it flies with them, don’t be afraid to allocate some of your budget to Taboola too. It will be worth it.

Whichever network you end up investing in, you’ll need to write interesting headlines to attract clicks and produce high-quality advertorials that will work.

You can test things on your own and spend a lot trying to figure it all out  - or you can go ahead and download my free guide “How To Write Advertorials That Don’t Suck” to avoid some of the most common blunders, explore proven templates, and more.

Or if you you're short on time and would rather have someone with experience write the whole thing for you, click here to contact me.

About the Author David Hegedus

Hey, I'm David Hegedus. A copywriter from Hungary. I use my love for words and storytelling to help businesses get more sales through smart campaigns. Here I write about marketing, persuasion, and the good life. Or whatever interests me at the moment. Enjoy.

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