The Display is Dead! Long Live Native Display

In the Update Upgrade 2019 conference, Gilad de Paris, VP of strategy in Outbrain lectured about ways to handle banners that do not bring results, and the tools that allow us to improve our performance.

The Display is Dead. Long Live Native Display

In 2017 there was a breakthrough in the content world and since then it was obvious that content marketing is going to be the next big thing. Often, we find it hard to describe the services we offer in an image / video ad. Outbrain is the company that shows the promotions in the lower part of article pages all around the world. The concept behind this marketing method is that using rich, high-quality contents, we can reach new and high-quality target audience. We can link the client with the brand and increase our sales.

Who is Outbrain’s Audience? Who is Outbrain’s Marketing Agent?

Today, almost all marketers work with Outbrain: brand marketers, publishers, content websites, PR agencies, performance players etc. Outbrain has a platform providing solutions to small and large players.

Native Advertising is the Future of Display

In the future, all advertising will be native.

There are a few significant trends in the world, we can distinguish:

The need of people not to be interrupted

The world today undergoes a radical change since the most basic infrastructure for mass marketing changes for the first time since the invention of the radio, 100 years ago. Thinking about how brands come to market, we understand that most of them come out of a “disruption” or “attention theft”. For instance, we are watching TV and are interfered with commercial breaks during the time we are watching. In the radio, this also happens, as we listen to morning talk shows and hear advertisements of various products – this is how brands come to market.

Every few years the users have the power to choose: do they agree to be interrupted or choose not to be interrupted. Throughout the years we see a growing use of VOD services, listening to podcasts instead of radio stations, using Spotify or Pandora. Today we have the technological alternative that allows us to block and avoid these commercials.

Statistically – watching linear TV (where we still “zap”) suffers a great decrease. There is one thing in linear TV that still works for most of the world – news and sports.

It is not surprising, therefore, that today, in the digital world, 70% of the advertising budget goes for native advertising. Most of the advertising we are doing in the digital world today is native (Facebook, Google Search, etc. and actually all places where we do not search how to skip the disruption).

The Way People Approach Contents

In the past, people approached contents through a homepage, like Ynet, and chose the article they were interested in reading. The traffic to the leading global and Israeli website becomes side door traffic. This is highly important since many of the strategies of traditional marketing used to base on a homepage take over. The effectiveness of the traditional method decreases, since most of the traffic goes to the stories websites. Accordingly, we should think how to implement a strategy to generate interest in a situation that the audience comes from the side and not from the front door.

Outbrain is considered by many as “this thing that appears under the stories”. It is true but more and more, do Outbrain try to enter the discovery of the contents. Most of the article contents today is discovered in the social networks, from there we enter the tory. Outbrain acts to change this world, trying as hard as they can to be accessible to the audience and bring them a discovery experience of the next thing you would want to read.

The Switch to Mobile

As advertisers, we all understand that we should advertise on mobile platforms, but what not all of us understand is that most of the traffic and content consumed is in the mobile. When we start to think about our marketing strategy, many times we think about mobile marketing as another way of marketing, and not start thinking and building this strategy based on the mobile platforms.

We must begin planning this strategy with “mobile in mind”. We must think what the audience sees, how the audience sees the marketing content, and where does the audience sees your advertisement, not only as an addition to the general strategy. When thinking about mobile ad planning the strategy with mobile in mind, we have to understand that the most important thing in mobile is the gesture of our finger when we view the screen: we swipe. When you think of mobile, think about a feed.

Native Advertising, Display and More…

Native advertising world is undergoing a great change during recent years. In the past, especially in the pre-digital world, in order to execute a significant media strategy, required meetings in dark rooms, making big transactions. Today, the world transfers to more programmed and transparent advertising, and the native undergoes the very same change. Today, it is also accessible and allows us to make the large change of moving from the banner and display world to the native world, in a way that allows us to use all the new tools and abilities that programmed advertising entails.

There are a few advantages:

A large advantage of the native is personal advertising. Plenty of times, people stop in understanding the native’s first step, its ability to help us personalize the advertising. This means that when advertising in native, there is no creative limit to a few single creatives cut according to a certain standard. We can use five native elements: image, headline, description, logo and destination. Each of these five elements can work with all the other four. Essentially, it is possible to make five square variations. You can mix and match the message for each of our target audiences.

A second advantage of native is the option to break the convention of how to buy media in the first place. When we make a display advertising (banners) buying the media is done in a CPM model. The chance of someone to click a banner, is lower than clicking on a native. We are talking about 4% exposure up to 20% when people are exposed to this area of recommendations (native advertisements). Using native advertisements allows us to buy media in a click model (CPC) and not using an exposure model (CPM). This allows us to measure how many times our message was really entered, and not how many times they were exposed to the ad. This model allows us to measure how many times people entered what we wanted to promote and get the free exposures.

Another advantage of the native is the data. We learn many things we would not have learned in the display world. For instance, we can know in general that X people consume contents, and it is possible to know that they, for instance, take interest in contents such as fitness much less than football. This data can take the average of content consumption in our specific category. All the data we collected, can run the campaign and understand the people who took interest in our contents, their behavior and how they are different in comparison with other categories. Based on this information, we can use plenty of data to optimize our strategy and our audience and make sure they are spoken to in words they can relate to.

A large change the native brings to the world is the option it provides to break out of the cage. In the past hundred years, the way for buying media in the world is renting a place on someone else’s property. We have a limitation in the page we are working with. Native allows the ad to become a part of the page, to be the property. Native allows us to think about creativity, not in terms of what the banner will look like, but in terms of how we are going to make enough interest with the content we are making. Eventually, we can make a relationship with the audience around the content we are creating.

So How Does Outbrain Works?

Three simple stages:

  1. Uploading contents to the Outbrain system
  2. Your contents appears as content recommendations in leading websites
  3. Receive focused traffic to your website according to the segmentation of your campaign.

How Much Does it Cost?

  • Choose a daily budget (minimum 20$ per day) and desired cost per click.
  • Pay only for clicks until you reach the daily budget.

Which Content Can You Promote?

  • Outbrain allows the promotion of contents that produces value to the reader (videos, blogs, stories, PR articles, etc.)

Define Your Target Audience

  • Match the campaign to the platform – an option to promote contents on mobile, tablet or desktop.
  • Geographic focus – focus your ads to clients in specific countries and also in specific areas.
  • Optimization – optimize the traffic to relevant websites, according to your discretion.

Controlling and Optimizing the Campaign Directly from the System

  • Result, expenses, traffic and conversion analyses
  • The ability to conduct changes easily and quickly
  • Immediate report export.

Outbrain in Numbers:

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Increase and Decrease of Global Trends

Most Users Use Ad Blockers:

70% of the Users Skip Ads:

Time Spent with TV Constantly Decreases in Comparison with A Mobile Use Increase (Adults in the USA, 2013-2020)

Increasing Activity in the Mobile in Facebook and Google


Outbrain specializes in personalizing the contents we are watching throughout the day in websites and apps. More than 50% of the views are done in mobile!


Many advertisers are stuck on Facebook and Google, and this presents an option to set new limits and reach new audiences. Outbrain’s main advantages: new audiences, content personalization, delivering clear messages, linking the brand with the client.

To Outbrain’s website

About Me

Gilad de Paris, Senior VP Strategy, Outbrain. One of the company’s first employees.