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Toolkit Tuesday: Increase Time on Site with Outbrain Widget

Does this screenshot look familiar? Odds are, you’ve seen something like this at the end of an article on a popular website. In fact, recommendations for additional content are something you’ve probably become accustomed to seeing on sites all over the web. If you are a reader, it can be a helpful way to find new and interesting articles, posts or videos, and if you’re a business or brand, it helps your visitors to stay engaged longer with your website. The great news is that you don’t have to be CNN or Mashable to offer this same feature to your

Outbrain

Does this screenshot look familiar?

Outbrain_WidgetOdds are, you’ve seen something like this at the end of an article on a popular website. In fact, recommendations for additional content are something you’ve probably become accustomed to seeing on sites all over the web. If you are a reader, it can be a helpful way to find new and interesting articles, posts or videos, and if you’re a business or brand, it helps your visitors to stay engaged longer with your website. The great news is that you don’t have to be CNN or Mashable to offer this same feature to your readers.

Outbrain is a content discovery platform that allows you to promote your site’s content, either on your own site or on third-party publisher sites. It offers two different products – the Outbrain widget for promoting your content within your own site or blog, and the pay-per-click option for sponsoring your content on other sites. Depending on the size of your company and what your goals are, you may decide to choose one or the other, or both.

1. Use the Outbrain Widget to Increase Time on Site

The Outbrain widget is a free tool that places additional content from your website at the footer of each blog post or article, thus making it easy for users to click through and continue consuming content on your site.

Outbrain_Widget_3You can easily install the widget on your WordPress or Squarespace site (or add to any site using Javascript code). Just go to Outbrain’s website, register for a free account, and follow the three-step installation process.

When we first installed the widget, the recommended posts didn’t show up. We Googled articles, read support forums, and searched the Outbrain help section but didn’t see anything amiss. Apparently it just takes a little time to get going, because when we checked back a few hours later, there was our first recommended link:

Outbrain_Widget_2It wasn’t displaying quite as we had hoped (only showing one article, and no thumbnail image), but this was easily rectified by logging in to our new Outbrain account and adjusting the settings under the “Manage Blogs” tab.

Outbrain_Widget_settingsAlso, if your website receives more than 10 million page views per month, Outbrain also offers a revenue-sharing option if you opt to display links to third-party sponsored content on your site in addition to your own content.

2. Pay For Your Content to Appear on Other Sites

The second way to use Outbrain is to pay to have your content shown on other publishers’ sites – with the goal, of course, of increasing traffic to your site and generating new leads.

Outbrain has a network of over 100,000 publisher sites where they can show your content, but be aware that they – not you – have control of exactly when and where it gets shown.

To use this service, go to Outbrain.com/amplify and click the Get Started button. (If you don’t already have an account, this is where you’ll be prompted to create one.) Setting up your sponsored content works similarly to other pay-per-click advertising platforms. Choose the content you wish to promote – it can be individual articles/posts, or an RSS feed. Then set the price you are willing to pay each time a user clicks on your content. You can set a maximum daily budget (minimum $10).

Outbrain_Widget_Amplify

Added Value for Users – and Your Brand

The mark of a truly great site feature is if it adds value to your visitors’ experience. We are eager to watch our Google Analytics over the next few weeks to see how the Outbrain widget impacts our visitors’ engagement (yourself included!) and brings value resulting in more time spent on our site.

Have you had success using Outbrain or another content discovery tool on your site? Leave us a comment below or connect on Facebook or Twitter.

Heather Allen

Belle's first employee. Lover of great food, good books and spreadsheets. Mom of three. Native Floridian and city girl residing in the cornfields of central Illinois.