Outbrain’s Yaron Galai and Eric Hadley on Brands and Content Discovery

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Outbrain

It’s Advertising Week in New York, when marketers get bombarded with pitches from media platforms and companies looking to win their business. Much of the chatter may focus on Facebook, which last week admitted to (and apologized for) overstating its video metrics, as well as Google’s moves to increase its appeal over traditional TV.

But what about so-called content discovery platforms like Taboola and Outbrain? These players, best known for serving up links to stories “you might also like” at the bottom of a web page, have fought ad blockers and a reputation for click bait. Their referrals are also a powerful driver of traffic and revenue for numerous mainstream brands. No wonder News Corp. is now testing its own cross-platform widget while competitor Revcontent has grown by casting itself as the place for premium content.

Outbrain

Against that backdrop, I met with Outbrain Co-founder and CEO Yaron Galai, as well as global marketing chief Eric Hadley, to talk about opportunities for growth. While the company makes money when people click on sponsored content, and shares that revenue with publishers, it’s also leveraging data to help brands create content.

“The fundamental currency is trust,” says Galai. If consumers value and trust what you have to say, they’ll stay engaged. He cites Apple press conferences as an example. “It’s two and a half hours of content marketing, and millions of people are opting into that.”

Here are excerpts from our interview:

Hadley joined Outbrain last year, having previously held executive positions at Pinterest, Weather Channel and Microsoft. His challenge, among others, is to convince marketers that a service typically used by upstart media sites can be of value to them. His pitch is framed less around generating traffic than understanding consumer behavior.

“We see what people are looking for,” says Hadley. “When we work with a marketer, it’s not what you see on the page. We can help them decide what content they have that they should run.” Check out excerpts from our conversation here:

Hear more from Galai below:


Diane Brady is a New York-based business journalist, author, media strategist and CEO of dB Omnimedia. Get more branding insights in our Q&A series.

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