Facebooks New Content Ads: RIP Outbrain, Taboola, Gravity, Disqus

By January 13, 2014 9 Comments

There has been a huge growth of all new ad networks based around content personalization and recommendation on publishers websites large and small like:

  • CNN
  • Fast Company
  • Food Network
  • TMZ
  • Time

Several of the big winners powering these new native ad formats include companies like:

  • Outbrain
  • Taboola
  • Gravity
  • Disqus

These ads are typified by a catchy visual thumbnail and a catchy title begging you to click on the piece of ‘recommended content’.

It is the ‘BuzzFeed-ification’ of content and the advent of every copywriting headline technique known to man on every single blog post on the entire internet.

For better or for worse it is here. Why? Because I click the ads and you click the ads. We can’t help ourselves.

For publishers, it is simply an arbitrage game of ‘I can buy traffic at a $2 per thousand visitors and show them ads when they get to my site and make $2.02 on those same thousand visitors’.

In this new market opportunity for publishers, there is more opportunity for brands with products or services who are bullish on content marketing efforts to be able to pay for audience immediately to increase eyeballs to their content.

There has been recent news that Facebook traffic for new publishers has increased 170% and that things are going so well that there must be an inevitable collapse of new facebook traffic.

“We’re starting to get very nervous,” one staffer at a major paper told BuzzFeed. “It’s scary that they can get everyone hooked on such high referral traffic then take it away so quickly with a quick flip of their algorithm,” the staffer said, noting that there are even certain contingency plans in place in case of a change. Traditional internet advertising models depend somewhat on predictable traffic: a big month with low ad commitments is a lost opportunity; a low traffic month with over-sold ads is an immediate problem.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to try to diversify social traffic sources, putting more efforts into Twitter, Pinterest, etc., just as a hedge in case Facebook decides to pull the rug out,” the staffer said.-Charlie Warzel via Buzzfeed

Even  Pinterest has been cited as driving more and more traffic to publishers.

So what’s the deal here and why is everyone so enamored with publishers these days?


Facebook wants to be take up the largest % of ad budgets for all companies across any industry, that’s how they make money and make shareholders happy. (Don’t own any FB stock as of the beginning of writing this article. Update: I do now own stock as of clicking publish on this article.)

Remember not to long ago when every company or organization with a Facebook page flipped out because Facebook changed their algorithm and everyone had to pay for their posts to be seen by their existing fans? They got us all hooked on the free crack, took away the free crack, and started making us pay for the crack.

And do you know what? We paid for it too.

Because businesses spend $10 to make $11 all day long and now Facebook is just a free+paid ad hybrid.

The genius here is that if brand x is not running an ad on Facebook but is running it on, Facebook still wants to get a piece of that pie too. So what does it do? Starts giving free crack to Time and every publisher in the world in the form of 10x the traffic they normally get completely for free!

*cough*cough* seeing a pattern?*cough*cough

And low and behold, here I am all innocent perusing my Facebook feed looking at vintage released Star Wars set photos bestowed upon the world by none other than Chewbacca himself and what happens?

I am so sorry the aforementioned ‘big winners’ of native content advertising Outbrain, Taboola, Gravity, and Disqus. Facebook has more info about the people publishers want to come and read their stuff so they can charge higher rates for the ads on their website.

For some internet retailers who are starting to grow and build a community online beyond just selling products, they are sitting at a great opportunity when it comes to new paid ad channels that compliments earned eyeballs from social because they have stuff people want to read and a paid opportunity to put getting those eyeballs on steroids and adding it as a line item to their paid acquisition budget.

“Everyone is a media company”- Gary Vaynerchuk

One such company is Barkbox with their Barkpost.

With some as recently as a month ago citing “Publishers Nervously Await The Facebook “Correction”…

 image via Buzzfeed

The answer is clear, my friends.

Enjoying ‘unprecedented’ ‘free’ traffic from the ole’ FB?

It looks like it is about time to pay up for the love.

E-commerce retailer?

How can you utilize these new advertising channels:

  • Outbrain,
  • Taboola,
  • Gravity
  • Facebook Content Recommendation Ads
  • Disqus

Drive people to quality brand-relevant content for the soft sell to then transition them over to an email list to get more content, later on, to sell later down the road?

What do you think or how are you seeing brands start to use these different advertising channels in creative and different ways?

Justin Winter

Justin Winter

I am a proud 👫Husband, the ✈️CEO @boostopia, a ❤️Christian Hedonist, living in Durham, NC. Also passionate about 🌍Racial Equity, 🖥Technology, 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦Adoption, 🚀Startups, and 💪🏻Fitness.


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