Outbrain vs Facebook Ads: Who´s The Winner?

Published by Pedro Campos on

outbrain vs facebook ads

It´s showtime. Outbrain ads vs Facebook ads.

Who will get the knockout? It´s not what you might think.

These two platforms might not be in the ring literally but they´re on your mind. You´ve been thinking about where to put your ad budget.

The goal of this article is to help you come to a conclusion and make an informed decision. I´ll show you their advantages, disadvantages, and what to expect when you advertise there.

The bell has rung. Get ready.

Outbrain vs Facebook: The Cruiserweight Class Showdown

Now you might be like: “come on Pedro… cruiserweight? They´re not even in the same class!”

According to conventional marketer wisdom, they´re not. A study by Postclick shows that Facebook is still preferred by most marketers. Also, it is the platform most want to advertise on in the future.
However, that doesn´t mean everyone should just jump on the bandwagon and give Mr. Zuck their hard-earned money.

For some industries, it´s very difficult to find their target market on Facebook. Then platforms like Outbrain can be a good option.

Although Facebook is preferred by most advertisers, as you´ll discover later, most consumers don´t share the same preference.

Pre-Match Statistics

Let´s dive a bit into the history and numbers of these two platforms.

Platform

Year Founded

Annual Revenue

Advertisers

Web Market Share

2006

$767 Million

31,506

0.05%

2004

$85.9 Billion

3,024,892

4.32%

From seeing these stats, it seems Facebook will knockout Outbrain in no time. Sometimes, big numbers can be misleading.
We have to go beyond the numbers to really understand what they mean.

The Common Characteristic

At first glance, you might think these two platforms are very different. That couldn´t be further from the truth.
Here´s why.

At their core, both Outbrain and Facebook are native advertising platforms, where the user intent is similar. Native means associated with the place or circumstances. In other words, native ads look and feel like the content where they´re being displayed.

Native has grown in popularity and it´s expected to be worth over $402 billion by 2025.
This comes as no surprise since consumer behavior is shifting. People are ignoring direct response ads more and more. Native ads are less intrusive and give the user a better overall experience.

Outbrain Users

Saying users might be a bit misleading since Outbrain isn´t an app but a media buying platform. Through their technology, your ads can appear on different premium publishers across the open web. I want to emphasize the word premium.

Outbrain is known as a discovery network. People who visit these sites are in discovery mode, looking for information but not necessarily about what you offer.

Native advertising is expected to be worth over $402 billion by 2025.

Facebook Users

When we talk about Facebook as an app, people want to have a laugh and connect with their friends. The other side of Facebook, that most might not be aware of, is the audience network. This is a conglomerate of approved placements, websites, and apps where your ads can appear.
Similar to Outbrain, people who visit these sites are browsing for information.

However, these placements are often perceived as low quality and low relevance for the advertiser. Most businesses that advertise on Facebook see the best results on placements other than the audience network, for example, feeds.

Outbrain vs Facebook Ads: Main Differences

You already know these two platforms share one thing in common. Essentially, they´re both native platforms.

If they were exactly the same, you wouldn´t be reading this. There are some noticeable differences between the two and that´s what we´ll be exploring now.

Performance Metrics

It´s difficult to compare both platforms without looking at their average performance.

Platform

Average CPM

Average CPC

Average CTR

$0.37 - $1.12

$0.37 - $3.00

0.10% - 0.25%

$2.00 - $30.97

$0.70 - $1.01

1.00% - 5.00%

Again, these numbers are for information purposes and are not guarantees of good performance. Every business is different and results will vary.

Building Trust

In an era where trust is vital for consumers to buy from a brand, social media and publisher content stand apart. A research study concluded only 41% of American consumers trust Facebook.
If we look at other platforms like Twitter, the trust level is even lower.

On the other hand, premium publishers, where Outbrain ads show, get as much as 65% trust amongst consumers.

Trust is one of the reasons native advertising is so powerful and growing in popularity.

What´s Best For You

Finally, let´s take a look at the advantages, disadvantages of each and which is the one that might be suitable for your business.

Platform

Advantages

Disadvantages

Best For

  • Advanced targeting and bidding options

  • High quality publisher content

  • Brand safety controls

  • High barriers to entry

  • Needs a bigger investment up front

Brands that want a bigger scaling potential and struggle to find their target audience on social media or paid search

  • Fairly cheap and easy to get started

  • Great targeting options for B2C products

  • Multiple placements besides Audience Network

  • Lost effectivness after iOS updates

  • Typically lower value traffic

  • Creatives take more resources to produce

Small businesses that want to get started and see some results relatively quickly without breaking the bank

Facebook and Outbrain are two great advertising platforms. As you can see, using one or the other will depend mainly on your marketing goals.
You can always choose both as part of your overall customer acquisition strategy, given that you can find your ideal customers there.

Outbrain Ads vs Facebook Ads: Who Would You Bet On?

You might have started reading this thinking Facebook was going to be the champion. It is a champion in some areas just like Outbrain.

But as you can probably tell by now, we came to an unexpected ending. There´s no clear winner!
They’re both very powerful advertising platforms that combined with the right strategy can give you customers profitably for years to come.

If you had to put all your chips on one platform, which would it be?


Pedro Campos

Pedro is a Portuguese-born who fell into the media buying world by chance after watching a video ad online. These days, you can find him running Advertongue, an agency helping global brands grow and scale efficiently by turning native advertising into profit. Outside work, Pedro enjoys traveling, Mexican food, adventure sports, and action-packed movies. Hard to get him to drop a good book too, especially those from legends of the ad business.

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