Trust & Authenticity
Our Advertising Guidelines
Outbrain partners with premium publishers and marketers who are passionate about creating a great user experience. In order to achieve this, we’ve developed advertising guidelines that specify the requirements to promote your pages in our network. We do expect our marketers to be good partners by following these guidelines and helping to build user trust in the Outbrain network.
Outbrain reserves the right to reject any content for any reason at our sole discretion. We strive to make the Outbrain network safe for both marketers and publishers. While we do make best efforts to enforce the guidelines, we may not always identify problematic content before it goes live. Content will be blocked post-launch if we feel it compromises the safety or quality of our network. If you discover content running in the network that violates the guidelines, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the screenshot and URL of the violating page and we will work as quickly as possible to remove it.
In addition, any content linked to from the Outbrain service that is not identical to the content as initially submitted will be immediately removed. Further, our publisher partners may choose to block specific pages or entire sources. Any advertiser who repeatedly violates our guidelines will be blocked from the Outbrain network without notice.
Acceptables Page Types
- Article Pages & Blog Posts
- Earned Media
- Videos (must contain some descriptive text on the page)
- Search Pages & Directory Pages
- Home Pages
- Product/Landing Pages
- Advertorials (with proper disclosure that follow Outbrain’s Advertorial policies)
- No Promotion or Sale of Adult Products
- Content may not be:
- Overly sexual
- Imply nudity
- Display excessive amounts of skin/cleavage or focus unnecessarily on body parts
- Allude to sexual activity
- Content cannot promote the sale of alcohol
Hate, Violence, or Discrimination
- Defames an individual, organization, or group of people
- Segregates or classifies individuals or groups of people by race, religion, ethnicity, sexual origin, color, age, gender identity, family status, disability, or medical condition
Exploitation or Endangerment of Minors
- Websites that seek to intentionally deceive the end-user into believing something that is not true
- Content designed to deceive the reader into believing that they are reading legitimate editorial content or fact-based news
- Could be a cleverly disguised advertisement (with little or no value afforded to the reader) or a piece of propaganda or a hoax
High Risk Investments and Business scams
- Content which encourages high risk investments or money making schemes with the intention of profiting off user participation
- No “Get Rich Quick” Schemes
- No Payday Loans
- No Penny Stocks
- Contains adware, malware, spyware, virus, Trojan Horses, or other features designed to infiltrate or damage computer systems or access personally identifiable user information without explicit user consent
- Content cannot advocate for or promote one religion over another
- No e-cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, vaporizers, hookahs
Unsafe Products or Supplements
- No ephedra and anabolic steroids
- No weight loss supplements
- No male enhancement or erectile dysfunction products directly sold to consumers
- May not make illegitimate or unproven claims about results
- No before/after photos of unlikely results
- May not promise to diagnose, cure, reverse any disease, condition, or illness
Weapons or explosives
Outbrain reserves the right to block content from the following groups and categories. Restrictions may vary depending on the region your campaign targets.
Negative Earned Media
- Direct competitors cannot promote negative earned media or content that defames or otherwise compromises an industry competitor without clear disclosure
- Content must comply with financial governing bodies
- All political content must have clear disclosure (ie. Promoted By [Political Party])
Landing Page Guidelines
Content should provide a positive, value-adding experience for users.
- Clear Disclosure Required
- “Advertisement” or “Advertorial” must appear clearly and prominently at the top of applicable pages. Disclosures must appear in a placement, color, and font size that is easily read by a user.
- Affiliate marketing sites must clearly disclose any financial relationship between the site and sponsoring advertiser in accordance with governing guidelines
- No Excessive Overlays or Pop-Ups:
- A user must be able to easily close any popup advertisements or overlays that appear in connection with the landing page.
- No Misleading Advertising Techniques:
- Fake testimonials
- Fake comments
- “Too good to be true” statements
- Fake social media icons
- Fake navigation that make a user think that it is a larger editorial site
- Fake site logos
- Auto refreshing date stamps to the current date
- Titles that are dynamically generated based on IPs
- False 3rd party endorsements by celebrities or others
- False rumors about any person/celebrity
- Scare tactics to encourage users to take a specific action
- Countdown clocks that make a user think the offer expires (when it doesn’t)
- Contact Us link/section (for Advertorials/Affiliates) Required
- Content cannot be copied from another site or violate copyrights. Any plagiarized content without clear disclosure of authorship will not be allowed.
- Content should not include trademarks or logos that are confusingly similar in design to that of third parties
- Links in content must be labeled accurately and must link to the page or pages reasonably expected by the reader
- Viral sites, that host content widgets other than Outbrain's, will be required to display the Outbrain widget for all Outbrain-referring traffic. This will ensure that our audiences have a great content experience, even after the first click.
- Additional sites may also be required to display the Outbrain widget for all Outbrain referring traffic.
- Content must be current and feature up-to-date information
When creating additional titles for your content, please ensure all new titles accurately reflect the tone and subject matter of your content. Headlines will be rejected if they attempt to mislead or falsely entice readers.
Inaccurate, Misleading, or Overly Sensational Headlines
- Does not accurately depict the content
- Exaggerates or embellishes the content
- Contains offensive words in any language
- Employs sexual/violent/explicit language that sensationalizes content
“Too good to be true” headlines
If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
- “One weird trick that will help you lose that belly fat”
- “Mom reveals clever $4 wrinkle therapy, makes doctors furious”
Please adhere to the following grammar, capitalization, and punctuation guidelines when submitting titles.
- Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading
- Capitalize all major words in the title, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report)
- No excessive capitalization or inter-capitalization, such as words or phrases in all capitals (exceptions include trademarked brand names, acronyms, and common abbreviations)
- Observe correct verb tenses, subject-verb agreements, and spelling
- Use correct spacing (e.g. no missing or excessive spaces between words or punctuation)
Punctuation & Symbols
- Refrain from inappropriate, aggressive, or tasteless punctuation in headlines
- Do not use periods at the end of headlines
- Repeated punctuation (?!?!) or symbols are not permitted
- Do not include a price point in headlines
Any images being promoted in Outbrain's widget must meet the following standards of network appropriateness.
Thumbnail Images Cannot Include:
- Nudity or sexual imagery
- Drugs or drug paraphernalia
- Imagery that is designed to provoke, offend, or shock
- Circles or Arrows placed to highlight a specific part of the image
- Violence, gore, or dead bodies
- Graphic images of physical deformities or health conditions
- Zoomed in body parts
- Profanity or offensive language
- Before/After Photos
- Politicians/Celebrities for Product Endorsement
Quality & Appearance
- All images must be relevant to the linked content.
- Images must be good quality.
- Images must be clear, recognizable, and properly oriented.
- Images that have been altered with Photoshop or other graphic editing softwares will not be permitted.
- No animation
- Images cannot employ deceptive practices to entice a user to click. These include:
- Images that pretend to be a system or site warning
- Images that use sensational tactics that are not relevant to the source material