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We at understand that media organizations are always looking for new ways to generate new revenue, while at the same time having to deal with reduced staff and increased competition.

So, we’re on a mission to build new revenue opportunities into our products and services through a variety of means - by innovating new product features within our BLOX CMS product, or by partnering with external vendors.

This week we are releasing a new way to increase your RPMs (revenue per page per thousand) with almost no additional work on your part! Introducing: BLOX CMS integrated programmatic native advertising!

What is programmatic native advertising?

Native advertising is a form of paid advertising that is meant to integrate in an almost seamless way with the content on your website. Native ads conform to the design and structure of your site, making the ad experience more immersive and intimate for the reader. This integrated form of content advertising is also optimal for the mobile experience.

“Programmatic” means that each ad unit uses behavioral and contextual data to ensure the most relevant ad is served for each reader, as determined by an algorithm which automates the buying and serving process with software. (Basically, it is using computers to buy ads!) For this purpose, has teamed up with a partner, Outbrain, who offers native ad content from national brands.

Normally, Outbrain requires a minimum of 1 million monthly article page views per month, in addition to a quality review process. However, by leveraging the huge customer base of the family of media websites, and based on the high quality of media sites that we work with, we are able to offer Outbrain premiere native ads to all of our partners.

What kind of native ad content will be displayed to my readers?

Outbrain works with hundreds of premium publishers who want to publicize their content and advertisers who are looking to promote their products and services.

Native ads that may be shown include content from LendingTree, Forbes, Fox Business, American Giant, Charles Schwab, Ernst & Young, Microsoft, Walmart, Macy’s, Nestle and more.

Content that may be shown includes videos, blog posts, articles, slideshows, sponsored content and earned media. Types of content that will not be shown includes generic homepages and section pages, PDFs, self-promotional content or adult material. Click here for more information.

How does Outbrain choose which native ads to show?

Outbrain uses a complex set of more than 50 algorithms to try to find the most interesting and relevant links for each individual reader on every page. The way the algorithms recommend content can be largely grouped into the following four buckets:

  • Personal: The reader’s personal preferences and geo-location.
  • Behavioral: Readers which share near-identical preferences.
  • Contextual: Content related to the environment on which it is recommended.
  • Popularity: Content which is trending across the network.

Will these ads have any impact (negative or positive) on my site SEO?

Since the native ads are served dynamically through a JavaScript function, search engines like Google will not index it or cache the page. In addition, all of these links include a “noindex,nofollow” meta tag on the domain, which is also blocked by robots.txt. This means there will be no negative SEO impact for your site.

And, since the widget loads asynchronously, the page will not wait for the Outbrain service to respond, which means there is very minimal impact on site speed.

What if I don’t like some of the content or marketers that are shown?

There is some amount of control about the types of content and the publishers that are shown in the native ad spots. Please contact us and we can work with Outbrain to remove types of content, certain publishers, or specific pieces of content.

How do I set up the native ads?

Native ads are extremely easy to set up. Currently, four blocks support integrated programmatic native advertising:

On each of these blocks, there is a new block customization property group called “Native advertising.” Open it, and it has several options to control the display of the integrated native ad.


Using these options, you can turn on or off the integrated native ad spot, as well as control its look and feel. With a few exceptions, it is up to you to determine how the ad is displayed within your content.

By default, the integrated native ad will look exactly like your content, with two requirements:

  • The integrated native ad must include the “Sponsored by Outbrain” logo.
  • The integrated native ad must include the native ad publisher’s name.

Other than that, it is up to the publisher to determine how closely the integrated native ad matches. You can decide to make it look entirely integrated, or you may choose to add an additional label or coloring to help it stand out.  Native Ads will open in a new browser window.

Some media organizations may want the ad to look nearly identical to other content on the website, while others may feel some amount of differentiation will make it clear to readers that this is sponsored content rather than organic content.

Note:  Currently, there can only be one Integrated Native Ad per page.

How should I set up my block query rules?

It is important to note that the integrated native ad is inserted into your content block - it does not replace any content. This is an important way to ensure that none of your original reporting is lost or hidden due to a misconfigured block.

However, it is important to note that if you are setting up a block that has a design which limits the number of stories that should show - most notably the Card: Mosaic block or the Card: Grid block - you should subtract one from the “max. Items” size in your query results.


For example, if you have a Card: Mosaic block that will show five stories, but you want to add one integrated native ad, you should set your query size to four. Four local stories plus one integrated native ad equals five total.

Other query rules, including sort order, would be up to the individual media organization. The integrated native ad will work with any rule set up.

Will the widget begin working immediately?

Yes, though certain parts of the widget may take some time to populate. If you are currently running Outbrain on your site, you should see full content right away. If this is the first time you’ve used Outbrain anywhere, it may take a few days to fully populate all content.

If you are not seeing the widget properly and it has been more than an hour, please contact and we can help expedite the process.

In addition, it takes the widget 2 - 4 days to learn about the kind of content that is on the site, and what types of content the readers of the site like. Due to this, there may be more generic ads shown for the first few days, but they should get more relevant and specific over time.