Depending on whether the in-feed placement comes from the publisher or Outbrain, it will bear different labeling: either “recommended by Outbrain” if Outbrain is serving the ad, or “sponsored by brand X” if it’s a publisher-sold placement.
Proper ad disclosures for native advertising is something the FTC has had its eye on as the online format rises in popularity. During the Clean Ads conference last week, FTC associate director of advertising Mary Engle warned publishers to pay attention to the presentation of native content they create.
Outbrain – chastised by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK but never in the US for its disclosures –says it’s often an educator when it comes to proper ad disclosures.
“We used to have just the Outbrain logo, and that’s not transparent enough,” Crenshaw said. “Users have to know where the content is coming from, or it becomes a mess. We don’t want to be in the business of trading user trust for click-through rates.”