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3 Rules to Skyrocket Outbrain ROI

By February 5, 2016 Tips & Tricks No Comments

Recently got a customer email asking how to setup bid adjustments based on target CPA goals for his campaigns. After writing the email I realized it would make an excellent resource for others on adjusting Outbrain campaign bids based on cost per action (CPA) common in online marketing for improving campaign ROI.

The Problem:

Marketing manager running campaigns on Outbrain with a target CPA of $10 wants to increase bids up to 50% or lower 10% based on performance during the day. Outbrain conversion pixel in use to track conversion and cost per conversion that is used to measure performance.

Desired actions:

  • Raise CPC bid 25% when CPA under $7.50
  • Raise CPC bid 25% when CPA under $10.00 and Budget remaining under $100.00
  • Raise CPC bid 50% when CPA under $5.00
  • Lower CPC bid 10% when CPA over $10.00


Now we want to create 4 rules in Brax to accomplish your goals. You can change the bid % against the current CPC or against a constant CPC called “Control CPC” in Brax. We want the bid % to change based on a constant CPC value so use the “Control CPC”.

To handle the scenario of increasing bids by 25% when budget is under $100 left and CPA is less than $10 we have to assign the rules in a specific order to avoid rule contradictions such as lowering 25% after raising 50%.

Here are the rules in order of how you want to create / assign them to each campaign with a CPA target of $10.00

Rule 1 – Increase CPC bid 25% when CPA under $7.50

Assuming a control cpc of $1.00 this will set the bid to $1.25

increase bid 25 cpa

Rule 2 – Increase CPC bid 25% when Budget remains under $100

Assuming a control cpc of $1.00 this will set the bid to $1.25

budget under 100 increase 25

Rule 3 – Increase CPC bid 50% when CPA under $5

Assuming a control cpc of $1.00 this will set the bid to $1.50

We put this 3rd because the first two rules also meet these conditions sometimes yet we still want the 50% increase.

increase bid 50 cpa under 5

Rule 4 – Decrease CPC bid 10% when CPA over $10

Assuming a control cpc of $1.00 this will set the bid to $0.90

We put this last in case budget remaining is less than $100 but CPA is over $10 the bid is still lowered.
decrease bid 10 when cpa over 10

A few notes:

  • Test all automation rules on a small budget campaign first, check you are getting desired results
  • The rule priority is determined by order assigned to campaign. First rule assigned executes first, second rule executes second, etc so the order is important to accomplish your goals
  • Rules defined above are set to check CPA every 30 minutes everyday; you can shorten this by changing Start & Stop times
  • Change frequency of rule by changing Interval
  • If you base the CPA changes on historical data such as Yesterday or Last 7 Days then change Interval to “At time specified
  • The default control bid is the current CPC when you assign the first rule to a campaign. Set your control bid for campaigns here:
  • Rules run based on the time zone set in your Brax account. Set your time zone here:
  • The UI shows $ however it is based on the currency of your Outbrain account so no currency conversion necessary

The rules above can be modified slightly to adapt for just about any conversion focused campaign. If you have questions about how to setup rules send me an email, mark at, happy to help achieve your desired outcome.


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