Distribution Strategy


“We’re just not getting enough traffic to our content. We need to figure out a way to get more eyeballs”

There’s a million reasons why this could be the case, but if this sounds familiar, it might be time for you to consider paid distribution.


At its most basic level, paid distribution is paying to enhance traffic to a web page (or site). There is a lot of nuance and complexity, but ultimately everything comes back to this exchange. 

The easiest way to think through how this works is with an example. Let’s use Outbrain (though this applies to any ad network like Taboola or StumbleUpon — social networks like Facebook are slightly different). 

Outbrain has cultivated a group of websites that have the Outbrain ad unit on their pages. These are typically major publishers like CNN or Time Inc., but can also be smaller blogs and websites. As people visit these sites, they’ll see ads on the page in the Outbrain ad unit (also called a widget). These ads all come from advertisers who want to drive more traffic to their web pages. 

Advertisers place a bid through Outbrain of how much they’re willing to pay for a click (called Cost per Click or CPC) and when people click on the advertiser’s Outbrain ad — and thus visit the advertiser’s web page —  Outbrain will charge the advertiser their bid amount. Bids can range anywhere from $0.05 to $5.00 or more, depending on how much people click and a few other factors (these factors and the bid ranges change on a channel by channel basis). 

One of the major differences between an ad network like Outbrain and a social network like Facebook or Twitter is that social networks own most of the pages on which their ads are shown (i.e. the Facebook app), while ad networks like Outbrain or Taboola pay publishers for the right to put their ad units on page. Some of the other key differences are the data they use (Facebook and Twitter know a lot about your interests, friends, opinions, etc., while ad networks rely more on 3rd party data), their offerings (ad networks are focused on driving clicks and impressions, while social networks also use engagement metrics like Likes or Shares to supplement click and impression performance), and much more.

Got it — Money for Page Views. But How Do I Know If It Is Right For Me?

Well, that’s the billion dollar question, isn’t it? It depends on what your goals are. There are a ton of different reasons why companies pursue a paid distribution strategy. Below are a few of the most common ones -- see if any align with challenges you’re facing.

  • To grow an audience. If organic traffic to content isn’t strong enough, content creators want to expose their content to a wider group of people, with the hope that those visitors will like what they see and come back for more.
  • To ensure campaign success. If a publisher sells a branded content campaign and guarantees a certain number of page views, they’ll use paid distribution to supplement organic traffic and ensure they hit their numbers. 
  • To generate brand awareness or increase brand lift. Brands will drive traffic to content properties to ensure top-of-mind awareness or generate a brand activation.
  • To generate an action. eCommerce companies will drive traffic to their websites in order to encourage users to purchase their products. B2B companies will drive traffic to white papers or other lead-capture activities.

That Sounds Like Me! How Do I Get Started?

Excellent question! The first thing you should do is reach out to your SimpleReach CSM and let them know you’re interested in exploring paid distribution. They’ll be happy to walk you through everything you need and help make sure you’re asking the right questions and have all the information you need to formulate reasonable goals.

Once you’ve finished that conversation, they’ll give you access to the paid distributions page in the SimpleReach tool, which is how you let us know that you want to spend against your content and what your goals are. They’ll also introduce you to an Account Manager, who will be your main point of contact for all things related to paid distribution.

When you create a paid distribution through our tool, your Account Manager will reach out to you with any questions or things to discuss for creative (what the ads look like). 24–48 hours after we have everything we need (images, approved copy, links, etc.) your campaign will go live.

Our buying strategy is anchored around two components:

  1. Flexible distribution: We adjust budgets and shift spend towards what’s working well at the moment. Rather than starting off with fixed budgets in the beginning of a campaign, we constantly adjust budgets and spend based on what’s working well at that time. More about that here.
  2. Data driven optimizations: We use data from the distribution channels and from our analytics to make intelligent decisions and optimizations. 

We’ll be employing these methods to ensure your campaign runs effectively and meets the goals you’ve set forth for us. In order for you to track how we’re doing, we provide two types of reporting in the product:


You’ll be able to see spend, clicks, and CPCs by day by network and in total within the Paid section of Reports.  This data is updated daily with spend from the previous day.

Paid Referrals

Paid Referrals are any traffic driven from SimpleReach paid distribution. This data is available in the following places:

  1. Content Details Page: Click on any content’s headline to see paid referrals by network and device for the individual piece of content.
  2. Exports: Export a report to view paid referrals by article, network and device.
  3. Campaign Dashboard: Create a campaign dashboard and scroll down to the ‘Paid’ section of the Overview tab to see paid referrals by network for the campaign.

Running Paid Distribution With SimpleReach

Customers often ask how we’re able to consistently reach their goals and exceed expectations. Below are the keys to our success:

Data Driven Approach

Since we’re already measuring your content, we’re able to utilize this data to inform our paid distribution tactics and strategy for you. Our system uses the data we collect through to inform which content will be the most effective at meeting your goals, identify optimal targeting, and select the best distribution networks.

Industry Expertise

Our team has an expansive background, with experience in  publisher audience development, programmatic buying, media buying/planning, and more. We have extensive experience across premium publishers, Fortune 500 brands, content formats, and beyond. This experience, combined with the breadth of our customers allows us to identify industry and channel best practices, as well as catch trends well before you’d be able to on your own.

Hopefully this helps answer your questions about paid distribution. If you have more questions or want to get started, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your CSM.