The advertiser call to diversify your media mix has recently taken on a whole new meaning, as people everywhere grapple with issues of race and diversity and what it means for them.

For some advertisers, this means re-allocating advertising budgets in places that support their business’s ethical and monetary goals.

But getting started with digital advertising on a new platform isn’t always easy—there are creatives to consider, as well as targeting capabilities, billing parameters, reach, audience insights, and so much more.

Here at Taboola, we’re experts on campaigns that run on news sites and other sites that regularly publish content. Basically, everything outside your standard search and social campaigns.

Taboola's Sponsored Content Checklist

Today, we’re sharing our expertise to support you in adapting your Facebook campaigns for those sites, specifically for performance marketing goals. With these tips, your transition will be short and sweet, and set you up for success.

The Consumer Mindset: Facebook vs. Taboola

In both cases, consumers are open to discovering new things. They might not be looking for your brand or service specifically, but might be interested in you if you do a good job grabbing attention and grabbing their interest.

Because of this similarity, it can be quite easy to adapt your Facebook campaigns to work on news sites Because of the context and the user mindset though, some creative shifts will be necessary.

Creative Strategy

Both social ads and those on publisher sites try to resemble the content around them. The content around them in both cases is quite different.

On social media, images are more likely to be filtered, photoshopped or run through a design team, and therefore, ads on Facebook might look more beautiful. Ads on publisher sites, however, are often places in context with images from reporters, and might look more like what you’d consider ‘real life.’

Let’s dive into exactly what this means for headlines, images and videos.

Adjusting the Headline

Facebook ads have more text than those on news sites, and require marketers to consider many more variables—including primary text, a headline, a description, and a call to action button.

On most news sites, there’s one headline, and it’s important to make it headline count. Some allow for a bit more text, but short, sweet and snappy is what works for those consumers as it most resembles the publisher environment.


Credit: AdEspresso


These best practices will help you adjust your headlines quickly:

  • Focus on one headline. Any additional copy, like a product description or CTA should appear on your landing page post-click. When comparing the titles on Facebook and on news sitesTaboola, we’ll be comparing Facebook’s primary text and a Taboola title.
  • Provide information instead of a hard sell. If you’ve just consumed an article on a news site, you’re probably expecting to see other articles to read next. Because of this, sponsored content gets higher CTRs. It’s a less obvious form of advertising, and the titles are written in a more informational, less salesy way.
  • Be concise. While Facebook copy can be a few paragraphs long, titles on news sites should stay between 30 and 80 characters.
  • Test your headlines before you run them. includes a weekly analysis of all titles on our network (from billions of creatives) and surfaces keywords that attract more clicks. Our title analyzer is built on this data, and analyzes your specific title to predict your potential CTR.

Take Otty for example. This UK-based mattress company adapted their Facebook copy—over 80 characters long and packed with emojis—for successful results on publisher news sites.

Here’s a comparison:





Their optimizations eventually led to a 7.8x return on ad spend when it boiled down to mattress sales.


We mentioned this before—on Facebook, images are all about beauty. On news sites and other sites where content is frequently published, images that depict more relatable scenes and imagery fit the context better, and therefore perform better.

To quickly adapt your images, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Be authentic. We recommend using images that are as authentic as possible. If you have a choice of a gorgeous staged ad and a real consumer using your product, choose the real consumer.
  2. Limit the amount of text on your image. Facebook also recommends this, but it’s worth noting.
  3. Use people in your images. This is another recommendation in which Facebook agrees, but we know for sure that images of people using a product increase CTR.
  4. Keep it focused. Your image should have one focal point to let people know where they should be looking.
  5. Always know the trends. Similar to titles, has a weekly analysis of image characteristics that updates every week.
  6. Stick with the right specs. Your Facebook images should be 1,080 x 1,080px. Resize those images to 1000 x 600.

Take Babbel, for example, a globally popular language learning app. Their Facebook ad includes an image that’s quite zoomed-out, and also includes a text overlay to show the language the woman in the photo is learning.

They quickly adapted this image for news sites, with a more closely cropped image without any text overlay.


Check out Babbel’s strategy behind 100,000 new leads a month from news sites.

Videos for Performance Marketing

Video creatives grab attention no matter what the platform, and can support brand awareness goals in pretty much the same format across Facebook and news sites. If you’re looking for traffic or conversions, there are some differences.

  • Keep it short and flashy. If you want performance, you’ll need consumer’s attention. You’ll have a chance to tell your story post click, so keep it short,(up to 10 seconds), and clean of text and sound, and make it repeat, so it appears to loop naturally.
  • Don’t look like a banner. Banner ads are usually ignored. Stay away from illustrated videos and test creatives that move slowly to stand out.
  • Make a still image move. Create a gif or video where you zoom-in on the photo, or add an element that changes color or moves.
  • Trim long videos. Cut it so to focus on one specific scene. Again keep the video slow, remove any text, and it should appear to loop naturally.
  • Sometimes, you’ll have to adjust the video size. Although Facebook has both vertical and square videos, on Taboola, square or horizontal videos work best.
  • Stick with the right specs. While Facebook videos should be 600px and less than 4GB stick with a minimum resolution of 1024×576 less than 50MB for Taboola.

eSalon took a Facebook video advertisement and focused on the model’s moving hair for a more engaging advertisement on news sites.




Here’s how they found tens of thousands of new customers with the endless scale that websites outside of search and social provide.

Targeting Techniques

Because the mindset of consumers on both Facebook and news sites is a ‘discovery mindset,’ the targeting techniques are actually very similar.

Facebook recommends targeting an audience of at least 200,000 people, not excluding audiences and limiting the number of locations you target.

On news sites your strategy should be similar, with a few nuances:

  • Test one campaign with no audience parameters. If you’re new to advertising on news sites, you’ll be surprised by the audiences that interact with you. Open your campaign up to the entire network and see who you attract, then pivot your strategy.
  • Test one campaign using your social audience. This is true especially if you’re using the similar creatives.
  • Same advice, but by site. On Facebook, you target Facebook users. On Discovery platforms, you have the capability to choose the news sites on which your ad appears. When you’re just getting started, don’t be choosy based on your gut feeling about context.
  • A/B test one thing at a time. If you’re interested in narrowing down time of day, day of week, or time of year, test one at a time. Same goes for devices—if you want to run your campaign on multiple device types, run separate campaigns.
  • Adjust your creatives to your new audience. If your audience has grown, make sure to adjust your titles and images to attract the new audiences interacting with your ad.

Bid Like a Pro

A bid is what you’re willing to pay for your desired result, whether that’s a click, a lead or a sale. Facebook recommends comparing your expected cost with the amount of control you want, using automated bidding tools.

This is exactly what’s recommended for bidding on news sites. An automated bidding tool will get you the best bang for your buck, every time, automatically.

If you are adjusting your bids manually, here are some best practices to follow:

  • Pause creatives that aren’t converting. Give them 300-500 clicks, but after that, say goodbye.
  • Consider modifying bids on individual sites. If your CPA is too high, don’t leap to block publishers, first, try modifying the bid.
  • Lower your bids if you can. But only bid down after 300 clicks, if the CPA is three times higher than what you expected.
  • Block sites that don’t work. But only after 500 clicks, that never led to conversions.
  • Increase bids where it matters. Kick up bids 25-50% for top-performing sites to increase competitiveness.

On any platform, keeping costs down means consistent measurement and optimization.

Measure Right for Fast Success

A/B testing should be your holy grail, and to really make sure that your ads on news sites are working for you, you’ll need the right tools in place.


  • Use pixel tracking. If you’re not, you’re missing out on the ability to see valuable information about user behavior on your site.
  • When attributing success, consider the whole funnel. Consider the impact advertising on news sites makes on other platforms when looking at your whole funnel.

A/B Testing

  • A/B test often. To combat creative fatigue, test multiple creatives. We recommend nine, which you can easily achieved with three images and the headlines to mix and match
  • Don’t be afraid to test. Although on Facebook, advertisers will be penalized if they test too many ads that are rejected, on Taboola, you will not be penalized, so feel free to test as much as you’d like without being fearful.

Re-allocating ad spend to new platforms can seem like a big undertaking, but in reality, a few shifts in your strategy can set you off and running on a new platform in a short period of time.

As you look to diversify your media mix, consider advertising on news sites to bring in new audiences, impact your entire funnel, and to start seeing success as quickly as possible.

These insights were brought to you by Taboola’s Creative Shop, an in-house creative agency made up of strategists, data experts, copywriters, designers, video editors, translators and engagement managers who specialize in helping strategic clients reach and exceed their campaign goals.

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