Outbrain cuts 4% of global workforce but APAC offices still hiring

Content discovery platform, Outbrain, has laid off 4% of its workforce of its global workforce.

In a statement to Marketing, Outbrain's spokesperson said the changes are primarily in the US and will not impact Asia Pacific. "The business is growing so this move was not about cutting cost, but it was really just to shift focus and resources to programmatic advertising," the spokesperson said. She declined to comment further on which editorial tools will be withdrawn.

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, Outbrain intends to withdraw some of its editorial tools offered to editors to run their home pages and shift its focus on programmatic advertising. This will allow marketers to purchase Outbrain ads via automated systems and its data products.

Outbrain's spokesperson added that the Asia Pacific region is hiring in an attempt to concentrate more on programmatic advertising. "Some of the key areas that Outbrain is focusing on are programmatic, personalisation and video," its spokesperson said.

This has proven to be true as just a year ago, Outbrain Asia Pacific appointed Sigrid Kirk to a new role as vice president of Outbrain’s Engage product across Asia Pacific. Kirk (pictured) was hired to grow the business relationships across all Outbrain touch points across the region. She is tasked to help publishers drive deeper audience engagement, deliver great user experience and better monetize their digital assets using Outbrain’s platform.

Meanwhile, Outbrain also appointed Fionn Hyndman as commercial director, APAC and Daniel Kundeus as head of strategic brand partnerships, APAC. The positions are newly created with an APAC focused remit. Sandeep Balani was also appointed to a new role as head of India. Prior to taking this new position, Balani was Outbrain’s director of business development for Engage in India and focused on securing and strengthening relationships with the region’s publishers.

Locally, Outbrain launched its certification programme called Outbrain Academy in Southeast Asia, following its May 2016 debut in Australia. The new certification programme is designed to provide digital professionals with advanced skills and the best-practice methodologies required to turn brand stories into targeted digital consumer journeys and measurable brand results via the Outbrain platform.

“Our goal is to provide professional training and recognition to individuals who have the skillsets required to deliver concrete outcomes and positive ROI for their brands. These industry trailblazers have moved beyond ‘traffic’ as the singular success metric for video and content,” Ayal Steiner, managing director of Outbrain in Asia Pacific, had said during the launch.

Earlier this year, the company unveiled Automatic Yield, a patent-pending technology that allows publishers to track the revenue value of content in real-time. Singapore Press Holdings was the first partner to trial this technology in the region.

Founded in 2006, Outbrain is headquartered in New York with a presence in Singapore, Australia, Japan, the US and Israel. Some of its clients include ESPN, CNN, Fox News and The Guardian.