Guidelines and Limitations
Integrating with the SDK
Requesting Recommendations
Handling and Displaying Recommendations
Outbrain Widget Labeling
Handling Clicks on Recommendations
Ad Choices Compliance
Using Chrome Custom Tabs
Widget Viewability
Using the Sample Applications


Please Note

Following the developer guide instructions is mandatory to ensure app compliance.

Please make sure to follow the entire guide before submitting your app to Outbrain QA.

Please pay special attention to the following steps:

Handling Clicks on Recommendations
Navigation to Paid Recommendations
Widget Viewability

This page will explain the necessary steps an app developer will have to implement in order to display Outbrain recommendations via a “regular widget” (non-Smartfeed) in their app.

Before reading this guide, please make sure to follow the required Integrating with the SDK and Initializing the SDK from Android SDK – Developer Guide

Guidelines and Limitations

The recommendations that Outbrain provides are time-sensitive. Recommendations are intended for specific users at specific times, and any caching or delay in their presentation will have a negative impact on their performance (and the user experience).
The following limitations and guidelines must be applied to the Outbrain recommendations’ display:

  • Storing/caching recommendations with the intent of delaying their presentation on the page is prohibited.
  • Co-mingling of Outbrain recommendations with other content links within the same container is prohibited, unless mutually agreed upon between the client and Outbrain.
  • Altering or replacing an Outbrain recommendation’s text or image is prohibited.
  • All paid recommendations must be uniquely labeled in a manner that can be reasonably associated with the relevant content, as mutually agreed upon between the client and Outbrain.


The Outbrain Recommendation User Experience

While a user is viewing a page on your mobile app, you can display content recommendations that may be interesting to him or her. You can recommend both related content within your own app, and 3rd-party content recommendations. You can choose how and when to display the recommendations, whether as a footer, in-feed or other format.

The image below illustrates how a user might view Outbrain recommendations:

Outbrain Recommendations

The Outbrain Workflow

The Outbrain workflow consists of the following main actions:

  • Request content recommendations related to a specific article or app location.
  • Receive a list of recommendations and display them.
  • When a user clicks on a recommendation, navigate to the recommendation.
  • Important: The Outbrain SDK provides the developer an interface for fetching and receiving recommendations in the form of OBRecommendationResponse which encapsulates the json response from the server. Please note that developers should be responsible for implementing the actual UI of the recommendations in their app. Developers are more than welcome to use Outbrain UI examples which can be found in our sample app Journal.

Working with Recommendation Widgets

A widget is a UI component, implemented within the app. When you design your app, you decide which widgets will display Outbrain recommendations and respond to clicks on them.

For each widget displaying Outbrain recommendations, you must consult with your Outbrain account manager and decide on a suitable configuration. The configuration refers to settings such as:

  • The number of recommendations to be displayed in the widget.
  • Whether thumbnail images should be displayed for each recommendation.
  • Whether to recommend articles or videos.

Once these settings are determined, your account manager assigns a unique ID for each different widget configuration. This is the value you pass in the widgetId parameter when calling fetchRecommendations.

For example, the Outbrain Journal sample app uses 4 widgets, each with a unique widget ID:

  • In-stream – the widget appears within homepage or section front content titles.
  • Drawer – a dynamic widget that appears at the bottom of the display when the user scrolls up, which can be expanded to show additional recommendations.
  • Footer – a widget that’s displayed constantly at the bottom of the page.
  • Interstitial – a widget that appears in between article pages.

These widget types are illustrated in the following images:

Footer Widget
In-Stream Widget
Minimized Drawer Widget
Extended Drawer Widget
Interstitial Widget

Integrating with the Outbrain SDK

Please refer to Android SDK Integration section on our SDK Documentation & Download Links page.

Initializing the Outbrain SDK

The Outbrain Class

The Outbrain class defines a singleton object that is your main interface with the Outbrain SDK. Your app calls its public static methods in order to interact with the Outbrain server. The Outbrain singleton instance is created automatically; you do not need to create it.

Registering Your App’s Configuration

You will need to register your app’s Outbrain configuration once during the initialization of your app, before calling any other Outbrain method. The register function takes two parameters:
* appContext – your ApplicationContext object.
* appKey – a string that contains the application key you’ve received from your Outbrain account manager.

Here is an example of how to call Outbrain.register:

try {
    Outbrain.register(appContext, appKey);
catch (OutbrainException ex)
    // handle exception

Working in Test Mode

While you are developing your app and debugging the integration with Outbrain, you must configure the SDK to work in test mode. This prevents Outbrain from performing operational actions such as reporting and billing, for clicks that were not made by your app’s users.

Here is an example:

Outbrain.setTestMode(true); // enable test mode when debugging

During the development and testing phase, call setTestMode during your app’s initialization, but remember to remove this call before submitting your app to the app store.

Note: Please use test mode only during development and testing phases. Default value is “false”. You can also use Outbrain.setTestMode(BuildConfig.DEBUG) for your convenience

Simulate Location (Geo)

When in testMode it’s also possible to simulate location in order for Outbrain servers to return recs according to set location. An example use-case for this would be app developers in India trying to simulate recs for UK audience.

Here is an example for setting US location


Requesting Recommendations

Calling fetchRecommendations

When you want to request content recommendations, call Outbrain.fetchRecommendations. Outbrain will send a response containing a list of recommendations, based on the request parameters and the Outbrain configuration.

fetchRecommendations takes two parameters:
* request – an instance of OBRequest, containing the request details (see OBRequest Properties).
* listener – an instance of RecommendationsListener, which is a response listener that you must implement to handle the request’s success or failure ((See Handling and Displaying Recommendations).

Here is an example of how to call Outbrain.fetchRecommendations:

OBRequest request = new OBRequest(currentUrl, widgetId);

Outbrain.fetchRecommendations(request, new RecommendationsListener() {
    public void onOutbrainRecommendationsSuccess(OBRecommendationsResponse recommendations) {
        //Do something with the recommendations (i.e populate UI components)

    public void onOutbrainRecommendationsFailure(Exception ex) {
        //Handle failure (write to log, hide the UI component, etc...)

Note: Although the fetchRecommendations requests are asynchronous, they are all stored in the same queue, so they are handled in the order in which they were called.

Creating a Recommendation Request

Setting OBRequest Properties

When creating an OBRequest object to provide to fetchRecommendations, set the following properties:

  1. url (mandatory) – the URL of the page for which you’re requesting recommendations. (See Request URL for more details.)
  2. widgetId (mandatory) – the widget ID (see Request Widget ID for more details).
  3. widgetIndex (optional) – the widget index, required if there is more than one widget on the same app page (see Request Widget Index for more details).

Request URL

There are two types of URLs for which you can request recommendations:

  • An article or video page
  • A home page or section front

In the case of a home page or section front, please consult with your Outbrain account manager about how to construct the URL.

Note: Each page’s URL must be unique to the page and consistent (i.e. the same URL must be sent every time recommendations are requested for the same page.)

Request Widget ID

There may be one or more locations in your app where you want to display content recommendations. In addition, you may need to display recommendations in several different widgets on the same page.

Widget IDs are pre-assigned by your account manager, after you define your display requirements for the specific widget. The widget ID maps to settings related to the widget’s display, the number of recommendations returned, etc.

Note: Before using the Outbrain SDK, make sure you have widget IDs assigned to all the widgets in which you’ll need to display recommendations.

For example, the Journal sample app uses 4 different widget IDs:

  • ID “SDK_1” for the in-stream homepage widget.
  • ID “SDK_2” for the interstitial widget.
  • IDs “SDK_3” and “SDK_4” for footer and drawer widgets on article pages.

// create request with mandatory parameters : URL and WidgetID
OBRequest request = new OBRequest();

Request “Widget Index”

The widget index is a numeric, zero-based value assigned sequentially to all widgets on the same page. If you plan to use (or already using) more than one widget on a single page on your Mobile app – you’ll have to implement the fetching of the recommendations in a specific order according to the guidelines below:

As a side note, it’s important to note that on Mobile apps there is no “real page”, so the meaning of a “page” in this context is a “screen” or a “page” in which 2 widgets or more are shown to the user.

For example, if you have 3 widgets on a page, you’ll assign the indexes 0, 1 and 2 to these widgets. The widget index is used to differentiate between widgets on the same page, so as not to duplicate recommendations sent to different widgets. Widgets on the same page may be of different types (e.g. footer and drawer), or may be multiple instances of the same type (e.g. multiple in-feed), that should display different recommendations.

External Id param

It’s possible to add “external id” param to OBRequest which will be processed on Outbrain backend and displayed in the dashboard.

OBRequest request = new OBRequest(post.url, "SDK_1");

Handling and Displaying Recommendations

Handling the OBRecommendationsResponse

After your app calls fetchRecommendations, Outbrain calls your recommendations listener’s onOutbrainRecommendationsSuccess method, while providing an OBRecommendationsResponse object. Using this object, you can iterate over the list of recommendations and display them in your app.

Here is an example of an onOutbrainRecommendationsSuccess implementation:

public void onOutbrainRecommendationsSuccess(
                          final OBRecommendationsResponse recResponse)
        int numRecs = recResponse.getAll().size();

        for (int i = 0; i < numRecs; i++)
            OBRecommendation rec = recResponse.get(int index);
            // displaying the recommendation


Displaying a Recommendation

Each OBRecommendation object contained within the OBRecommendationsResponse has the following properties:

  • content - the recommendation's title.
  • thumbnail – a thumbnail image (OBThumbnail object) related to the recommendation. This property is optional, and is included only if the widget is configured to display images.
  • sourceName – the name of the recommendation's source (publisher). For paid recommendations this is the site name, and for organic recommendations this is the section name.
  • isPaid – indicates whether this a paid or organic recommendation.
  • isVideo – indicates whether the recommendation points to an article containing a video clip.

// Example: displaying a specific recommendation
// getting the recommendation
OBRecommendation rec = recResponse.get(index);
// getting the title
String title = rec.getContent();
// .... populate the relevant UI component with the title

// getting the source
String source = rec.getSourceName();
// .... populate the relevant UI component with the source

// getting image URL
if (rec.getThumbnail() != null) {
   String imageURL = rec.getThumbnail().getUrl();
   // .... populate the relevant UI component with the image

// handling paid VS organic recommendation
if (rec.isPaid()) {
   //....Show disclaimer, add paid icon, etc…
// handling video VS article
if (rec.isVideo()) {
   //Add video icon on recommendation

Recommendation Display Component

Recommendation Display Components

Displaying Thumbnail Images

The thumbnail image is defined by the OBThumbnail object returned within OBRecommendation. It contains the following properties:

  • width – the image width in pixels
  • height – the image height in pixels
  • url – a URL pointing to the image file. Use the URL to render the thumbnail image (see examples in the Outbrain sample apps).

The image width and height values are those agreed upon and determined by the widget ID.

Audience Campaign

Each OBRecommendation object has the following getter:

  • getAudienceCampaignsLabel – the audience campaigns label. Could be null if not audience campaigns

Ad Choices Compliance

Note: Starting from SDK 2.5.0 Outbrain serves recommendations from demand partners that requires Ad Choices icon. as part of the recommendation creative, in order to maximize revenues for the publisher. In order to support the new demand - paid recommendations must be compliant with Ad Choices T&C.

In order to be compliant with Ad Choices T&C - Outbrain SDK will do most of the work for you. All you need to is make sure that for each ImageView which displays a paid recommendation image you will do the following steps:

Step 1 - Edit The XML Layout Of The Recommendation ImageView

In the layout XML file - you should encapsulate each ImageView which displays a paid recommendation, within a FrameLayout. The FrameLayout should also contain another ImageView for the "Ad Choices" icon.

See example xml below:




Important: Ad Choices (disclosure) ImageView should have width and height of at least 25dp each.

Step 2 - Displaying RTB Recommendation With Ad Choices (Disclosure) Icon

In code, at the same method where you will normally set the "image url" (rec.getThumbnail()) on the recommendation ImageView - you should also check if the recommendation is of type RTB and if so, set the Ad Choices icon url.

Following the XML example above, see the example code below:
ImageView disclosureImageView = view.findViewById(;
final OBRecommendation rec = getItem(position);
if (rec.isPaid() && rec.shouldDisplayDisclosureIcon()) {
    // Set the RTB disclosure icon image            

Step 3 - Handle Ad Choices (Disclosure) Icon Click

Please note, you should set an OnClickListener on the Ad Choices ImageView. In case of a click on the Ad Choices icon - you should open the url in an external browser (Chrome or Custom Tabs)..

Let's expand the example above with the example code below:
ImageView disclosureImageView = view.findViewById(;
final OBRecommendation rec = getItem(position);
if (rec.isPaid() && rec.shouldDisplayDisclosureIcon()) {
    // Set the RTB disclosure icon image            
    disclosureImageView.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
       public void onClick(View v) {
           CatalogUtils.openURLInBrowser(rec.getDisclosure().getClickUrl(), ctx);

Note: Make sure that disclosureImageView visibility is set to GONE for non-RTB recommendations. See example below:
ImageView disclosureImageView = view.findViewById(;
final OBRecommendation rec = getItem(position);

if (rec.isPaid() && rec.shouldDisplayDisclosureIcon()) {
    // Set the RTB disclosure icon image and click handler
    disclosureImageView.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
        public void onClick(View v) {
            CatalogUtils.openURLInBrowser(rec.getDisclosure().getClickUrl(), ctx);
else {

Step 4 - Simulate RTB Recommendations And Verify Your Implementation

In order to make sure you've implemented steps 1-3 correctly, run the SDK with:


This will promise you will receive RTB recommendations in the response for fetchRecommendations(). Please verify that you see the "ad choices" icon and that a click on the icon is opening in external browser as expected.

Outbrain Widget Labeling

Any widget displaying Outbrain recommendations must be labeled with a header that is mutually agreed upon between the client and Outbrain. The "Outbrain widget labeling" should also be clickable - a click should open a URL generated by the SDK which is needed for GDPR and Ad Choices compliance.

To Comply With Outbrain Labeling Guidelines:

1) Add the widget title text agreed upon with Outbrain (e.g. “Recommended to you”).

Note: For Viewability you'll be using OBTextView for displaying the widget title. Read more about this in widget viewability.

2) Choose one of the Outbrain logo images from the Outbrain-Resources folder.

3) Important: Implement Click Handler

When the user clicks on the Outbrain labeling, you should open a URL generated by the SDK in the following way:

String url = Outbrain.getOutbrainAboutURL(ctx);
openURLInBrowser(url, ctx);

See Recommendation Display Guidelines and Limitations for additional instructions about how to display Outbrain recommendations.

Handling Clicks on Recommendations

Note: Method getUrl() should be called only after the "click" event. Calling getUrl() method before the click will cause the SDK to report a false "click" event on the recommendation.

1) When a user clicks on a recommendation, you must call getUrl() first:

// rec is an OBRecommendation object returned in OBRecommendationsResponse
String url = Outbrain.getUrl(recommendation);

Note: For paid recommendations, the returned URL is in re-direct format. For organic recommendations the returned URL is in the standard (original) format. Developers should open the url "as is", i.e. without any manipulation such as escaping or decoding.

Navigating to the Recommendation

Note: The best way to understand the new logic is by looking at our Journal Sample App, specifically look at file - you will find a good example for the implementation in method:

public void onRecommendationClick(OBRecommendation recommendation)

When a user clicks on a recommendation, navigate to it as follows:

1) Check if it's a paid rec by calling recommendation.isPaid()

For example:

if (recommendation.isPaid()) {
} else {
    // organic

2) Get the URL of the recommendation by:

// rec is an OBRecommendation object returned in OBRecommendationsResponse
String url = Outbrain.getUrl(recommendation);

Note: For paid recommendations, the returned URL is in re-direct format. For organic recommendations the returned URL is in the standard (original) format. Developers should open the url "as is", i.e. without any manipulation such as escaping or decoding.

3) Navigate to the Recommendation

Navigate to Organic Recommendations

Navigate to the organic content using your app’s standard navigation mechanism. You can find an example in the Journal sample app.

Navigate to Paid Recommendations

You should use Custom Tabs or the external Chrome browser to open all paid recommendations.

Using Chrome Custom Tabs

Please follow Android guide for using Chrome Custom Tabs: CustomTabs

For a quick solution you can refer Custom Tabs official Github Repository and just copy the Classes in "shared" directory to your project.

From using custom tabs:

"shared/: Shared code between the Application and demos modules. Feel free to re-use the classes within this directory, which are only provided as a convenience. In particular,CustomTabsHelper can be re-used. This code is not required to use Custom Tabs."

Please Note In using custom tabs Google recommends using warm up to make pages load faster in custom tabs (by pre-loading the page in the background). Unfortunately for Outbrain "paid links" this optimization will result in "fake" click reports on our servers. That's because the paid link is a re-direct link which reports to Outbrain when the user actually opens the recommendation.

Configuring Look & Feel for Custom Tabs

The UI Customizations are done by using the CustomTabsIntent and the CustomTabsIntent.Builder classes. See examples and read more at the official Chrome Custom Tabs developer's page.

Widget Viewability


The latest feature of Outbrain Widget Viewability measurement allows Outbrain to optimize the recommendations served for the application audience, hence support a better user experience and app performance.

Widget Viewability measures if the app user has seen the widget on the device screen.

Note: The best way to understand how to implement Viewability is by looking at our Journal Sample App, specifically look at file - you will find a good example for the implementation in method:


Widget Viewability for Android SDK

Widget Viewability is implemented via OBTextView, which is a child of the native base Class TextView with the addition of reporting Viewability stats to Outbrain back-end.

Android OBTextView

Note: You can either use OBTextView directly or inherit from it for additional customization.

We ask our developers to use OBTextView for the text in the Header of the Outbrain widget. See example below:

Important Concept - registerOBTextView() method

The most important step in the Widget Viewability implementation (after the view creation of course) is to register the OBTextView with the corresponding widgetID and URL of the page.

public static void registerOBTextView(OBTextView obTextView, OBRequest obRequest)

1) Simple Case: You should call registerOBTextView() only once, right after the creation of the view, with the corresponding OBRequest for the widget.

2) Complex Case: For re-usable views (ViewPager, RecycleView, etc, etc), you have to make sure that every time the re-usable view is updated with new content (i.e. new url) you should call registerOBTextView() method with the new url and the corresponding OBRequest.

For Example: A News app which shows articles in a ViewPager and an Outbrain widget is shown at the footer of each article page.

Users can swipe left\right between articles while the app is re-using of the article pages, when the user swipes 5 times to the right, only the content of the page is changing according to the current index in the Pageview, but the views are re-used.

In this case, the developer is responsible to call registerOBTextView whenever a new URL is loaded to the page.

Please Note in case you have more than 1 Outbrain Widget on the same screen, you’ll have to make sure to register each OBTextView with the corresponding OBRequest used to fetch its recommendations (different between widgets).

How to Integrate Widget Viewability Feature?

There are 2 ways to create and use OBTextView (like any other native View on iOS):

  • Via XML Layout File
  • Via Code

XML Layout File

1) Open the layout XML file which contains the Outbrain Widget.

2) Find on the ViewGroup where the Outbrain Widget (including the Header) is implemented.

3) Find the TextView which contains the text in the Header, usually the text is something like “Recommended to You”.

4) Replace the Class of the element from TextView to OBTextView

5) See example:

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 2.09.05 PM

Important: In code, register the OBTextView instance and its corresponding OBRequest by calling:

Outbrain.registerOBTextView(obTextView, obRequest);

Implementation via Code

1) Create a new instance of OBTextView by calling:

OBTextView obTextView = new OBTextView(getContext());;

2) Important: call Register() with the OBTextView instance and its corresponding OBRequest by calling:

Outbrain.registerOBTextView(obTextView, obRequest);

3) That’s it, from here you’re good to go.

Using the Sample Applications

The Outbrain SDK includes the Journal sample app which demonstrate how to use the SDK.

The Journal Sample Application

The Journal sample application shows a screen with a list of articles, with Outbrain recommendations interspersed in between the original articles. The user can swipe the recommendations to the left or right, to see additional recommendations.

Journal app tour:
  • Main page, includes in-stream slider recs.
  • Article page, includes footer and drawer.
  • Interstitial page, includes recommendations.

Journal Application