Outbrain, a content delivery network that integrates with publisher websites to reroute readers through sponsored stories, is cutting 4% of its work in a refocus on automated media trading, rather than editorial tools, according to the Wall Street Journal.
As an isolated incident, a 4% drop in its 600 person workforce can be shrugged off, however contextualized within fluctuations in the wider adtech industry sector, there could be a wider problem with current models.
Earlier in the year, Adform shed 8% of its staff in January, following recent similar rounds of layoffs at AppNexus and Rubicon Project, at least hinting at some of the waves made in the tumultuous ad tech sector.
Outbrain's refocus on programmatic trading is timely, Publicis Groupe's Zenith predicts it will be the fastest growing means of buying media in 2017, set for a 31% swell.
Outbrain did not clarify what tools it was stepping back from., although earlier this year it made a big gamble on helping publishers launch chatbots to drive greater engagement among readers, so the company appears to be experimenting with new ways to drive traffic and revenue.
A spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal: “Our business is rapidly evolving in a dynamically changing industry. We are sharpening our focus and investing resources on key areas of the business that drive growth.”
The Israeli company was founded in 2006 and brands itself as a "content discovery platform". Last month it extended its programmatic offering to AppNexus Marketplace having previously operated in a closed marketplace.