Revenue Optimization
Author: Setupad Team 5 minute read
#Cpm #Monetization Metrics #Seasonal Optimization
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What Publishers Need To Know About eCPM Drop Each January?

After the most successful season for publishers has ended, there comes the Q1 of 2021.  We greet this quarter with a little bit of disappointment and changes in our reports.

Seasonality plays a significant role in publishers’ ad revenues throughout the year, so it is no surprise that it is partly responsible for the sudden January drop in eCPMs.

What does Seasonality Mean for Publishers?

According to Google: “Seasonality is any predictable fluctuation or pattern that occurs during the same weeks each year.” It includes three seasonality events:

  • Cultural like Easter and Christmas
  • Commercial, for example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • Ad hoc, for example, elections or sport tournaments

Additionally to predictable seasonal activities in 2020, we were hit by an unexpected pandemic, known as COVID-19. Global pandemic affected internet user trends and changed advertiser activities that impacted publishers’ ad revenue. 

However, according to the data, we still saw advertisers spending their ad budgets in November and December, but they became quieter at the beginning of the year.

Moreover, as January returns, so do the regular working days. Due to this, your website’s traffic might increase as people get back to their daily routines. But since the advertiser activities in January decrease, it leads to a significant eCPM drop.

eCPM Drop Each January 

We looked at all of the clients’ reports to check how significant the January eCPM drop has been in 2021.

According to the graph below, we can see that all Setupad publishers experienced a drop in eCPM by the end of December 2020 and a continuous decline in January 2021.

If we compare the average eCPM price from the last 12 days in 2020 to the first 12 days of January 2021, the average eCPM price has decreased by 28%. 

eCPM Drop in 2019/2020 vs 2020/2021

We also compared three websites from our network to see how significant the January eCPM drop was in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.

According to the graphs below, we can see that in 2021 and 2020, all three websites experienced a drop in eCPMs in January. And as January went on, the eCPMs slowly started to recover.

If we compare the eCPM prices on these three websites on average from the last 12 days in 2020 and the first 12 days of January 2021, the average eCPM price has decreased by 31%. By comparing the same period in 2019/2020, the decrease was 36%.

What Publishers Should Do?

Although the eCPM statistics might not exactly put a smile on your face, as we understood from the data, the drop in January occurs every year, so you don’t need to worry about it that much. Hopefully, the thought that everyone is experiencing the drop in January might somehow fade the anxiety away when looking at the reports. 

On the bright side, the slow start of the year makes it a perfect time for you as a publisher to make changes to your website and find ways to earn more.

5 Suggestions from Setupad Experts:

1. Give programmatic a higher priority

As direct campaigns have decreased in January, our top suggestion would be to provide more ad inventory for programmatic sales. More inventory, even with lower CPMs, will show ad revenue increase.

2. Add more demand partners

If you currently use Google as your only partner, we would suggest adding more SSPs. Each demand source has unique buyers that will make bigger competition for your inventory and increase the average eCPM price. As this is a time-consuming process, for immediate results, we suggest partnering up with a monetization platform like Setupad.

Related article: Google AdSense or Monetization Platform | How To Choose?

3. Optimize website’s performance 

We recommend monitoring viewability rates and changing the ad placement positions to increase them. As viewability increases, so will ad revenue. 

4. Improve your user experience 

In May 2021, Google will roll out Core Web Vitals, which may affect your rankings if, for example, you display ads with no dimension. So check out how well your website performs in terms of the website’s loading speed, stability, and interactiveness/ responsiveness. 

Related article: Core Web Vitals | Important Metrics for Publishers.

5. Implement new ad formats

Try implementing new ad formats like interstitial and sticky on your website. These digital ad formats usually have higher CPM prices compared to standard ad formats, like display ads.

If you still have some questions, please email at [email protected] or leave a comment below.

About Setupad Team
Setupad Team are experts in programmatic advertising and header bidding.

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