This week’s update dives into what we’re seeing across ad trends, how our sales team is still working hard to drive advertisers to spend on your sites, and how companies are trying to make sense of marketing during the pandemic. More info on our next webinar series below, too!
AdThrive COVID-19 coverage
Click here to browse all of our posts about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the digital media industry.
What we’re seeing with ad trends
We’re finally seeing some improvements in ad spending after a few flat weeks at the start of Q2. It’s still very early, but we’re seeing a measurable increase in average network-wide RPMs this week. Not every individual site is seeing RPM increases, but we’re optimistic that in the next few weeks we will see more growth, and we’re doing everything we can to help accelerate this on our end.
Some advertisers are coming back to market
Some of this growth can be attributed to advertisers coming back to the market. Many advertisers left the market in mid-March through the beginning of Q2, for many reasons, including:
- Some advertisers’ products and services weren’t being used anymore — for example, travel and live events
- Some advertisers’ products weren’t available — toilet paper, paper towels, and even some fresh foods were having difficulty getting to market
- Some advertisers already had plenty of people buying their products, for example, Netflix had a record quarter for new subscriber signups
- Some advertisers were concerned about being seen as taking advantage of the situation — they wanted to make sure their advertising was respectful of these complicated times that we’re living in
Group 1: Advertisers in this group aren’t coming back for a while, unfortunately. It’s anyone’s guess as to when the travel industry will rebound, although there’s one notable exception. Hilton’s Doubletree launched a big ad campaign around their release of their secret chocolate chip cookie recipe — almost doubling travel advertising spend across our network in the last week.
Smart advertisers know it’s critical to stay in touch with their consumers so when the market comes back, those consumers will flock back to their brand. We’re hopeful that more travel advertisers will try inventive campaigns like this to stay relevant.
Group 2: Advertisers in the second group are coming back to market as these issues get fixed. While toilet paper is still really hard to find in many parts of the US, other products are getting to market more easily, and therefore advertising is slowly coming back. There are future risks of other supply chain issues that could cause more bumps in the road though, so we’ll be keeping on top of those.
Group 3: Advertisers in this group are still dealing with unprecedented demand. Until they need to advertise to attract customers, they are unlikely to spend much on advertising — more on this later in the article.
Group 4: The fourth group is probably the largest of all. It’s the group that is unsure how to advertise correctly in this market.
A few weeks ago we mentioned Nike’s “Play Inside” campaign and others that are tailored to this time-and-place. More advertisers are launching campaigns like this, and others are becoming more comfortable with the idea that advertising can be okay and even a benefit in these times.
This is the group where we’re seeing the most growth and leads to some of our optimism.
Focusing on technical efficiency and incremental revenue
Our ad code engineering team has been hard at work with continued updates to our technical systems’ efficiency. In the last two weeks, we’ve made a number of changes to increase revenue across the network, and we have a large number of other changes coming over the next few weeks and months to keep driving incremental revenue for all of our publishers!
What’s our Ad Sales team up to right now?
As you probably know, our ad sales team is the largest and most capable of any ad management company. They’re a big part of why AdThrive sites see the highest RPM and ad earnings. Many sites see the most revenue from advertising that directly targets a specific user or a specific site — and more and more of that comes from our sales team cutting special deals exclusive for AdThrive publishers.
The ad industry relies heavily on events and in-person meetings. But how do you run a sales team when you can’t meet your clients? Since our company is largely based remotely, our sales team has been able to help clients make the transition.
First, we’ve been creating replacements for the meetings and events that our team would normally hold. Video conferencing has been an easy first step, but the team has also been setting up virtual book clubs, virtual lunch-and-learns, and other creative ways to meet with clients. These online meetings and discussions keep our publishers top-of-mind for advertisers so as they start committing to new deals, AdThrivers are at the top of the list.
Just like we’re creating deep insights for our publishers (see our recent Food and Travel webinars, with many other verticals queued up for the coming weeks), we’re creating insights for advertisers too — helping them understand how consumers’ online habits are changing, what products are hot, and where they should be investing their budgets. We have the only publisher/advertiser data insights team in the business, and that data is a huge part of the sales team’s success in getting you the best, exclusive deals.
The third area we’re focused on is optimization. If an advertiser is spending some money, but not as much as before, we’re digging into the underlying changes. Once we know if the cause is due to traffic changes, their budget, or other reasons, we can go back to the advertiser with information about how their spend changes are affecting the performance of their deals. This helps advertisers focus their budgets more on AdThrive sites as we can give them the information and intelligence they need to make smarter decisions.
Are the companies that are really benefiting right now spending more on ads?
We’ve been getting versions of this question a lot. There have been some surprise “big winners” in these strange times, as the unforeseen and sudden quarantine and stay home orders left many people scrambling to adapt to new lives at home 24/7.
They began stocking up on things like pantry goods, home exercise equipment, resources for home education and childcare, technology (from computer monitors to Zoom meeting software) needed to work remotely. And puzzles!
Some products saw huge drops in demand (people were no longer booking cruises, were spending less on fashion, car sales plummeted), making lower advertiser spending make sense. But the high demand for other products understandably has publishers wondering if those companies that are doing well right now are spending more on ads.
The answer to that question is: It’s mixed — some are and some aren’t.
In some cases, companies are doubling down on their success. Even though adapting to work from home has made many tech and telecom companies household names, they’re still spending on advertising. We’re seeing some of these types of brands spend anywhere from 66% to over 1000% more than a typical week in February.
Unfortunately, just because a company is doing well right now, this doesn’t mean they’re increasing their marketing budget. Whether because of more orders than they can keep up with or fill, or simply massive interest and word-of-mouth advertising, many of these companies that are doing well right now don’t want or need to spend money on digital advertising.
Join our vertical-specific webinar series for tips on the situation right now AND how to prep for the future
We’re rolling along with our deep dives into vertical-specific traffic trends and insights. So far, we’ve hosted our Food and Travel insights webinars, which replays are available in the AdThrive Community Facebook group.
Our Parenting and Education webinar is up next, covering all things related to parenting and teaching children, from pregnancy through the teenage years. The two topics are more intertwined than ever, so we highly recommend attending this webinar if you have any content around caring for, entertaining, educating, or raising children.
AdThrive Vertical Deep Dive: Family/Education + COVID-19
Wednesday, April 29
3:00 pm EDT
Sign up here
(open to current AdThrive publishers)