It’s your biweekly update on the latest across the ad and publishing industries! We’re exploring what early June may mean for summer ad spending trends, looking at what Memorial Day traffic foreshadows for upcoming holidays, and sharing three important things you can add to your calendar this month.
AdThrive COVID-19 coverage
Click here to browse all of our posts about the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the digital media industry.
Summer advertiser spending
Many advertisers set monthly budgets, which means a few things:
- The beginning of the month is generally light as advertisers launch new budgets. Some start spending immediately but others can take a few days as they iron out the details.
- Leading up to the last few days of a month tend to be the highest spending points in a month since advertisers have had the entire month to optimize their strategies so they can spend most effectively.
- At the very end of a month, some budgets run out, so the last day or two tend to have lower advertiser spending.
That first point is what we’re most interested in today, as we’re rounding out the beginning of June. June started like a normal month — a little lighter than peak spending at the end of May. The slowness continued a little longer than usual this June because some advertisers participated in #BlackoutTuesday on June 2 and didn’t start new budgets until after that.
While this meant that the beginning of June was low for longer than usual, it’s having a positive impact now. Advertisers’ budgets for a month are set in advance, so if they start spending late, they still spend the same amount of money, just faster. The slow start has led to a huge bump in spending over the last few days.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, but so far the ad recovery is moving along well, with significant RPM gains for many AdThrive publishers, including some numbers reaching pre-COVID levels.
We continue to see spikes in spend from advertisers who work directly with us (rather than through open market programmatic buying). This means the AdThrive community is seeing ad spending that’s better than industry averages lately! Our sales team has been on a roll, with a number of new advertisers starting these first two weeks of June and another batch slated to go live next week.
We’re still paying very close attention to advertiser needs though, as any spike in coronavirus cases or other major global/national trends may put a damper on their spending patterns again.
Looking forward, the start of July is usually the second-weakest time of year (next to January) when it comes to advertiser spending. Many large advertisers have fiscal years that run from July to June, so July is effectively their January.
Annual advertiser spending trends are similar to monthly spending trends, but on a larger scale. So for these big advertisers who are resetting their budgets for a new year at the beginning of July, it usually takes a few weeks for them to get things set up efficiently and to start spending.
The good news is that we have a number of major advertisers lined up for annual deals in their 2021 fiscal year (July 2020–June 2021). Once these advertisers have their budgets finalized, we expect more positive growth in late July and early August.
Celebratory content trends
We’re continuing to see readers leaning into celebrations with more passion than ever, so our insights team dove into Memorial Day data to share some trends to help you craft holiday content for the next few months.
1. Readers are more excited than ever about reasons to celebrate
Comparing 2019 Memorial Day-themed traffic to this year illuminates just how much more of a focus there is on holidays right now.
Not only was overall traffic much higher, the “holiday bump” was that much more pronounced this year.
2. It’s not that readers are doing things differently, they’re just doing them with more intensity
We were interested in finding out how much COVID-19 changed what holiday content people were most interested in — and surprisingly, it didn’t change too much.
Comparing the most popular Memorial Day content overall this year versus last year reveals that readers are still looking to celebrate in their traditional ways: cookoffs, lots of macaroni salad, and fun activities for the kids.
What does this mean for Father’s Day and Independence Day?
We’re expecting the celebrations to continue — and reader interest to be higher than normal.
Make sure your most popular holiday content is ready to go, as readers will be tapping into your guidance. People are looking for an escape, and there’s no better way than an excuse to celebrate!
Three important dates to add to your calendar:
Now–July 7: Join us for AdThrive Summer Camp
AdThrive Summer Camp kicked off this week, so join us as we spend the next five weeks sharing site optimization tips for RPM-boosting improvements!
We started off with a foundational workbook on Google Analytics and how you can use this data to understand how traffic ties to RPM.
Join the discussion and get caught up on the week one project here in the AdThrive Community Facebook group!
June 17: Tune in to our Summer Content Trends webinar
Summer 2020 is sure to look different from summers past. In our newest content trends webinar, we’re unpacking the current mindset and online behavior of your readers and discussing how to craft your content to meet their needs right now.
Join us on Wednesday, June 17, as we chat about how to help readers “escape and elevate” this summer.
AdThrive Content Trends: A Summer of Escape
Wednesday, June 17
3:00 pm EDT
Watch the replay here
Now–June 30: Use your platform to raise money for racial justice
AdThrive publishers, you have been doing incredible things lately! Your influence is powerful and you’ve used it to address systemic racism in so many different ways over the last few weeks.
When we introduced the AdThrive Community Matching Fund last week, several publishers immediately asked if they could involve their readers in this effort. We absolutely love that!
Together, AdThrive publishers, publishers’ communities of readers, and AdThrive team members have submitted over $34,000 for matching in the first week! With the AdThrive Community Matching Fund, that’s now $68,000 to support organizations fighting for racial justice — and we’re excited to see this continue to grow.
Our matching program runs through June 30, and we’ve updated the donation form to include the option for publishers to aggregate their readers’ donations for us to match. Here’s how:
- You collect receipts from your readers and verify the donation is to a 501(c)(3) organization
- You submit them to us in aggregate, through this form
- We’ll match up to $10,000 from any publisher, including readers’ pooled contributions, up to the $100,000 fund total!