In June, we’ve seen a consistent upward trend in advertiser spending, in all categories. We’re also seeing record numbers of sites joining the AdThrive community, and this powerful growth benefits all AdThrive publishers, as our collective size draws in big advertisers. It’s an ongoing cycle that benefits everyone involved!
While we usually see a dip in spending at the beginning of Q3, we have been hard at work setting up direct deals for early July that will help to offset this seasonal trend. We’ll also share a few tips for maximizing your revenue right now!
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Q2 is wrapping up strong for AdThrive publishers
When we started the second quarter (April–June), it was at a moment of deep uncertainty for the US and the world at large. Advertiser spending had been trending down for weeks as the economy felt the impact of COVID-19.
We knew Q2 ad spending would be off to a rocky start. April confirmed our expectations, although some publishers saw traffic surges to counterbalance RPM declines. May brought some slight signs of positive momentum, particularly in the second half of the month.
We switched to cautious optimism in anticipation of June, but we weren’t quite ready for the month’s evolution. June started off strong and has exceeded expectations with nearly every passing day. Advertisers are feeling more confident, and that’s good for publishers. Compared to May, we’ve seen strong advertiser spend increases in nearly all major categories in June.
A number of categories that were hit particularly hard in the midst of the pandemic are seeing strong growth now:
- Automotive advertising is up significantly.
- Travel spending is up as well, although the types of Travel advertisers are changing, with more focus on local/regional travel than international destinations.
- Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), which includes home care products like paper towels and cleaning supplies, and personal care products like deodorant and shampoo, is seeing very strong growth also. Since CPG brands are among the largest advertisers of all, growth in this category is particularly important.
- While Entertainment as a category is still somewhat struggling, there are significant launches happening from different brands, like HBO Max, driving revenue across AdThrive sites.
Our community’s growth means good things for advertiser spending on AdThrive sites
With May numbers finalized, AdThrive publishers hit a new record in Comscore, now occupying the #11 spot!
This time last year (May 2019), our community occupied the #19 spot. Now, we’re almost in the top 10 list, where you’ll find industry giants like Apple, Hearst, CBS, and Comcast.
Advertisers rely on Comscore to make informed spending decisions, and the AdThrive community’s rapid growth solidifies our publishers’ place in recovering advertiser budgets. Our sales team can point to the #11 spot and say “Check out our entire network with some of the best content on the internet — we can help you reach this massive and high-quality audience!”
More than twice as many sites as usual are joining AdThrive lately, and we’re excited to see that number grow, expanding the opportunities for everyone in our network. Do you know someone who would be a great fit for our community? We’d love to talk to them!
Q3 starting next week: here’s what to expect + some tips for maximizing revenue
While the beginning of the year is the lowest point in advertiser spending, the beginning of the third quarter is a close second. Many large companies run their financial year from July 1 to June 30, so for those companies, July effectively begins a new year — their 2021 fiscal year.
When advertisers start a new fiscal year, they reset all budgets, restart all campaigns, and change many of their strategies. That means that the first few weeks of July always have significantly diminished spending compared to the last few weeks of June.
The first few days of July are usually higher-than-normal. Advertisers with a big Fourth of July focus spend a lot on the holiday, offsetting the overall decline in ad spending from those resetting their budgets. After Fourth of July spending fades, prepare for a soft few weeks.
Good news: we’ve grown our sales team significantly in the last year. They’ve been able to line up a lot more direct-to-advertiser deals for AdThrive publishers that start at the beginning of Q3. These deals will boost RPMs at the beginning of Q3 and provide strong support as we see all advertisers come back into the market.
July and August will see increased spending from back-to-school oriented advertisers, which may look different this year depending on how school and college openings go, and as the kind of supplies needed may change.
And we unfortunately must keep in mind the pandemic. Just like the beginning of Q2, Q3 is beginning with more large outbreaks of COVID-19. While advertisers have a much better understanding now of how to respond, no one likes uncertainty. If we see continued significant growth in cases and fear of a “second wave”, that could put a damper on advertiser spending and cause them to pull back and wait.
Overall, we’re cautiously optimistic for Q3, but we’re also prepared if advertiser spending trends back downwards again, following economic and pandemic movement.
1. Protect your ad revenue: remember to check comments on your site when it comes to brand safety
These days, brands are even more cognizant of the context surrounding their ads. They’re concerned about potential consumer reaction if their brand is paired with sensitive or controversial topics — or even worse, offensive content. Advertisers rely on keyword blocklists to identify content that could reflect poorly on their brand.
Unfortunately, keywords don’t tell you much about context. The word “coronavirus” could appear in a news story with the headline “Coronavirus deaths surge” or in a heartwarming story about “my long-distance wedding during the coronavirus pandemic.” The word “killer” might be used in a news story about a murder or in a post about the best brownie recipe the world has ever seen.
Automated scanning tools aren’t sophisticated enough to tell the difference. Often, brands decide to skip out on some great content to avoid a risky pairing.
These automated tools don’t only scan your post headlines or the content on your site — keywords in your comment section can also cause brand safety flags. It’s critical to have a good comment filter that catches the worst offenders, but sometimes even an innocent comment can include a keyword that isn’t brand safe.
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether a comment adds value to your post, but keeping your comment section squeaky clean will set each post up for maximum revenue!
2. Jump into AdThrive Summer Camp for weekly revenue-boosting assignments
AdThrive Summer Camp 2020 is in full swing (and garnering rave reviews). This year’s five-week summer camp features eco-friendly, editable PDF workbooks you can complete digitally!
So far, we’ve dug into Google Analytics to understand how readers reach your site, investigated factors that play into page-level RPM, and strategized ways to deliver even more engaging content to your readers.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll focus on improving user experience and maximizing income with video content.
There’s still time to join in the fun alongside your fellow AdThrive campers, dive into exclusive tips and resources for optimizing your site, and grab that end-of-camp prize. Sign up here!