It’s the week before peak RPMs — high advertiser spending and high traffic combine over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But did you know that different verticals tend to see their highest RPMs on different days?
In today’s post we’re talking ad and traffic trends for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond. We’re also covering two great tools you can use to grow ad earnings and traffic: AdThrive’s award-winning RPM by Page dashboard report, and our 2020 Holiday Insights Study.
Q4 ad spending and beyond
American Thanksgiving is next week and we expect most publishers to see their highest single RPM day for this year on one of three days:
- Thanksgiving (November 26)
- Black Friday (November 27)
- Cyber Monday (November 30)
We dug into our data from 2019 across all verticals and found some interesting patterns. While trends may differ a little bit from site to site, these three days typically see spikes in these verticals:
- Food sites tend to see their highest RPM on Thanksgiving itself
- Most other verticals see the highest RPMs on Black Friday
- Finance, Technology, News, and Sports sites tend to see their highest RPMs on Cyber Monday
According to the AdThrive 2020 Holiday Insights Study, 85% of your readers are more likely to shop online this year than in stores. This means Black Friday will see increased online shopping this year and that Cyber Monday is also poised for massive participation from both brands and consumers.
Traffic spikes the day before Thanksgiving — make sure you’re ready
Looking at every moment from 2019, AdThrive sites see the highest collective traffic on the day before Thanksgiving.
In fact, our data team was able to trace this to the specific hour, minute, and even second where more people are spending time on AdThrive sites than any other part of the year: 27 seconds after 6:15 pm EST on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Make sure you’re primed to take advantage of any traffic surges! Our ad performance experts have been reaching out to all AdThrive publishers with customized suggestions for ad types, ad layouts, and site tweaks to maximize your ad revenue this holiday season.
What happens next?
While we do believe the rest of this year will be strong, there is more and more uncertainty in the world. 2020 has been a roller-coaster year, with big highs and lows.
Because of rising COVID infection rates, concerns for spikes in infections due to the Thanksgiving holiday, continued issues around the US election, and other challenges, we’re concerned that advertisers may reduce spending again.
This likely won’t happen until early next year, but we’re keeping a close eye on things. If some of this uncertainty is removed (e.g., if infection rates start falling), that would provide a positive sign to advertisers, but if uncertainty continues, it could impact their spending plans for 2021.
No matter what, we’re actively out there telling the story of the AdThrive publisher and why our community is the best place for advertisers to spend their money.
AdThrive RPM by Page wins the GCPP Innovation Award and helps you grow your ad revenue
Our RPM by Page dashboard feature took home the Innovation Award at Google’s annual GCPP (Google Certified Publishing Partner) Summit this week!
The Innovation award recognizes the launch of an innovative new product or service offering this year that publishers found very impactful to their business. As our most-requested feature ever, we knew RPM by Page had a lot of potential when we launched in January 2020.
Since then, we’ve heard story after story from our publishers underscoring its value! With RPM by Page’s detailed and historically-accurate page-level reporting, you can understand the main pieces that drive your site’s overall RPM, and see how your readers’ behavior and value to advertisers influence ad performance.
You can prioritize content to promote, find patterns for high and low earning posts with areas to imitate or improve, and identify one-off issues (for example, old sponsored posts where you can turn ads back on).
How much does approaching ad earnings on a page-by-page basis actually move the needle?
Our data team comes through with the numbers…
Regularly leveraging RPM by Page can improve your RPMs by 10%
We found that sites that use RPM by Page regularly (4+ times per month) see their RPM improve 10% more year-over-year than sites who don’t regularly use this dashboard feature.
So how can you successfully use RPM by Page to improve your ad earnings?
We’ve got you covered with a list of great RPM by Page resources:
1. Got 20 minutes to learn how to grow your RPMs by 10%? Walk through every aspect of RPM by Page, the underlying metrics, and how to interpret the report in this video:
2. If you prefer a written guide, check out the detailed RPM by Page overview in the AdThrive Help Center.
3. And if a hands-on interactive workbook is more your cup of tea, we’ve got you covered there as well with our 2020 AdThrive Summer Camp resources available to AdThrive publishers.
4. Looking for more RPM by Page tips and use cases? The AdThrive Community Facebook group is a great way to trade insights with fellow professional publishers. Do a quick search for RPM by Page in the group to uncover some threads full of gems!
How to use the AdThrive 2020 Holiday Insights Study to connect with your readers
Now is the time to pump out that holiday content and help your readers prepare for their end-of-year festivities. We’ve given you a great jumpstart with our AdThrive 2020 Holiday Insights Study series!
We looked at big picture consumer takeaways and learned that many people are looking to the holidays as a way to escape the stress of a difficult year. They are balancing opposing mindsets — getting nostalgic about traditions but also wanting to try new ways of celebrating, and needing to save money this holiday season while also wanting to splurge on themselves and their loved ones.
With our top holiday trend highlights, you can narrow down to a specific category that applies to your site and your readers. Find insights on how people are celebrating, what types of gifts they are interested in, what they are cooking, how they are decorating, and their travel plans.
Based on these insights, here are some thought starters for helpful content:
- Highlight how your recipes, decorations, gifts, etc., can be adapted for last-minute changes in plans
- Share ideas for ways to connect virtually, or in small groups
- Center gift guides around budget gifts, splurge gifts, or offer suggestions for both
- Check out our data on readers’ gift wish lists and focus your affiliate marketing on the most popular categories
- Spruce up your holiday party posts and consider publishing a guide that links to all of your best recipes, plans, or tips
- Suggest how to decorate on a budget or offer plans for someone who wants to go all out — maybe even share ideas on how the neighborhood can band together for a festive street
- Offer your best tips for safe holiday travel or suggestions for connecting with loved ones from afar
We also distilled this year’s various moods and behaviors into five holiday personas — which one are you, and which do you think represents most of your readers? Use the profile of that persona to direct your content, or get more mileage out of one piece of content by promoting it five different ways to reach these unique audiences!