by SEB JOSEPH for Digiday

Online ad revenue has shriveled up amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there are early signs of recovery.

Since the onset of the global pandemic, publishers have an abundance of supply with a clear spike in web traffic, up as high as 30%, according to the seven media execs interviewed for this article. The challenge for those publishers is that the content driving the uplift is on the coronavirus, which advertisers have chosen largely to avoid.

“Programmatic pricing is down an average of 10 to 20% globally, CPVs are declining week-over-week and performance campaigns are on the increase – today’s buyers are now more loyal to price than brand,” said Justin Taylor, md at ad tech vendor Teads U.K.

For one publisher, page views are up 25 to 30% and yet advertisers have pulled media dollars. With so much traffic to monetize, the exec is sending out an “extreme” amount of ad requests to ad tech vendors to sell their inventory. The problem, however, is those ad requests are going out to advertisers who can afford to be picky about what ads they buy because there’s so much available. And there’s only so low a publisher can go with their ad prices to kickstart demand. The exec wants to stick to a minimum price for those ads bought in real-time auctions but is finding it hard to enforce when their rivals are lowering their own floor prices to attract demand.

Even in markets where CPMs are tanking, there are still advertisers that are paying more for ads that are more likely to be seen.

According to ad tech vendor Browsi analysis of CPMs across three news and sports publishers between 10. Feb and 10. Mar, those impressions that had a viewability score of 70% ore more had CPMs of more than 30% than those impressions that had a viewability score below 70%. >> READ MORE

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