CPM, fill rate and revenue drop at start of month

We’re often asked by Publishers, typically around the 5th, 6th or 7th day of the month (or start of the quarter) why they have seen a slight drop in CPM, Fill Rate or overall Revenue. This doesn’t always happen month to month, but it’s more profound at the beginning of the quarter, namely the first weeks of January, April, July and October. January usually sees drop off because holiday and Christmas budgets have expired; and October marks the end of summer advertising and back-to-school campaigns.

This happens because most advertisers run monthly or quarterly budgets, which run for an entire month or an entire quarter. Rarely do advertisers run on annual plans, instead they usually plan and buy short flight dates. Depending on the advertiser and their brands they usually stop advertising for a few days to determine which Publishers worked and which ones Publishers didn’t. They will change creative, sometimes change the targeting and can even change the overall brand advertising to achieve desired results.

Having multiple agencies and entities involved causes campaigns to start late each month.

There are a number of parties involved in getting an advertising campaign live for a single advertiser. Most advertisers they have a branding agency, creative agency, media planning agency, and their own ad server, as well as their own internal marketing or communications departments. Having all these players involved in activating a campaign can cause the campaign to launch after the first of the month, most times around the 5th, 6th or 7th of the month.

Let’s consider a campaign which is supposed to go live on the first of the month (and be evenly spaced over a 30 day period). The ad launches a week late so the ad server will overcompensate towards the end of the month in order to deliver the campaign in full. Now, multiply this by hundreds of campaigns running in our network and you’ll see why CPM, fill rate or overall revenue is higher at the end of the month or quarter compared to the beginning of the month or quarter.