Header Bidding CPM – Across the Verticals

Any publisher who put ads on its website – will always have two questions. The first one is, what is the best technique for me to monetize? And, the second one is, how to deliver a better user experience while running enough ads? After all, you don’t want to run ads and then find out it’s driving your users away. 

At first, the questions may seem trivial. But are they? We’ll publish two studies to answer both questions. In this piece, we’ll try to get an answer to the first question – What’s the best technique to monetize your website?

Shall we begin?

The best technique to Monetize Your Site

Let’s consider the first question – what’s the best technique to monetize your site? If you’re a mid-sized or a premium publisher, you’re probably searching for a programmatic monetization partner. We know AdSense isn’t enough and fill rate still struggles to stay above 80 percent consistently. 

According to the AdZerk report, close to 80 percent of the top 1000 Alexa publishers run header bidding. Though that itself is enough, we’ll show you real data from real publishers who have implemented header bidding and seen an increase. Note that the data is from the publishers we work with. 

Header Bidding eCPM Report

Everyone in the industry knows that header bidding can increase eCPM and publishers’ revenues. But there’s no study to know how the header bidding eCPM varies from one niche to another. Using the sample data of more than a billion ad impressions originated from hundreds of web properties, we tried to answer the question.

While header bidding introduces multiple demand partners to bid for the ad impressions in near-simultaneous auctions, publishers still have to deal with latency, setup, and other supply chain issues.

The uplift in eCPM and revenue is what convinces most, if not all, to implement header bidding on their websites. However, publishers with limited knowledge on header bidding expect to see an estimated eCPM value before the implementation.

Though the adoption of header bidding is increasing every year, the industry doesn’t have any report on the eCPM. Automatad’s wrapper is being used by hundreds of independent publishers and media groups. We were able to segment publishers based on the vertical and capture the average eCPM as well.

With this study, we are providing the industry’s first report on header bidding eCPM and its variation across the niches and geographies. Any publisher can refer the data to get an estimated eCPM value before implementation. We’ll talk about more on methodology and limitations below.

Methodology:

We analyzed more than a billion ad impressions (1.015 billion, to be exact) from our network — over a period of three months (from Sep 2019 to Nov 2019) to see the eCPM range ($) of various niches. We have categorized the publishers into niches based on the context of the site. For example, if a site mostly covers ‘entertainment and movies’, we would put it under the ‘entertainment and movies’ category. We have aggregated the data and performed basic noise reduction to make the eCPMs more accurate. 

Geographies can significantly impact both the eCPM and revenue. So, we have further segmented the data based on the countries to help you derive an estimate. For instance, if you run a business site with the majority of traffic from the U.S, you should see the U.S. eCPM range of the business niche.

Top Verticals:

Business, Technology, Law, and Lifestyle.

Header Bidding eCPM Across the Verticals

Limitations

  • eCPM data is entirely based on the sample of 1 billion+ ad impressions we analyzed. We found average eCPM of each and every sites over the three months and grouped them based on the vertical to find the eCPM range.
  • Number of ad impressions in a niche varies from one another. For instance, News sites will have more ad impressions than the ‘Law’ sites. But we ensured we aren’t including niches/geographies with insufficient sample data.  
  • While we can find the exact average eCPM of a niche, we decided to put it in a range as it will be better for publishers to compare it with their eCPMs. In other words, we provided a eCPM range to serve our use case here.
  • We only considered the sites with at least more than a million unique page views to perform the analysis (mostly mid-sized publishers). So, long-tail publishers may see a different header bidding eCPM value.
  • Certain categories should’ve attracted higher bids than they do typically because of the holiday season. But we haven’t considered December data to ensure the eCPM range is unaffected.

Inferences

From the study, you can derive a couple of interesting inferences including:

  • The average eCPM range of a particular niche. You can use it as a benchmark.
  • The niches that typically earn well via header bidding and compare it with other niches.
  • Difference in the eCPM value for the U.S. and India geographies and where it extends and where it contracts. For example, the eCPM gap in the Business niche is greater than that of Education.
  • How the header bidding eCPM varies from one niche to another.

So, what do you think? Are you earning up to your potential or is there any room for improvement? Let us know in the comments.

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