What’s the Impact of COVID-19 on eCPM?

Impact of COVID on eCPM

Every publisher in the market is trying to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on its ad revenue. As a publisher-focused company, we are running several optimization strategies to see how we can retain the revenue — rather than letting it decline in the coming months. 

That being said, no one can deny that the eCPM across the geographies has decreased in Q1 and some publishers are hit harder than the others. Even with the increasing volume of impressions and influx of new users, revenues aren’t improving as expected. Why?


The increase in traffic doesn’t mean the demand will also increase. Well, in the usual times, it might happen, but not now or anytime soon. So, we wanted to see how the eCPMs are getting impacted across the major geographies  — U.S, U.K, India, Germany, and UAE. We believe it will help you compare and prepare yourself. Because some are showing signs of improvement. 

But we’ll start with the methodology. 


We analyzed over 2 billion ad impressions in the last three and half months to understand how the eCPM is varying from one month to another. 

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 eCPM value. 

All the sites have header bidding partners competing with Google Ad Exchange. 

The number of ad impressions (analyzed) in geographies varies from one another. For instance, the U.S geo will have more ad impressions than Germany (because of our clientbase). But we ensured we aren’t including geographies with insufficient sample data (minimum ad impression count is 50 million per month except for April).  

Impact of COVID-19 on eCPM

eCPM – U.S

We all know that the U.S., the largest advertising market in the world, has reported more COVID-19 cases than the others. Apparently, advertisers are pulling the plug on the campaigns and publishers have been experiencing the drop for a while now. 

But here is what’s interesting. eCPM slightly increased in February and then it declined for the next two months. 

eCPM 2020 - U.SOverall, eCPM for the U.S audience is down by 6.31% as of April 17th. We expect eCPM to decline further in the coming weeks. 

MontheCPM Change
Jan to Feb9.70%
Feb to Mar-5.71%
Mar to Apr-10.30%
Total Drop (Jan to Apr 17)-6.31%

eCPM – U.K 

While we can’t guarantee, eCPM drop across the U.K seems to be slowing down. As you can see, last month, U.K publishers in our network saw a ~8% decrease in eCPM.

eCPM 2020 - U.K But overall, eCPM dropped by ~24%. 

MontheCPM Change
Jan to Feb-9.52%
Feb to Mar-6.98%
Mar to Apr-7.40%
Total Drop (Jan to Apr 17)-23.72%

eCPM – India

With the entire country in lockdown, it’s not surprising to see the drop in the eCPM.  

eCPM 2020 - IndiaBut what’s interesting is, eCPM value didn’t change (at all) during the last two months. Overall, eCPM dropped by 11.76% due the substantial decline in February.

MontheCPM Change
Jan to Feb-11.76%
Feb to Mar0%
Mar to Apr0.00%
Total Drop (Jan to Apr 17)-11.76%

eCPM – Germany

Here’s one of the outliers we’ve seen — Germany. eCPM for the impressions have started to get back on track. In fact, last month we saw a 14% increase in the eCPMs.

eCPM 2020 - GermanyDoes this mean Germany is ahead? Comparatively, yes. But we don’t know whether the spike is temporary or permanent. We still have to wait for the next month to confirm that Germany is out of the slope. 

Overall, eCPM value is up by 3.38% from the start of 2020. 

MontheCPM Change
Jan to Feb-7.14%
Feb to Mar-3.77%
Mar to Apr14.28%
Total Drop (Jan to Apr 17)3.38%


Similar to Germany, UAE publishers are seeing an increase in eCPM in recent weeks. Specifically, our publishers saw a ~9% increase in eCPM. 

eCPM 2020 - UAEBut due to the worst Q1, overall, eCPM dropped by 40%. The highest drop of all the geographies. 

MontheCPM Change
Jan to Feb-25.00%
Feb to Mar-24.00%
Mar to Apr8.69%
Total Drop (Jan to Apr 17)-40.00%

What’s Next?

Without saying, eCPM for the first quarter of this year have dropped considerably from that of last year. 

But we didn’t compare Q1 2020 eCPM with Q1 2019 eCPM. Because it only depicts the impact and you’ll find no inferences or whatsoever out of the analysis. That’s why we saw how the eCPM value is varying from the Jan till the last week. 

You know how the advertisers are looking at the value of the impressions from different geographies and see if you can alter your pricing rules accordingly. Is Q1 2020 worse than last year? Of course, it is. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and wait for the crisis to pass. 1% improvement over a period of time can add up to a better result. 

Need any help with the setup and optimization? We’re just a click away.

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