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The Ups & Downs of Online Advertising

The Ups & Downs of Online Advertising

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In one way or another, I’ve been involved in the online advertising industry for the last 15 years.  I’ve been an advertiser spending 7 figures a year, a publisher earning 7 figures a year and, as the founder of Cubics (the first Facebook Advertising Network), I even was the ad network.

At Ezoic we partner with many different ad networks and exchanges, but our only interest is in providing the best results for our publishing partners.  At certain times of the year we inevitably get questions about short term changes in advertising revenue on each site.  Often these fluctuations are the result of the natural “cycles” of online advertising — one of which we are going through right now (beginning of April).  Here are the most commons ones to watch for:

#1. Brand Budget Cycle

Normally brand advertisers and advertising agencies will allocate their advertising budgets quarter-by-quarter or even month-by-month.  Agencies, in particular, are slow to allocate budgets and distribute new advertising materials to their partners at the start of each quarter.  The result is that you will almost always see a 3 – 6 day decrease at the start of each quarter (January, April, July, October) and often at the beginning of each month, particularly if it falls on a weekend.  Similarly, since brand advertisers allocate a certain “spend” each quarter and ad networks will frequently “blast” a campaign in the last few days of a quarter so you’ll often see a temporary increase the last week of each quarter (March, June, September)

#2. Advertising Season Changes

The primary “seasons” for online advertising are:

Holiday: Early November – Monday before Christmas.  (major increases in advertising rates)  Advertisers are looking to drive holiday sales and increased competition drives up prices for publishers.

Post-Holiday: Monday before Christmas – February. (decrease in advertising rates except for fitness and health vertical) The bulk of retail sales during this time period are driven by returns of items purchased during the holiday season so advertisers aren’t spending much.  The exception is the health and fitness vertical which advertises heavily as consumers are often spending in this area in an attempt to fulfill all those New Years resolutions.

Summer: June 1 – Late August. (lowest advertising rates of the year).  The summer months represent the slowest time of the year for online advertising.  Traffic decreases as consumers tend to spend more time outdoors and with their families than online.  It’s time to take some time off, releax and wait for back-to-school…

Back-To-School:  Late August – Mid September (high advertising rates for certain audiences). In North America in particular, the back-to-school season is a major advertising event as households with children purchase school supplies, clothes, laptops, etc for the new year.

That covers the major seasons that you should keep an eye out for.  Hope you enjoyed it!

John is the Chief Customer Officer of Ezoic. John was a founding Director of Media Run Group – which founded several online businesses in the mid 2000s (Media Run Search, Media Run Ad Network, and Blowfish Digital Ad Agency). Following the acquisition of Media Run Ad Network by Adknowledge Inc in Oct 2007, John managed the Adknowledge Social Games division in Europe prior to becoming a Director of Ezoic.

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