Recently, we performed an extensive data analysis on over 400 publishers who’ve joined AdThrive since the beginning of 2020, looking at their RPM before AdThrive, their RPM after we installed AdThrive ads, and the RPM changes of their peers (similar sites) in the rest of our community of publishers.

Our analysis takes into account seasonality trends across similar publishers, to ensure that each publisher truly earned more, in addition to any expected seasonal lift.

The results confirmed that the sites that joined AdThrive saw RPM increases ON TOP of the typical trends the rest of our community experienced. 

And it didn’t matter which ad management firm they had worked with previously — they earned more money (in most cases a lot more!) with AdThrive.

Background methodology

We’ve developed a rigorous approach to make the process smooth and easy and make sure publishers make more money running a similar amount of (and in many cases, fewer) ads. 

We work to understand a publisher’s recent ad performance with their ad network before AdThrive so we can compare it to the ad performance after we install AdThrive ads, carefully tracking these data points. We also measure and track the “lift” we deliver — how much revenue as measured by pageview RPM increases by running AdThrive ads.

In every case, publishers make significantly more money running AdThrive ads.

AdThrive ads are an “on-ramp” to higher earnings

One way to picture this is as a highway on-ramp.

You’re driving on the service road that runs parallel to a high-speed highway. Perhaps it also has a pretty good speed limit, and you’re already traveling at a fairly good speed.

But the highway has a higher speed limit and you see cars zipping past, so you take the on-ramp and accelerate rapidly to catch up to the traveling speed of the cars around you. 

Once you’ve fully merged onto the highway, you can now continue on at that faster pace. 

Some cars are going faster or slower, but every driver that takes the on-ramp onto the highway is now able to go much faster than they were going before. That’s what happens to publishers who join AdThrive.

Line graph of two lines in parallel and then one line jumping up and then running parallel again

But what about “seasonality”?

If you’ve been running ads on your site for a little while, you’ve likely experienced a lot of fluctuation — you know that at certain times of the year, RPMs go up, and at certain times they go down. RPMs in the final week of a month will typically be higher than at the beginning of the month because advertiser spending rises and falls seasonally

This makes it tough to compare apples to apples because there are times of the year where of course RPMs will rise over the course of several weeks. Just like there are times where RPMs will naturally fall.

We wanted to make sure publishers can have complete confidence that RPM increases are MORE than seasonal variations — they’re truly due to the advantages you get at AdThrive!

So we dove deep into data analysis.

Methodology

We looked at 566 publishers who joined AdThrive from other ad companies from December 2019 through February 2021. 

These publishers represent a wide variety of monthly pageviews, verticals and niches, ad layout preferences, RPMs before AdThrive, and revenue share (the percentage of net revenue paid to the publisher).

Not only did we compare the publisher’s RPM before AdThrive and after AdThrive to ensure that it grew, but we also compared it to seasonality trends across similar publishers.

Here’s how our analysis works:

  • For each publisher, we identified a group of similar publishers — based on pageviews, vertical, etc. to establish a “similar publisher cohort”
  • For each publisher, we consulted the RPM data each publisher provided when joining AdThrive — the “publisher pre-period RPM”
  • For the similar publisher cohort, we identified the average RPM of those sites from the same dates as the publisher pre-period — the “benchmark pre-period RPM”
  • Then, we tracked each new publisher’s weekly RPM for the first several months working with AdThrive, compared to their pre-period RPM
  • We also tracked the RPM group in the similar publisher cohort for the same time periods.

This true apples-to-apples comparison lets us see how much of a lift publishers see when they join AdThrive just by running AdThrive ads, as opposed to seasonal trends or the optimizations all AdThrive publishers see throughout the year. 

Here’s an example:

Chart comparing anonymous publisher joining AdThrive compared to similar publisher cohort

Before joining AdThrive, Publisher A was earning a $17.26 RPM (Row 1) with their ad management company. 

When they were accepted to join AdThrive, we identified a similar group of publishers within the AdThrive community to serve as the site’s Similar Publisher Cohort. In this example, that group happened to have an average RPM of $20 (Row 2).

The first week that Publisher A started with AdThrive, their RPM growth closely matched their Similar Publisher Cohort’s RPM growth. This makes sense — it takes a little bit of time for advertisers to start fully participating on a new site and our team spends the first few weeks dialing-in the custom approach that works best for each site. 

But by the second through fourth weeks, Publisher A’s RPM jumped dramatically compared to their Similar Publisher Cohort. This time period is where we really see RPMs grow rapidly, compared to the seasonal trend. Weeks two through four are the golden weeks where a publisher sees significant growth compared to what they would have seen with their previous ad manager. 

By week five, we see the publisher’s lift start to stabilize — they’ve caught up to the great performance the rest of AdThrive publishers are seeing — and more normal seasonal trends start taking over. 

Row 7 shows the truly incremental RPM that the publisher is seeing from joining AdThrive.

In conclusion

Every publisher is different and will experience a unique “on-ramp” for their ad earnings. But every publisher who joins AdThrive truly takes home more money:

  • without adding more ads than they were running before
  • accounting for typical seasonal RPM growth
  • by the second week of running AdThrive ads

Truthfully, we did this analysis for our own knowledge as much as for yours — it’s critical to operate on data-driven decisions and we want to ensure we are always doing the best thing to serve publishers!