We took one year of data across our portfolio of publishers with European traffic and we share our findings with you today. For clarity, we looked at all countries from the European Union plus the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Norway, from April 1, 2021, to March 21, 2022. Let’s see what the data tells us about CPMs, how various SSPs perform, and what ad formats drive the most value.
If you’ve been running a website for a few years, you are probably already familiar with the seasonality trends in ad monetization. There are no surprises in the graph below which illustrates how CPMs in Europe vary throughout the year. As expected, the highest rates are around Black Friday and the holiday season, taking a big dip at the beginning of the year. You can see good rates at the end of Q2 when advertisers try to spend up their budgets as the timing coincides with the end of the fiscal year for most ad agencies. September and October are also typically strong with Back-to-School campaigns and getting ready for Black Friday.
Ad formats Performance
If you are wondering which ad formats you should choose for your site, here is a little inspiration. Although performance largely depends on your website’s specifics and audience habits, there are also factors such as demand and advertiser preference that should factor in. In the graph below you can see the top 10 ad formats as per their CPM level (calculated for the European market).
The next graph shows the viewability levels of each of those formats, which is another important metric, depending on your monetization strategy.
What about demand?
We first looked at what demand channels are used to monetize European traffic and how much each of them contributes to publisher revenues. It should come as no surprise that nearly half of the money comes through Google’s Ad Exchange. With the widespread adoption of header bidding, Prebid is taking another big chunk of the pie, followed by Open Bidding (Google’s version of header bidding where you can invite third parties to participate in the bidding process).
How about what SSPs perform best in Europe? When you look at the average CPMs that we see from each demand partner, values range between $0.72 and $1.04 for the top 9 revenue contributors, with Amazon as the CPM frontrunner. If we look at a larger number of SSPs, their average CPM numbers look quite different, with numbers reaching as high as $2.76, however, these can be considered outliers as they don’t contribute as much to the total revenue. Interestingly, the per-device type CPM numbers in Europe are pretty close for the average desktop and mobile CPMs, respectively $0.77 and $0.71. That’s why it’s important to understand each publisher’s specifics and what would best fit their audience in order to optimize results.
Per Country Performance
While we won’t go into detail for each country in Europe, let’s see where we observed the highest average CPMs.
As expected, the countries from Northern Europe, the UK, and the Nordics, have the highest rates.
Whether or not you reach similar CPMs for these geos depends largely on your audience specifics, their behavior and how much time they spend on your website. It is also relative to the ad formats you implement and how your setup is being optimized. However, we believe these are a good benchmark for an initial analysis of your performance. A/B testing and continuous optimizations are always part of the game in an ever-changing environment as ad tech.
In the next graph, you can also see how average CPMs varied throughout the year. Most values move very similarly month to month and you can notice the seasonality trends as well.
The European market is pretty diverse and depending on your audience you can see a range of rates and performance metrics. It is important to understand your audience, their habits, preferences, and how they can be positioned in front of advertisers. The vertical you operate in is another important factor in what performance you can see. Even more so with the cookiepocalypse approaching.