10 drivers publishers should monitor to optimize their eCPMs

Written by Marta Pereira - Supply Account Manager
Created Sep 26, 2023 | 5 min read
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The eCPM (effective cost per mille or thousand) is one of the crucial metrics for publishers when it comes to measuring monetization. It is used to calculate ad revenues earned per one thousand ad impressions, with impressions being the number of times that an ad is displayed on the user’s screen.

The difference between eCPM and CPM is that using CPM to estimate revenue can be misleading for publishers. There are many exceptions that cause differences between the price set by the publisher on a thousand impressions and the actual revenue generated. For example, a large advertiser may have more impressions than they actually paid for. Other advertisers may have ended up paying more, as the number of impressions is rounded up to the next thousand. However, the eCPM metric resolves these issues by calculating the effective revenue for every thousand impressions.

Therefore, eCPM is used by publishers to calculate the revenue they obtain from selling their advertising spaces to demand partners that want to receive traffic. In fact, this metric is vital as it helps publishers to determine whether ads are effective. If one ad has a high eCPM, it means it is converting viewers.

In this article, we’re going to review 10 factors that help publishers increase their eCPMs. Keep reading!


How to effectively manage Publisher Accounts: Best practices

10 factors that help increase eCPMs

The most important factors that help publishers increase their eCPMs are:

  1. Quality traffic: Traffic is of a good quality when the publisher is providing the right content and experience to its users. Generally, traffic of a higher quality and where the target audience is precise leads to higher eCPMs. In this regard, a good tip for publishers to improve the quality of their traffic is to publish content that is relevant to their users, and make sure that the app or website is user-friendly and has a good UX. Optimizing the site for search engines and working on a winning ASO strategy for app stores is also crucial and, above all, don’t use spamming tactics like buying traffic or using fake or misleading ads to attract visitors. This traffic is definitely not what you are looking for.
  2. Viewability: Depending on where the ad is placed, the viewability will be different. Having a high viewability generally leads to higher eCPMs. For example, ads that appear higher up on a webpage, in above-the-fold content, are normally more viewable, so more impressions will be generated. You should keep this in mind to optimize your results as a publisher by prioritizing locations in the top half of the page.
  3. Ad formats: The CPM can vary according to the ad format that is used. For example, interstitial, video, and native ads usually have higher eCPMs. This is because these types of formats normally have higher viewability and higher CTR  than traditional display advertising like banners since they can be more engaging and attract more of the users’ attention. When a publisher chooses an ad format, the goal is to generate juicy payouts while having user-friendly and less intrusive advertising.
  4. User location: Based on the user’s GEO, the eCPM can also be higher or lower. For the record, eCPMs are usually higher in countries like the US or the UK where ads reach more people because the audience is native English speaking. It is also related to the population’s spending power.
  5. User engagement: A website with higher engagement rates will lead to more visitors and pageviews, thus contributing to higher eCPMs. If the engagement rates are high, visitors will see more content and the probability of seeing more ads and clicking on them will increase. In order to have a high engagement rate, your content should be unique and meaningful to your target audience. Having a good UX will also help with recirculation and engagement.
  6. User uniqueness: A user is considered unique when, within a short period of time, a request received comes from a single IP address and unique device ID. This is important because advertisers pay more for traffic where the requests are not multiplied and the users are unique. It is more valuable and qualified.
  7. Seasonality: eCPMs fluctuate as the seasons change. Peaks usually occur in the winter season when advertisers tend to spend more of their marketing budget on boosting revenues during Black Friday and Christmas. At these times, competition for advertising space tends to increase, leading to higher CPMs. Our advice here is to prepare special content for these special events and seasonality, seeking more engagement and value. Notice that weekends and the end or beginning of a quarter have an impact on eCPMs as well, so don’t overlook it. Seasonality is hard to control, but the best thing you can do is foresee these seasonality peaks and prepare your inventory spaces for them.
  8. Traffic identification: While anonymous traffic is traffic in which the user is not identified, non-anonymous traffic is traffic in which the user is identified. On iOS there is a code that identifies iOS users – IDFA (identifier for advertisers) and this is used by advertisers to extract information about users. For example, an advertiser can track when a phone user has clicked on its ad in the browser and then installed or interacted with ads in the app. However, when Apple launched the iOS 14 update in 2020, it made a change to IDFA to give users the option to block the IDFA identifier at the app level. As a result, apps must have user consent to track and share that user’s information. This was game-changing in the in-app industry, especially in terms of monetizing iOS traffic. Given that it is currently more difficult for buyers to have access to non-anonymous traffic, the traffic with IDFA becomes more valuable and is therefore better paid (has higher CPMs) than the non-IDFA traffic (anonymous traffic).
  9. Floor / Fill rate: The eCPM floor is the minimum CPM that a publisher allows before displaying an ad on its app or website. The eCPM floor depends on a variety of factors, such as the bidding system used and the number of bidding partners. However, when we want to adjust the minimum CPMs, one of the most important metrics we look at is the Fill Rate, since this metric reflects the rate of ad inventory filled with the actual ads. A higher fill rate means that more available ad spaces are being occupied with ads, so higher floors can be tested, leading to better monetization results. If we see that Fill Rates are too low, indicating that many ad spaces remain empty or unfilled, we need to adjust the floor price to allow more competition, with more demand partners bidding on the publisher inventory.
  10. Industry / App Category / Vertical: Finally, the tenth factor you should consider when increasing your eCPMs as a publisher is that certain verticals are better paid. In other words, they have higher CPMs than others. For example, technology and finance verticals tend to target a well-educated audience with higher purchasing power.  To take advantage of these circumstances, it is best to write tailored content based on the vertical, especially for verticals with higher eCPMs.

As we have seen, eCPMs are influenced by a variety of factors that you should take into consideration when you start monetizing your app or website. Many of these factors cannot be controlled 100%, but it is possible to optimize your inventory space and build strategies to obtain engaged users. This is particularly the case when you use an SSP with unique demand and flexible integration options like Tappx. We also provide you with an expert account manager dedicated to your results on a daily basis and help set different floor CPMs depending on GEO and formats, among other benefits. Just reach out to the team and explain your requirements. They will work on optimizing your monetization strategies and evaluating the above factors to maximize your performance.


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