The fourth quarter of the year is critical for the publishers of ad-supported websites. With advertisers willing to spend more in Q4 to reach their audience in the build up to the holiday season, the last three months of the year account for a disproportionately high share of the revenue opportunity for most publishers. Get it right and you can start the following year on a high, but failing to capitalise on it can put a serious dent in your annual revenue.
Even at the start of Q4, it is not too late to make the most of the “golden quarter”. We’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts on how to get your online publishing business poised for Q4 success.
Update your top performing content
The start of Q4 is a great time to update your key content. As well as updating dates and ensuring general topicality and accuracy, this refresh is a chance to compare your key content with competitors to ensure that yours really delivers.
As well as the content itself, check over how well each piece is monetized. Are you using the best formats for that piece? Are the placements viewable? Are there any additional opportunities?
Consider seasonal content
Just as you review your regular high-performing content, you should do the same for any seasonal content. Check analytics for what performed in Q4 last year and do the same sort of content review.
Also consider new seasonal content opportunities. What will your audience be spending money on this holiday season?
Consider video and rich media
Q4 is a great time to utilise new formats. B2C brand spend peaks in Q4 and much of that concentrates around higher impact formats. If you have seasonal content, this is the perfect opportunity to add some video, allowing you to capitalise on those high CPMs without having to produce content across a range of articles.
If you can’t produce your own video content then consider 360 video units where pre-made video content, player and video monetization come as a single package (OKO publishers can discuss this opportunity with their account managers).
Check your content on the devices your audience uses
A lot can change in a year. Be sure to check your key templates on the devices that your customers are using now. You want to ensure that your site not only delivers a great user experience on those devices, but your revenue generating placements are going to be in view.
Update price priorities
Check the pricing of any line items that you have trafficked as price priority. Fill and CPMs both change through the year and you want to ensure that pricing is accurate going into Q4. Set prices too low and those lines won’t meet their impression potential. Too high and you’ll be giving impressions to your price priority lines when other lines could have paid more (for more information on setting CPM rates, please click here).
Consider who performs well in Q4
SSPs and networks can perform differently during Q4 than they do for the other 9 months of the year. Amazon demand is a good example, but demand partners with demand for B2C retargeting also do well. Be sure you are assessing opportunities based on seasonal performance not just their year round averages.
Don’t undersell your inventory
Rates increase in Q4, so don’t lock yourself into deals based on Q1-3 performance. Ensuring that Open Auction can compete against any direct deals you strike is one way to do this, but it can be harder to avoid if you offer up preferred deals or programmatic guaranteed at the wrong price.
Many publishers are tempted to put off any change until things quieten down in Q1, but this risks missing out on the biggest annual opportunity. Changes that have the potential to generate more revenue for Q4 should be pushed to the front of the queue in order to generate immediate return.
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