H1 2023 Industry Report: Optimize for Future Uncertainty with Data Insights

Sovrn Advertising Team // August 1, 2023

The first half of 2023 brought a continuation of last year’s challenging conditions, with a few added twists like widespread budget cuts and record-setting layoffs in the publishing sector. These evolving macroeconomic trends had a profound impact on both advertising performance and affiliate earnings.

In our new H1 2023 Data Insights Report, we explore these trends in detail to understand how they influenced commerce and programmatic results. We also dig into advertising and commerce performance analytics for the period, gleaned from the Sovrn Data Collective, to help publishers prepare for an uncertain future. 

A few key takeaways:

  • Advertising: Programmatic rates continued to suffer in the first half of 2023, with top publishers reporting year-over-year ad revenue declines of up to 30%. That said, CPMs are trending upwards as the year goes on — especially in the US. For smart publishers, focusing on the right categories can help to generate reliable ad revenue. Our data shows that-top performing categories delivered 2 to 3x higher CPMs than mid-tier categories.
  • Commerce: Slower inflationary growth in the first half of 2023 led to a year-over-year increase in ecommerce sales. Our data shows relatively stable year-over-year trends in overall conversion rates and EPCs (earnings per click). However, these averages don’t tell the whole story. In an environment where consumers are still hungry for deals, some merchant categories delivered significantly higher EPCs, conversion rates, and revenue — while others fell flat. 

To succeed amid uncertainty, it’s important to optimize your strategy. That means keeping tabs on changing market conditions, making data-driven decisions, and being prepared to pivot at a moment’s notice. 

This report breaks down recent performance data and delivers expert insights to help you better prepare for the coming months.

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