How to Increase Advertising CPM Rates in 2021

A year of quarantine has changed the way we shop, work, and, honestly, live. Everyone is looking at different ways to revive their business in this ‘new normal,’ and the publisher community is no exception. As ad spend was trimmed down for most of the year, revenues also took a hit despite CPM numbers staying high for some publishers.

Publishers now are looking at ways to rebuild their ad revenues to sustainable levels to keep running shop. In Q4, publishers are gearing up for the holidays, the busiest season of the year. Is this year’s holiday season going to be the same as years past? Not really. While ad budgets might have grown steadily compared to the first three quarters of 2020, consumer buying behavior has changed drastically. According to eMarketer, 71% of US adults plan to do more than half of their holiday shopping digitally this year, compared to 59% in 2019.

So what is it that publishers can do to rejuvenate their revenue numbers? Here are three techniques that can help you attract every last ad dollar, as well as future-proof your revenue streams.

1. Invest in the right verticals

The year 2020 has changed the game for the adtech industry as ad spends took a massive hit. But all is not lost. Verticals like retail and personal finance are on a positive trajectory, and so earnings in these verticals are making a recovery. Retail will account for almost 21.0% of total ad spends in the US this year. According to eMarketer, US retail digital ad spending will increase by 3.1% in 2020 to $28.23 billion. Right now is a good time for publishers in this vertical to monetize as much as they can via various ad formats across platforms. Finance is another vertical where ad spends are increasing. In the US, they are likely to increase by 9.7% this year to $19.62 billion. Content creators and publishers in the finance space must make the most of these ad budgets in the remainder of Q4.

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2. Tap into various demand sources

As the old saying goes, Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s important to know that just one demand source will not suffice when it comes to maximizing your website’s revenue potential. In times as unprecedented as now, it is only wise to tap into various ad demand sources across display, search, video, and native to bring in maximum revenue from these budgets. This allows you to open up your inventory to a broader advertiser base, and even if a single demand source does not perform well, you always have the other ad budgets to rely on.

As budgets were trimmed and ad spends declined, the only demand source that withstood these disruptions better than any other was Search. According to eMarketer, while Display budgets fell by 34%, Search budgets took a hit by just 9%. This proves that if you plug in Search demand to your ad stack, you can save your overall revenue from a bad fall. In my opinion, the most effective way to leverage search is to partner with an ad platform, like, that offers unique search budgets.

With, you can tap into exclusive search demand from the Yahoo Bing! Contextual ads network worth $6 billion+, which absolutely no other ad platform can offer. Of course, this is over, and above the access, you get to leading DSPs, SSPs, Agencies, and Direct Advertisers. When you work with, you open up your inventory to a sizable volume and premium quality of demand sources and budgets that only they can provide via their partnerships.

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3. Place your bets on contextual ads

With privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA being enforced, and Chrome’s inevitable ban of third-party cookies, collecting and using third-party data to target relevant audiences is no longer a viable option. Instead, this is the right time to leverage contextual ads to make the most of your content assets. According to a recent IAS report, 74% of consumers like to see ads that match the content they are viewing. One ad platform that I recommend when it comes to running effective contextual ads is Their proprietary contextual tech conducts a keyword and page-level analysis of your website to determine the kind of ads that will work for both – your content and your audience. This way, you can display hyper-relevant content to a high-intent audience, thereby increasing clicks and conversions.

In a nutshell

It is time to pivot your ad revenue strategies not just because 2020 is anything but normal, but we see changes in ad tech here to stay. In all honesty, it’s best to use a combination of the techniques I’ve mentioned to ensure you’re a step ahead of your competition in the monetization journey.

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