The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a curveball to marketers’ plans, and that has had an impact on the pricing power of digital media. But a new survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) finds that among all digital media, none has ad rates more resilient than podcasting.
An IAB survey of digital ad sellers found podcasters expect their CPMs to decrease six percent this year compared to their company’s original plans for 2020. That is just a fraction of the average 16% drop in ad rates for online ad sellers overall. Podcasting also does better than digital radio, where CPMs are projected to drop 13% this year. The least resilient are display ads, both web and mobile, which are expected to decline by a third.
Lower CPMs are never good news, but the silver lining for podcasters and digital radio is that the pressure on ad rates aren’t about the efficacy of the mediums but rather issues on the client side. That typically was a brand cutting its overall marketing spending or slashing media budgets.
The IAB’s second study of advertising sellers to gauge the impact of COVID-19 reveals the business disruptions have put significant pricing pressure on the majority of sellers. IAB found two-thirds of digital publishers overall are experiencing a decrease in CPMs. That includes 27% who said they have experienced “significant” decreases. Yet at the same time more than a third said the pandemic hasn’t had much of an impact on ad rates. There was even a small number (3%) who said their CPMs have increased a bit in recent months — mainly among programmatic ad sellers.
The IAB says about half of publishers said they needed to lower CPMs to remain competitive and ensure they met revenue projections. Nearly as many (48%) said they were offering discounts to select advertisers. About a third said they were lowering rates to discourage clients from delaying ad campaigns or cancelling them altogether.
The IAB reported first-quarter internet revenue still grew despite the impact of the coronavirus in March. First-quarter digital revenue totaled $31.4 billion, a 12% increase compared with a year earlier, despite many publishers reporting a decline in revenues starting in March.