Publishers Face Low CPMs Pushing Premium Inventory to Private Channels Operative Finds

Author: Platform Comms

Published: 31 August 2023

Publishers can drive growth by leveraging Operative’s Benchmarking to surface revenue-driving insights

Operative released their benchmark report titled “1H 2023 State of Digital Advertising” which finds that low CPMs in the first half of 2023 are causing publishers to shift their premium inventory to private channels where they have more control.

Publishers are dealing with the following changes in the market going into 2H 2023 and 2024:

  • Low Overall CPMs, Display CPMs were down between 10-20% in the first half of 2023. Open video CPMs were also down 13% and open CTV CPMs were down 9%. The bright spot so far in 2023 are preferred deal CPMs which are over 20% above last year.
  • Move to Private Sales Channels, In 2022, the majority of CTV revenue was sold on private channels for the first time, and that trend only increased in 2023. What’s more, 2023 was the first year that revenue share for video impressions on private channels also surpassed the 50% mark.
  • Price Gap Between Identified and Anonymous Users, with a 3X premium for identified users on Chrome, which could collapse without a solid identity strategy when Chrome turns off third party cookies.

There are macro trends that could shift publisher strategies in 2H 2023 and in 2024. Operative saw a 10% increase in impression volume on the open web. While this can’t be directly attributed to AI-generated content, anecdotally many publishers are embracing AI-generated content and volume is likely to climb over time. AI content could push advertisers towards trusted partners, which, with an economic recovery, could drive CPMs higher again for those top publishers.

Publishers with modern technology like Operative’s cloud-based AOS have an advantage in the market. With a unified product catalog, publishers can deliver smarter proposals, and maximize yield. They can bundle inventory to bring up average CPMs and pull in premium inventory that might not be differentiated on the open web against AI content.

“Operative has their finger on the pulse, providing a critical lever for publishers who are facing a tough market right now. Not only does Operative’s insight pinpoint the top trends across the industry, their solutions help publishers fight back against negative pressures like low CPMs and AI-generated content. Publishers can determine how productive and efficient they need to be in order to reach their goals and actually get where they want to go with Operative,” said Matthew Goldstein.

“Despite downward pressures on CPMs in the first half of 2023, we’re seeing opportunities for publishers that are strategic in their approach. Advertisers want it all – they want to reach key audiences, trade on new currencies, and get premium placements. With AOS, publishers can deliver for their advertisers and maximize yield. This is a critical time for publishers to differentiate themselves as advertisers determine who their premium partners will be as content explodes with the rise of AI,” said Ben Tatta, Chief Commercial Officer at Operative.

Download the State of Digital Advertising 1H 2023 Report here:


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