Explore the evolution of ad revenue from 2023 to 2024, uncovering key insights and emerging trends to optimize profitability and stay ahead in the dynamic market landscape.

In the dynamic landscape of digital advertising, publishers often witness fluctuations in ad revenue, especially when RPM experiences unpredictable shifts. These variations prompt questions about the underlying factors driving this volatility.

According to a year-end forecast from GroupM, one of the largest global advertising agencies, the global ad market is projected to expand by 5.3% this year, slightly lower than the 5.8% growth witnessed in 2023.

This blog sheds light on the state of ad revenue in 2024, focusing on key insights gleaned from the experiences of publishers navigating the highs and lows of the industry in the previous year. And, strategies that publishers can use to increase their RPM.

By analyzing revenue trends, RPM, and CPM data sourced from Adroll’s report, and ad marketing from various sources,  we uncover the intricacies influencing the recent drops in RPM.

Understanding the Factors Behind the RPM Drop

Several key factors contribute to the dropping year-over-year RPM trends:

Macroeconomic/Geopolitical Factors

The world has been experiencing multiple uncertainties, with inflation on the rise due to ongoing geopolitical conflicts. Central banks across the globe have responded by raising interest rates, making money more expensive. 

In times of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD), many companies shift from a growth mindset to a survival mindset, which leads to budget cuts in digital marketing. Thus, publishers, collectively, inevitably feel the impact.

However, things seem to be getting back on track. In 2024, there is widespread anticipation of an increase in ad spending, supported by major sporting events and political expenditures, contributing to the growth forecast.

Image Source – IO Fund

Google Ad Spend

A notable shift occurred when YouTube ad spending dropped in Q4 2022 for the first time since its inception. Additionally, the Google Display Network, which includes AdSense, Google AdX, and DV360, experienced a $1 billion decline in the same quarter. This downturn followed the rapid growth of digital advertising during the pandemic. For more information on the same, please refer to AdMonster.

Here’s a screenshot from that article.

Talking about the current scenario, it is getting back on track too. In Q4 2023, YouTube’s ad revenue surged by 15.5% year-over-year to $9.2 billion, as indicated by an earnings statement from parent company Alphabet. This suggests a resurgence in demand for premium formats such as video.

Ad Tech Bankruptcies

The ad tech industry saw two significant companies, EMX Digital which has filed for bankruptcy this year, which owes more than $50M, and then Mediamath owing around $100m. This has disrupted the ad tech supply chain. These bankruptcy cases disrupted the ad tech supply chain and resulted in clawbacks for publishers.

Recent Stock Market Crashes

Pubmatic and Magnite, also known as Rubicon had revealed their quarterly financial results. Surprisingly, despite meeting the expected quarterly performance, the stock prices of these companies experienced a significant drop on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) after Aug 9 as you can see in the graph below. 

This outcome raised questions about what could be driving such stock market reactions, especially when these companies not only met their financial performance but exceeded the market’s predictions. This disconnect between meeting financial expectations and a decline in stock value highlights the complex and dynamic nature of the online advertising industry in 2023. 

ad revenue 2024
ad revenue state 2024

In the latest development, as of February 14, 2024, Pubmatic’s stock price fell by 5.44% today, closing at $14.96, down from $0.86. Magnite’s stock closed at $8.88 on February 13, experiencing a decrease of $0.77 (7.98%) in value on that day. These fluctuations underscore is the ongoing volatility within the industry, where even seemingly positive performances can lead to significant market shifts.

ad revenue 2024
ad revenue state 2024

Startup Funding Freeze 

Startups, historically known for substantial spending on digital advertising, have reduced their budgets. According to The New York Times, startup funding has plunged, with companies prioritizing survival over extravagant advertising budgets. This trend is not limited to the US but also extends to countries like India, Germany, the UK, and Canada.

However, according to Business Insider, numerous venture capitalists hold optimism that the upcoming year will, at the very least, show slight improvement compared to the conditions in 2023. Although startup funding may continue to be restrained, there is a belief among some that the market will begin to warm up in the following year.

Top 4 Strategies for Publishers to Increase Revenue in 2024

In light of these external factors beyond publishers’ control, it’s crucial to focus on aspects within their control, such as benchmarking current setups and exploring technical optimizations. Publishers collectively face these challenges, but opportunities for improvement exist:

1. Header-bidding Timeout Optimization

Adjusting header bidding timeout settings can lead to higher revenue. While low timeouts are great for page load speed, setting them higher during refresh auctions can result in increased revenue.

2. Diversify Ad Formats

Expanding header bidding to include not just display banners, but also video and native formats can drive more competition and demand, ultimately boosting revenue.

3. Flying Carpet Optimization 

Publishers can consider adopting optimization strategies like the “Flying Carpet” approach, which has proven to increase viewability and RPMs on tech websites.

4. Advanced Ad Serving

Implement advanced ad-serving techniques by leveraging ad servers that provide detailed control over where ads are placed, flexible pricing that adjusts dynamically, and real-time analytics to enhance ad delivery and effectiveness.

Amidst the challenges, there’s a glimmer of good news for publishers and advertisers. Let’s take a closer look at the positive trends in website traffic and conversions.

Promising Conversion Rates

Q2 2023 witnessed an impressive 13% growth in website conversions compared to the previous year. Different industries displayed varying performance, with the Career and Education sectors more than doubling their conversion numbers, while entertainment and hobby-related sectors also experienced substantial gains.

Source – Adroll

What Lies Ahead for Publisher RPM in 2024?

As publishers look to the future, there’s the question of where RPM (Revenue Per Mille) will head in 2024. The direction RPM takes heavily relies on a few key factors, particularly the state of the economy and consumer sentiment.

If the economy continues its positive trajectory, accompanied by an uptick in consumer sentiment, the second half of the year may witness a resurgence in consumer spending. This upswing in consumer expenditure has the potential to drive an increased demand for advertising, a development that could translate into higher RPM for publishers.

Encouragingly, some recent indicators point towards a brighter outlook for publishers. Meta, in its latest financial report for Q2, posted robust growth in ad revenue, and its Q3 forecast looks promising. Moreover, As per reports from AXIOS, multiple advertising analysts have shared their positive outlook for the advertising market in the latter half of the year.

For publishers, this sets the stage for potential RPM growth, as they remain poised to benefit from an improved ad market and heightened advertiser demand in the months to come. This brighter outlook offers a glimmer of hope and stability in a landscape that has seen its fair share of turbulence.


Deepak has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the ad tech landscape. Whether it's through in-depth articles, thought-provoking insights, or compelling storytelling, he’s dedicated to helping people navigate the complex world of ad tech with the simplicity of his words.

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