Just as Efficient Frontier regularly does with search CPC (cost per click) trends, we have decided to begin reporting on display CPM (cost per thousand impressions) trends.

Figure 1: Display Trends

In January, CPM levels on Display followed search CPC trends and are down Month Over Month (MoM) but more similar Year Over Year (YoY).

In display, it is often the case that CPM levels become more volatile at the end of quarters as many Display advertisers have to adjust their spend to meet pre-determined Quarterly budgets. Additionally a lot more inventory is sold on a guaranteed basis in December, particularly the more premium placements, meaning less of that type of inventory available in the biddable market.  All of this makes CPM levels a lot more varied and combined with the fact December is a low season for traditionally larger Display spend advertisers like Finance, this may be influencing the large MoM differences.

Direct response advertisers have to be more vigilant and sophisticated in optimizing their campaigns during these periods as they experience the unique nature of the Display marketplace. We would expect CPM levels to continue to rise through Q1 2011 with more volume from current display advertisers and newer entrants to biddable display continuing to enter the market.

Chris Jacob