In recent months we have been releasing monthly Display publisher performance trends, and we noted that some interesting ones have emerged. Today we take a look at Q1 2011, and as we highlighted in December 2010, Video Publishers’ Inventory has clearly been the most sought-after placements for U.S. advertisers.

The story of February 2011 was that social media publishers had proportionally one-third of all Display impressions. However, looking across Q1, that was certainly a spike, because looking at Q1 as a whole, the overall impression share was about half that.

Figure 1 shows the different publisher types compared against each other, and Figure 2 shows actual numerical performance per publisher type and how they performed in Q1.

Figure 1: U.S. Display Publisher CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) – Q1 2011
Figure 2: U.S. Display Publisher Type Trends
In addition to Video inventory being almost twice as expensive as the next highest publisher types — News & Sport and Shopping sites — it also had the highest rate of user interaction (i.e. Click Through Rate – CTR) of any group. Gaming sites also recorded strong CTRs but proportionally were only 1% of impressions and 4% of the sites in Q1. In contrast, Video Publishers, while having fewer sites than Gaming Publishers, had nine times the amount of inventory volume, possibly indicating that users are engaging more with those sites across multiple pages.

Advertisers should use this data to get a gauge on the differing volume levels that are available in the market via the Display Exchanges and the comparative levels of CTR and CPM. This data could be a leading indicator as to how much time users tend to spend on those types of Publisher sites, which could dictate the types of creative messaging that would be most effective.

Ultimately, these trends and insights are only as useful as the sophistication of your marketing funnel and the platform that is able to optimize your Display campaigns. Finally, when managing a Display campaign, ensure that you are not looking at performance in isolation, as it important to fully comprehend the interaction between all your digital channels to achieve optimum results.

Chris Jacob