Real estate and sports and entertainment are among the ad categories that are showing a rebound in ad rates in the second quarter after slumping at the end of 2008, according to new data from ad technology company Adify.
Based on pricing across the 200 vertical ad networks and 12,000 sites the company powers, Adify found that average CPMs in the real estate sector had climbed back to $6.50 in the second quarter after falling to just over $3 in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Sports and entertainment CPMs have both increased about 20% since the end of last year, with sports ($7.09 CPM) benefiting from events such as the NCAA tournament, NBA and NHL playoffs and start of the baseball season during the spring. Rates for news-oriented content were also up 20% to a $10 CPM in the last six months, but down from the first quarter when the presidential inauguration temporarily boosted the audience for news.
The median CPM overall across 13 industry sectors in the second quarter was $7.70, with a low of $3.63 and a high of $19.89, according to the Adify Vertical Gauge, a report on CPMs and pricing information that the company plans to release quarterly. It covers premium inventory sold across banner ads, rollovers, roadblocks, sponsorships, and rich media units.
Forbes.com, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, The Guardian and Pajama Media are among the Web publishers that have used Adify to build their own branded networks. The company was acquired last year for $300 million by Cox Enterprises, which uses the platform to help monetize its own publishing properties.
Joelle Kaufman, Adify's senior vice president of marketing, said that with over 4,500 hundred ad buys each day running through its system, the company now has enough data to start issuing quarterly reports about ad rates and trends. "And each buy represents hundreds of thousands to millions of impressions," she said.
Kaufman added that CPM rate fluctuations track the business cycle, especially with real estate. "It's now slightly easier for people to get mortgages, and we're starting to see CPMs reflect the growing demand for that audience and that industry which was somewhat depressed," she said.
It's not time to start celebrating, however. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that housing starts in July were down 1% from the prior month and that the market for new homes remained weak despite recent signs of increased activity in the housing market.
Declining CPMs in categories such as beauty and fashion and technology in the second quarter also pulled down the overall median rate across all Adify industry verticals. Technology fell to a $16 CPM from $23 in the fourth quarter of 2008, although Kaufman attributed that drop mainly to the IDG Tech Network leaving Adify earlier this year for DoubleClick as its ad-serving partner. But technology still commands among the highest CPMs, along with automotive ($15.33) and travel ($19.89).
Adify says its ad rates reflect the highly targeted and engaged audiences drawn to the niche sites across its platform.