[IAB Report] Publisher Profitability: Thinking Beyond CPM

Every day, we learn of a new monetization platform, privacy regulation, or algorithm change that is capable of the next disruption in advertising, for better or for worse.

With these seemingly endless changes come the delicate balance of managing short-term versus long-term profitability strategies. And, for many publishers already managing razor-thin margins, the allure of immediate cash flow can be extremely attractive. However, there is an inherent risk of being overly reliant on quick wins without a long-term game-plan in place to balance the scales.

As we discuss in IAB’s latest report, Short-Term vs. Long-term Profitability: A Guide to Managing a Publishers’ Revenue Goals Without Sacrificing User Experience, companies are working to navigate this ever-changing landscape. Throughout the process, many are finding that shifting focus to the consumer journey is leading to incremental gains. Changes in strategy to personalize the site experience, advertising campaigns, and content play a major role in successfully navigating a well-balanced approach.


Take Outbrain, for instance — one of the Co-Chairs of the report, offering an interesting Platform-specific perspective among our fantastic Co-Chairs, who offered their expertise as Publishers and Agencies. We’ve long been a meaningful revenue partner for publishers. Though as we’ve grown and evolved alongside the publishing industry, we’ve also become more attuned to the specific goals and metrics each partner needs to succeed, across the scale of longevity. We’ve doubled down on innovative audience categorization technology, new targeting features, and optimization layers that hone in on measurable results tied to the value of audience loyalty.

Now, armed with tools to maximize opportunities both on and off-site, Outbrain is better aligned to support publishers’ developing, and more diversified, revenue streams than ever before. Our core partnership stance is not simply maximizing CPMs, rather, it’s balancing the need for the highest-possible revenue with a softer touch on guiding consumers through a holistic journey to long-term loyalty.

On the monetization front, we can now satisfy the delicate balance of providing the highest immediate CPM with delighting the reader in a way that also facilitates returning visitors. On the flip side, publishers are also looking to Outbrain as a scalable channel, not just for site visits, but as a way to attract qualified audiences who may be the next full subscriber or long-term engaged visitor.

Taking a step back, this need to manage both short-term and long-term strategies is what every business faces and is a central theme of our IAB Working Group. What we’ve learned is that there’s no perfect science, but rather, a certainty of finding balance, whatever that means for each individual business.

As a partner of the IAB, Outbrain was immensely proud to work with the IAB, E.W. Scripps, AdRizer, and other participating companies in building a best practice guide towards harmonizing both short-term and long-term profitability solutions for publishers.

After all, with change comes opportunity. And we can’t wait to continue experiencing, and supporting, the evolution of the industry toward a more audience-centric approach.

Looking for support in finding the balance between short-term and long-term profitability strategies? We’d love to help!

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