In a weak ad market, conventional wisdom would have publishers trying to sell more ads to offset lower ad prices. But some publishers are doing the opposite. They are taking inventory off the table in hopes that the short-term revenue hit will protect their ad prices and help their businesses in the long run by not baking in price cuts that are hard to claw back.
Since the programmatic advertising market operates under an auction system, the combination of lower advertiser demand and higher traffic to publishers’ sites has pushed down programmatic ad CPMs by 10% to 20%. To prevent ad prices from bottoming out to the point of devaluing their inventory over the long run, some publishers are reducing the inventory they make available in the programmatic open market in order to keep prices from falling too far that it takes longer for CPMs to return to their normal levels. That can mean using the ad slots to push internal subscriptions programs and other internal needs — or simply eliminating the ad slots from pages.
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