Digiday+ Research: Publishers grew ad offerings last year as fewer saw traffic increases

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Publishers didn’t see a big drop-off in traffic last year. But fewer publishers did see increases in traffic as they added to their ad offerings compared to previous years.

This is according to a December Digiday+ Research survey of about 70 publisher professionals.

According to the survey results, nearly half of publisher pros (46%) told Digiday that their traffic increased in 2022, which is a strong number but fewer than in 2021, when 57% of publishers said their traffic increased. More specifically, there was a significant drop in the percentage of publishers who said their traffic increased significantly in 2022: 7% said they saw significant traffic increases last year, down from 18% the year before. The percentage of those who said their traffic increased somewhat remained unchanged from 2021 to 2022 at 39%.

Meanwhile, the percentage of publisher pros who said their traffic decreased in 2022 went up compared with 2021. More than a third of respondents (35%) said they saw drops in traffic in 2022, down from fewer than a quarter (24%) in 2021.

It is worth noting that most of the respondents to Digiday’s survey at the end of 2022 ended up somewhere in the middle. Eighty-four percent of publishers said their traffic either increased somewhat, decreased somewhat or neither increased nor decreased last year, while few respondents chose the increased significantly or decreased significantly options on either end of the scale.

As fewer publishers saw traffic increases and more faced traffic decreases last year, Digiday’s survey found that publishers didn’t grow the number of titles they published but many did increase the number of advertising products they offered.

Most publishers kept the number of titles they published in 2022 the same, according to Digiday’s survey. More than two-thirds of publisher pros (69%) said the number of titles their companies published neither increased nor decreased last year — a jump from the 55% who said so in 2021.

Meanwhile, the percentage of publishers who said they grew the number of titles they published last year fell compared to the year before. A quarter of publishers said they increased their number of titles in 2022, down from more than a third (39%) in 2021.

Very few publishers said they cut their number of titles last year. Only 7% of respondents to Digiday’s survey chose this option.

Publishers’ actions regarding ad products last year were a bit of a different story than titles.

More than half of publisher pros (54%) told Digiday that the number of ad products their companies offered increased in 2022. This is definitively more than the 37% who said they neither increased nor decreased their ad products and the 8% who said they decreased their ad products last year.

However, that 54% is down from the 61% of publishers who said they grew their ad products in 2021. And even last year, the increase in ad products was small: 47% of publisher pros said their ad products increased somewhat in 2022, compared with only 7% who said they increased significantly.


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