Ad Rates Down from ’07 to ’08, Stabilize between Q3 & Q4

January 15, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce

The fourth quarter of 2008 reflected a 48% decline in online display ad pricing compared with the same period in 2007, across all verticals, regardless of website size, according to ad optimization firm PubMatic‘s AdPrice Index for Q4 2008, writes MarketingVOX.


However, the drop in ad prices between Q3 and Q4 was only 3.7%, suggesting a boost from the holiday season between the two quarters, PubMatic said.

Additional Q408 findings:

  • All sizes of websites were down since last year. Rates on small, medium and large websites decreased 52%, 23%, and 54%, respectively, from Q407.
  • All sizes of websites were also down from Q308 to Q408, but the drops were not significant, bucking the trend of larger drops from quarter to quarter throughout 2008; this may be an indicator that the online ad sector got just enough of a boost from holiday advertising to keep ad rates steady.


  • All verticals witnessed significant drops in ad rates from 2007, but Business & Finance suffered the largest decrease, falling 61% from an average ad rate of $2.13 in Q407 to $0.83 in Q408.


  • The period between Q3 and Q4 2008 was kind to verticals. Those with higher price averages compared to Q3 included Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Gaming, and Music.

“Online ad pricing is a reflection of what is happening in the overall economy, and as a result, pricing has dropped significantly in almost all categories in the past year,” said Rajeev Goel, co-founder and CEO of PubMatic.

The AdPrice Index is a quarterly industry-wide measure of online ad network rates for publishers. In Q308, PubMatic reported a 27% decline in online display ad rates. Small sites were hit hardest.

About the PubMatic AdPrice Index: The PubMatic AdPrice Index is a monthly survey of over 5,500 websites, approximately 85% of which are based in the US. The PubMatic AdPrice Index is prepared by leading independent statisticians and industry experts and released quarterly. Pricing data reflects net publisher monetization via ad networks and excludes ad networks’ share of ad spends as well as inventory sold directly by publishers to ad agencies or advertisers. Complete Q4 2008 data from the PubMatic AdPrice Index is available here (pdf) .

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