The Changing Landscape of Publisher Ad Products in 2023
By Ivy Liu • February 13, 2024 • 3 min read •
This study is derived from exclusive data gathered from our in-house audience of industry experts from publishers, agencies, brands, and technology sectors. Accessible to members of Digiday+, this research offers insights into the current state of the industry.
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Shifts in Publisher Ad Products Amidst Industry Challenges
Despite the challenges faced by the media industry in 2023, a significant number of publishers managed to retain their full-time staff, potentially due to the expansion of their advertising offerings.
Recent surveys conducted by Digiday+ Research among over 300 publishing professionals, with the latest one carried out towards the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, shed light on these developments.
The surveys revealed that a majority of publishers (56%) increased their array of ad products in the past year. Meanwhile, around 35% maintained the same number of ad products, with only 9% reducing their offerings in 2023.
However, the scale of growth in ad products was moderate for most publishers. Fifty-three percent of respondents indicated a slight increase in the number of ad products, while only 3% witnessed a substantial expansion.
Factors Influencing Changes in Ad Product Offerings
The conservative growth in the number of ad products among publishers correlates with the limited increase in full-time staff positions, as reported by 26% of respondents. The workforce constraints may have restricted the capacity of publishers to introduce new ad products.
On the other hand, any reductions in ad products among publishers were marginal. None of the survey participants reported a significant decrease in the number of ad products offered by their companies. Among the 9% who witnessed a decline, the reduction was minimal.
Focus Areas for Expansion in Ad Products
Noteworthy investments in expanding ad products were observed in the realm of branded content, according to the Digiday survey. A staggering 58% of publisher professionals mentioned that their companies introduced new branded content ad products in 2023, highlighting it as a key area of focus for publishers.
Additionally, close to a third of publishers incorporated programmatic ads, event sponsorships, and direct-sold ads in their offerings last year. Specifically, 39% added programmatic ads and event sponsorships, while 36% introduced directly sold ads.
Other areas where publishers recorded growth in ad products include video ads (24%) and artificial intelligence-driven, ad-supported products (18%), rounding off the top five categories of new product introductions in 2023.
For more insights into the evolving landscape of publisher ad products in 2023, read the full report here.