Navigating the Uncertain Ad Landscape: How the Right Tech Can Help Publishers Weather the Storm

February 16, 2023

The economic landscape of 2023 is proving to be a challenging one for businesses, with many facing uncertainty due to a variety of factors. One of the biggest pain points for publishers is the Q1 ad spend drop, which is driven by a decrease in ad demand and spending. Additionally, the general economic climate is uncertain, with many predicting the possibility of a recession. These factors make it difficult for publishers to generate revenue and grow their businesses.

Online Ad Revenue Index

Ezoic publishes “The Online Ad Revenue Index”.  This is a single metric that serves as a baseline to describe the state of the online advertising marketplace on any given day.  This snapshot below shows the timeframe from January 2022 through December 2022 with fairly typical peaks and valleys.  

Though we see an earlier Q4 decline than ever as the Index falls from the 50s to the 40s in mid-December.  This is consistent with reports across the industry of decreased spend and lower CPMs. Google search, network, and YouTube all declined in Q4.

ad revenue index

Riding Out the Downturns and Protecting Ad Revenue

The right technology is the key to protecting and growing revenue at any time, but especially during slower periods.  By now most publishers utilize a header bidding solution but understanding and implementing the features available in your wrapper are key to driving the most value for every impression.  Likewise, continuously reviewing your analytics and on-page console and making ongoing optimizations are also vital to driving revenue.

Adapex works with over 1,000 websites and we can report that the powerful tools in our m4 Tech Suite™ have led to YoY uplifts for our clients. Our publishers who use it not only weathered the COVID recession but also served ads despite the GAM outage. Now, in the midst of another economic downturn, Adapex’s tech is driving revenue uplifts that outpace the trends in the ecosystem.

cpm trends

Tools to Drive Revenue Optimization

It starts with your header bidder wrapper and implementing best practices for your setup. 

  • Up-to-date with Prebid
  • Hybrid set-up to maximize demand and protect page speed
  • Auto device detection
  • Auto head/body call matching
  • Features like Smart Refresh and Lazy Loading to maximize viewability and fill. 
  • High-impact, high-CPM formats like Adhesions and Sticky Footers

Your tech should also give you the data you need to make ongoing optimizations which are crucial to driving up KPI.

  • Analytics dashboard with data from various demand and analytics sources
  • On-page console with bidding info, ad behavior, and CMP monitoring 

And, as more and more businesses move towards a cookieless future, publishers need a solution to help them navigate the shift away from third-party cookies.

Recession Cycle CPMs

How our publisher partners are doing is important to us.  We work closely with them throughout the year to navigate anything that is impacting their business. While seasonality is a big driver of revenue peaks and dips, we’ve seen other factors that affect CPMs. Most recently we rode out the major slowdown at the start of COVID and global quarantines. We took a look at the COVID recession (February 2020-April 2020, red line) and how we rebounded (blue line).  And then again in May 2022 as the economy again began to sputter and threats of another US recession loom (green line).

Changing the Revenue Game: How Adapex’s m4 Tech Suite™ Helps Publishers Maximize Earnings

Adapex’s award-winning m4 Tech Suite™ provides every tool you need to optimize your site and continuously drive revenue.  Our programmatic technology is a performance-focused suite of products with proven results. But more importantly, we have built this to be easily implemented on your end so we don’t waste any of your precious resources. 

  • The m4 Tech Suite™ led one of our clients to a +48% revenue lift in a few short months after implementing Merlin™, our custom header bidder wrapper. This allowed Adapex to set up sophisticated, revenue-driving features like lazy loading, smart refresh, and high-performing ad units. 

One of the key features included in Adapex’s tech suite is Magnify™, an identity connector. So as the ecosystem embraces a cookieless future, our publishers have the right tools in place to protect and grow their revenue. 

  • Magnify™ is already showing uplifts on cookieless inventory, and Adapex has plans to expand this offering in 2023.

Lastly, you need an adops team to provide ongoing attention to your site to ensure constant updates and evolutions, optimizations, and support.

  • The Adapex account team worked closely with another client to continually test, analyze and optimize. Using data, we drove changes that drastically grew their monetization. 


The economic landscape of 2023 is presenting challenges for publishers, but Adapex is here to help. We understand the uncertainties publishers are facing and we believe that with the right tools and support, success is within reach. We’re here to help you navigate the turbulence and unleash your potential so you’re prepared for everything that comes next.

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