Despite an anticipated price spike in digital inventory at the end of the last cycle, some programmatic platforms observed only a small variation in video CPMs, which may help alleviate lingering concerns over inventory price and availability down the stretch in future cycles.
“A $1.50 variation, up or down, is all we saw throughout the year,” Grace Briscoe, SVP of client development at programmatic vendor Basis Technologies, told C&E. “There was a lot of fear around inventory scarcity. People were doing direct buys, locking in inventory. That didn’t shake out.”
She added: “As concerned as people were about that kind of scarcity and demand and prices, it didn’t seem to shake out that way.” That said, Briscoe did observe price increases in the final week of the ’22 cycle, but noted that was normal.
“It just wasn’t as big of a spike. There wasn’t the rate pressure to win impressions that we expected.” Still, overall Basis observed a “40% rise in average CPMs between January and November 2022,” according to its post-midterm digital ad trends report.
But that doesn’t mean media buyers are ready to stop making early reservations. Adam Wise, a SVP at GOP shop National Media Research, Planning & Placement, is one of those.
“Early ad reservations do far more than insulate clients from cost escalations, it gets you first in line for the highest quality impressions,” he said. “Destination viewing, A.K.A. the content we plan and are excited to watch, drives higher ad recall, but also higher CPMs.
“These high quality impressions are often the first to go, and unlike linear there’s no haggling.”
Other media buyers echoed the concern that a lack of price variation could hide the lack of availability of good quality video inventory down the stretch.
“There is significantly less premium inventory for high impact/short term messaging programs that campaigns should rely on for their goals,” said Adam Meldrum, president of the GOP media-buying shop AdVictory LLC.
“There is a reason big brands book this type of inventory in their ‘up-front’ annual media planning. And while campaigns are not able to operate in the exact same way, it is still important they account for as much of it as they can. It is limited, premium, and 100% needs to be reserved as part of strong media programs.”