Publisher Salon Grows Revenue After Cutting Resellers

Great article featured in Adweek utilizing Operative’s STAQ Benchmarking data to highlight market trends related to the revenue impact of Salon’s choice to remove resellers from their programmatic business. Read more about it here!

Salon’s growth in RPMs outpaced the growth of the wider industry between January and July.

CPMs, which are highly correlated with RPMs, for open auction programmatic in the U.S. only rose by 21% between January and July 2023, according to Operative’s STAQ benchmarking data. Operative draws CPM data directly from ad servers and supply-side platforms (SSPs), representing over 30 publishers, more than 50 SSPs, and over $3 billion in revenue on an annual basis.

Cutting out resellers may have helped stem the losses of Salon’s lagging 2023. For the first half of 2023, Salon’s RPMs were down 46% compared to the first half of 2022. The overall market, as measured by Operative, was down but not as drastically: CPMs were down 14% for the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022.

But in July, Salon caught up. RPMs were down 22% compared to July 2022. Operative’s data set, meanwhile, showed July 2023 CPMs down by 11% compared to the previous year. Where Salon was once performing nearly three times behind the market average, that gulf post-pruning its resellers narrowed to two times.

“The fact that they’ve seen some significant increases even on month over month or a few months over time, that’s impressive within this economy and the market,” said Sarah Levitt, senior director of product marketing at Operative.

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