CMO Strategies: Mapping display trends across site and newsletter advertising — direct and programmatic

Keeping the complexities of marketing channels in mind, Digiday+ Research has analyzed strategies and challenges across leading marketing channels — like retail media and social media — to identify key trends and best practices in our CMO Strategies series. 

In this installment, Digiday+ Research focuses on an analysis of the display ad landscape and its role in marketers’ playbooks. Our first report focused on social media usage and budgets and our second report focused on an analysis of the retail media landscape. Future reports will focus on ad-supported streaming usage and budgets and retail and social media platform specifics.

When ad spending slowed on some marketing channels in late 2022 amid talks of recession, and advertisers began to get cold feet about where and when to execute their remaining 2022 budgets, some turned to tried and true programmatic and turnkey display ad products. 

During the fourth quarter of 2022, publishers and media buyers alike reported a heightened focus on programmatic and display advertising thanks to publishers wanting to highlight the quick-turn ad slots and to keep ad dollars coming in-quarter. Advertisers, as well, wanted to burn up their remaining budgets before the year concluded. 

News publisher The New York Times Company even saw digital ad revenue grow in Q3 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, primarily due to higher direct-sold advertising at The New York Times Group (which does not include The Athletic) and the addition of ad revenue from The Athletic, which started serving display ads at the end of the quarter. 

Yet despite year-end display ad buying activity, publishers experienced a rocky start to 2023, with many reporting a significant revenue slowdown in the first-half of the year. The month of January alone was pacing between 10% to 25% off projected targets, largely driven by a

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