Last updated: January 18, 2023 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on January 18th, 2023

Unlike last year, publishers find advertisers more willing to plan for quarter #4 before the period.

The delta variant delayed advertising creative and content commitments.

While branded content campaigns may have an urgent need to get on the books today, video & audio are likely to be the driving forces behind Q4 ad businesses for publishers.

Publishers’ 4th quarter ad sales were decent till mid-year (we are talking about the pre-COVID era here).

There’s a chance that Q4 this year will be a mixture of the two since publishers’ advertising businesses have survived the worst of COVID, but the delta variant continues to put advertisers on the edge.

Meredith and Vox Media publishers are in the middle of planning their fourth-quarter marketing strategies with advertisers and programmatic agencies.

Though, advertisers are tentative about committing to specific creative messaging since they are unsure what the cultural tenor will grow out to be until Christmas.

Before the delta variant, a few months ago, all briefs focused on holiday travel and what it’s like to host events in this holiday season & assuming we were back to our daily ol’ creative routine.

It is important to not pretend we will be back to normal just yet, so there is a bit of a pause in deciding what the real creative and content will become.

A tonne of industry executives are speaking out about the delays this has caused.

M. Newman who is the V.P of digital sales at Meredith said there has been a split between advertisers who are doing deals ahead of time and those who are picking up ad inventory in real-time.

As a publisher, try relying on:

  • Long-term more expansive deals with advertisers
  • Connect your publications’ subsidiaries with businesses in a similar niche
  • Focus on building a robust foundation.

It’s best to spend the next few months building atop that foundation as ad dollars from your advertisers as long as the market is hot.

It’s not possible to say, ‘The quarter’s over; we’re up.’ We’re not seeing that yet,” said Newman.

Every publisher is waiting for Q4 sales to cross that expected threshold.




Few advertisers are sucking up the available supply and are actively engaged in scaling their sales upwards.

The holiday season may be sluggish for some publishers right now, but given the importance of the fourth quarter to the retail, travel, & auto industries in attaining revenue or sales targets.

Publishers like Vox Media are expecting their podcast shows’ ad inventory to be sold out through Q4’s end.

The growing advertiser demands for podcast ad inventory and the part that ad inventory can play in quarter four is unquestionably something to consider.

It is pretty obvious that almost 80% of publishers’ production teams are fully extended across multiple campaigns.

Moreover, while publishers are tweaking their abbreviated turnaround time & sales cycles for branded content campaigns, their projects can only be compressed to a certain level.

If you won’t begin executing on branded content campaigns sooner, then it’s apparently not going to come to fruition until late Q4.

To get past the potential backlog of content marketing campaigns, start working with appropriate advertisers to design campaigns that can spread out over time rather than be shot out all at once.

This kind of approach enables the publisher to optimize a campaign’s creative based on design, target audience, & launch timings.

Ultimately, Flexibility is the main focus now, in what has become a popular theme imbued in publishers’ ad sales strategies.

Publishers are spending the current fourth-quarter strategizing period mapping out the ad programs & ad inventory sources of interest to advertisers so that when they start bidding money for ad space, your campaigns will be ready to go.

The latest & hottest commodity is video inventory. It’s easier than ever for advertisers now to deliver the ad for publishers to plug into these videos running on social media platforms like TikTok & YouTube.

In the fourth quarter, while branded content has a huge part to play in Q4 ad sales, the premium turnkey inventory sources of audio & video content will be pioneering publishers’ business forward.


How to level up your fourth-quarter revenue Game-Plan


Here are some effective methods you can use to get that ad revenue rollin’:


1. Ad-reinsertion: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly




More than one in every quarter of users use ad blockers. While uptake rates have stalled, there are about 5 million people installing ad-blocking software every year.

If you are missing out on extra revenue because of adblockers (close to 25% of traffic not being monetized), you need to take initiatives to tap into this revenue source.

If you unlock visitors immediately, you get a quick Q4 boost so that your impressions get monetized with a big holiday cost per impressions (around 2X plus greater from Black Friday to December).

By establishing a bond with your site visitors, you can get some of them to switch off those ad blockers or whitelist your site (Bonus: make it easier for them).

If you are seeking AdBlock recovery, Ad Reinsertion is the way to go.

Always make sure you are delivering the best user experience for your users.

Moreover, unlocked blockers give a high ‘first look’ cost per impressions, since media buyers pay a premium for impressions coming from users that may have skipped ads for weeks or more.


2. Selling Ad-Lite or Ad-Free Subscriptions




Delivering a high-quality site experience to your readers that comes with fewer ads is how you can scale your ad sales up this Q4. This also depends on how unique your content is.

Have a clean and straightforward call to action that’s persuasive enough for your readers to subscribe and follow your content.

99% of the time, you’ll be earning way more from a user paying even just 99 cents a month for a subscription than you would be making from the same user in ad monetization.


3. Monetize your Newsletter



Your newsletter can get more attention once you start using the right resources.

Tonnes of publishers have leveled up their content game by publishing more than the traditional once-a-week offering.

If you care enough about your audience, always send them valuable content for user loyalty in return.

Consider coming up with a supplementary weekend roundup for your readers who are looking for the latest buzz and trending stories across your offerings.


4. Monetizing Customized Videos




Video ads and in-apps are other potential sources of additional revenue, but it’s not a cakewalk.

Publishers can create short-form video content that complements all aspects of their content with video editing software and tools. Its players can be easily embedded into your website.

If you are in an agreement with a few brands who are willing to pay you directly to embed their player onto your site, it’s necessary for such pairings to look legit and work for both you & your audiences.


5. What about Affiliate Revenue?


Affiliate marketing has been the IT Girl for the past few years with big media sites accumulating referral money when site visitors buy services & products through links on their website.

Affiliate marketing used to be a minor part of many online monetization strategies.

Moreover, other websites pay for driving traffic to their website, rather than for genuine purchases.

While Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular affiliate program, there are tonnes of other lucrative affiliate programs online which you can make a consistent buck out of, given your website and audience.






We at MonetizeMore are aware of the pressure publishers face while reaching the fourth quarter to cross that pre-set ad sales benchmark.

Just a few more months remain to deliver a serious boost to your revenue.

Publishers usually have a wide variety of revenue sources in their revenue stream.

They also include display ads, events, newsletters & subscriptions.

The amount you get from any one of these income streams is probably always changing, as it is for many publishers.

If you continue to make adjustments, even petite ones, you will be able to find what will earn you the most and stick to that.


Ready to boost your ad revenue and break up with the Q4 stress? Sign up for a starter account at MonetizeMore today. 


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