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Publishers didn’t see a big drop in traffic last year. But fewer publishers saw increases in traffic as their ad bids increased compared to previous years.
This is according to a Digiday+ Research survey conducted in December of some 70 publishing professionals.
According to the survey results, almost half of professional publishers (46%) told Digiday that their traffic increased in 2022, which is strong but less than in 2021, when 57% of publishers said their traffic raised. More specifically, there was a significant drop in the percentage of publishers who said their traffic increased significantly in 2022: 7% said they saw significant traffic increases last year, up from 18% the year before. The percentage of those who said their traffic increased somewhat was flat from 2021 to 2022 at 39%.
Meanwhile, the percentage of professional publishers who said their traffic decreased in 2022 increased compared to 2021. More than a third of respondents (35%) said they saw drops in traffic in 2022, compared to less than a quarter (24%) in 2021.
It’s worth noting that most respondents to Digiday’s late-2022 survey ended up somewhere in the middle. Eighty-four percent of publishers said their traffic increased a little, decreased a little, or neither increased nor decreased in the past year, while few respondents chose the significant increase or significant decrease options at either end of the scale.
With fewer publishers seeing increases in traffic and more decreasing traffic last year, Digiday’s survey found that publishers did not increase the number of titles they published, but many did increase the number of ad products they offered.
Most publishers kept the same number of titles they published in 2022, according to Digiday’s survey. More than two-thirds of publisher professionals (69%) said the number of titles their companies published neither increased nor decreased in the past year, a jump from 55% in 2021.
Meanwhile, the percentage of publishers who said they increased the number of titles they published last year fell compared to the previous year. A quarter of publishers said they increased their number of titles in 2022, up from more than a third (39%) in 2021.
Very few publishers said they reduced their number of titles in the past year. Only 7% of Digiday’s respondents chose this option.
Publisher actions regarding ad products last year were a bit of a different story than headlines.
More than half of professional publishers (54%) told Digiday that the number of ad products their companies offered increased in 2022. This is definitely more than the 37% who said they neither increased nor decreased their ad products and 8 % who said they decreased their ad products in the past year.
However, that 54% is below the 61% of publishers who said they increased their ad products in 2021. And even last year, the increase in ad products was small: 47% of professional publishers said their ad products increased a little in 2022, compared to just 7% who said they increased significantly.