Ad Revenue By The Seasons

It’s the end of June! The summer sun is shining, the days are long, and if you are a Mediavine blogger you are likely very much enjoying your earnings this month.

If you are a seasoned blogger and you’ve played this game many times (and years) before, you likely know what is on the horizon.

The July and January Revenue Blues: Why They Happen (and why not to Worry)

As June passes by and we trudge on into the dog days of summer, the advertising industry sees what we’ll refer to as the “Summer Slump”.

This gives us a great opportunity to educate our publishers what causes this temporary dip and how long you can expect it to last.

A woman filming a vlog in front of a pier.

January and June…The perfect storm.

First, and the most relevant right now, is that many advertising agencies see the end of June as the end of their fiscal year.

A fiscal year is a 12-month period that organizations use for budgeting and forecasting.

Typically any budgets that were set for any fiscal year would need to be used before the end of the fiscal year, which is why we see a huge dump of advertising money into the market in the month of June.

Second, advertising budgets are often increased when they can make the biggest impact on the consumer. CPMs and fill rates skyrocket around annual holidays like graduation season, Mother’s and Father’s day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas because this is also when people have reasons to spend money. This is why we can always count on Quarter 2 and 4 to be the highest earning quarters.

Additionally, brands tend to spend the least at the beginning of a new quarter, and more towards the end of the quarter.

We can show you this advertising spending trend by comparing the fill rate and the CPM for each month.

A woman sits on a rock and blogs on a laptop computer; in the background is a snow-capped mountain range.

The what and the what? Let me define these two terms for you so you can better understand what I am talking about.

What is fill rate?

The fill rate is a the number of delivered ads divided by the number of total ad requests. For example, if 100 ads were requested on a page in a day, and only 90 were filled, that would mean the fill rate for that day was 90%.

But why wouldn’t the fill rate always be 100%?

100% fill rate is is almost always an impossible number to achieve if you’re not relying on waterfalls and remnant advertising.

Network errors, timeouts, and price flooring (the minimum price we would allow an advertiser to pay to buy an ad on your site) mean that not every ad is going to be filled every single time.

When advertisers are spending more during busy months, say around Black Friday or Christmas, we see fill rates skyrocket.

During slow months, we will see fill rates drop off as advertisers are not willing to meet our minimum price floors.

Keep in mind that at Mediavine, we don’t want 100% fill. 100% fill sucks, and we even wrote a blog post about why. (You should read that!)

A woman uses a smart phone.

What is CPM?

CPM is an industry term, and stands for cost per mille (cost per thousand). This is a pricing structure used to define the price of 1,000 advertising impressions. If an advertiser is willing to pay a $3.00 CPM, that means they are willing to pay $3 for every 1,000 times an ad is shown.

When advertising budgets are high, we see higher CPMs as more advertisers are in competition for the same limited ad space and are willing to pay more to get their ad in front of a limited pool of users. During slower months, you will see these CPMs drop off as there is less competition in the marketplace, causing the advertisers not to have to spend as much to get the space they want on your site.

2018 quarterly trends in ad revenue

Time to make the data!

Let’s let some data tell the story. We’ve compiled the data from our network from the year 2018 and into early 2019  into the graph below. We took the average CPM (eCPM) from each month and multiplied that with the fill rate to get a number that shows how advertising spend changes month to month.

The January Slump

As you can see the new year starts off as slow as it will get all year, slowly increasing through the end of March and Quarter 1.

The April Slump

Quarter 2 takes a slight dip before slowly increasing through the end of June and Quarter 2.

The July Slump

Quarter 3 starts off slowly, and then good things start happening and continue happening through the end of the year, when the glorious quarter 4 budgets roll in and we see the highest spending of the year.

The October slump

So what can I do to stem the pain that July and January bring?

Our advice is to stock up on wine at the end of December and June. (Just Kidding. Maybe.) Actually, there are steps that you can take that will help you feel the pain a little less.

Pay attention to your site health! 

Sites who are optimized according to our site health checks see the best earnings in the good months and the bad months.

The goal is to make your advertising inventory as attractive as it can be at all times of the year, not just the good times.

Go through your top 10 most trafficked posts and make sure they meet all of our recommended guidelines. Sometimes it’s as easy as adding a new paragraph of content, or splitting up a larger paragraph into smaller paragraphs that can make the difference.

The goal is to make your advertising inventory as attractive as it can be at all times of the year, not just the good times. 

A man types on a laptop computer.

Dust off that old content! 

Maybe you have a an old post related to weight loss that hasn’t seen much traffic lately. Late December would be a perfect time to update that post (think new year’s resolutions) and push the post into heavy production in your social media channels as soon as January begins.

In June, maybe you have a great 4th of July recipe or party idea. Make sure it’s updated and optimized, and start pushing it hard, right through the 4th.

It’s all about appealing to the limited pool of users that are attractive to the advertisers that are still bidding on your inventory!


Faster pages means a higher fill rate Every. Single. Time. No matter what time of year.

Fill rates will suffer from slow page load times, especially when with the heavy focus on viewability for Mediavine publishers.

Faster pagespeeds means more ads on your pages, and less of a hit on your wallet during the slower months.

Check out our pagespeed resources for some more tips. 

The Mediavine RPM Challenge

Check out our three-part RPM challenge to help you boost your posts for revenue, SEO and user experience. Complete with printable or digital worksheets, our challenge helps you put in the work so you can start making the most of these predicted downtimes for ad revenue. 

The good news is that we are always here to help you with these three items and any other questions as we ride into this slow time, and help is just an email away at

And when you log into your dashboard on July 2nd and see the likely dip that July 1st brought, try to remember the words of Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” and know that Q4 is just around the corner!

8 thoughts on “Ad Revenue By The Seasons”

  1. ESI Money says:

    Seasonality of traffic (and thus ads) often varies by the type of site.

    In personal finance, January/February are a couple of the best months since people are making New Years resolutions and getting control of their money is often towards the top of the list.

    The entire summer is bad for money, but the fall is actually decent (but not “great”.)

    In the end, if you know the cycles you can plan for them to minimize the pain and capitalize on the opportunities.

  2. Ha, I came to leave my 2 cent on the personal finance niche too. April slumps are non-existent for money bloggers because of tax season. But I was told summers are all around bad bad bad by older and wiser bloggers (like ESI above) so everyone can give themselves an excuse when the numbers drop off for no reason 🙂

    1. Jenny Guy says:

      We’re always in the mood for 2 cents from a personal finance publisher!
      All of us around here are beyond ready for an awesome Q4.
      Thanks for reading.
      ~Jenny, Mediavine Marketing Associate

  3. What an awesome article. Gives us lot’s of peace of mind when it comes to slumps in our RPM. Thanks!

    1. Jenny Guy says:

      Absolutely! Ad revenue is seasonal and cyclical. Use the slump times to optimize upcoming top content so you can maximize when the advertisers are buying big.
      Thanks for reading,
      Jenny, Mediavine Marketing Associate

  4. Louise Myers says:

    I appreciate the article, but also the first 2 comments! I was sent here to read this as “trends that apply to all niches” when I inquired about B2B niche. What’s referred to as the highest income of the year is always my lowest traffic. I’ll just keep optimizing and see what happens!

  5. I love the fact that you share this information with all of us! Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  6. Great article – thank you.

    I am interested to see what happens on my gardening site, as I get almost twice the readership in spring compared to winter. I wouldn’t be surprised if despite the seasonal slumps my revenue goes up. This is the first year so it will be a learning experience.

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