GDPR at Three Months: An Update on Ad Performance

female fitness blogger filming an exercise video on a yoga mat in her living room

Many of you remember the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes earlier this year. Or perhaps you’ve tried to block them out.

Either way, a little over three months later, the sky has not fallen.

After countless questions, Facebook Live sessions, discussions with lawyers and ad partners, Mediavine presented what we felt was the best plan for our publishers.

gdpr and blogging

By providing the option to use our Content Management Platform (CMP), publishers could confidently comply with the EU regulations while minimizing any decreases in revenue.

We made this CMP optional for publishers, and about two-thirds ended up turning on the CMP in the Mediavine Dashboard, while the remaining third did not.

How did the GDPR changes affect publishers in each of these two groups? Now that the dust has settled, we are able to share results from a few months of data.

Comparing ad performance in the U.S. for non-CMP sites vs. CMP sites, we noticed a 1% difference in CPMs, fill rates and other revenue metrics.

Performance of the two groups is very similar, which makes the GDPR findings even more interesting. Comparing earnings from March-April (Pre GDPR) to June-July (Post GDPR) we found:

  • CPM for sites with Mediavine CMP: +9.3%
  • CPM for sites without a CMP: -44%

Pre vs. post GDPR infographic; on the left, a teal bar labeled "Has CMP (Jun/July)" reading "Post GDPR (Jun/Jul) eCPM Difference: 9.3%, Fill Rate 73.0%, Impressions 502M. On the right, a navy bar labeled "No CMP (Jun/July)", filled with the text "Post GDPR (Jun/Jul), eCPM Difference: -43.5%, Fill Rate 45.7%, Impressions 124M." The teal bar is approximately twice as tall as the navy bar.

The difference was equally striking in terms of impressions filled:

  • Fill rate for sites with Mediavine CMP: +5%
  • Fill rate for sites without a CMP: -34.4%

Pre vs. post GDPR infographic. On the left, a poppy orange bar labeled “UK Has CMP (Jun/July), and filled with the text “Post GDPR (Jun/Jul), eCPM Difference: 13.8%, Fill Rate 78.8%, Impressions: 308M.”. On the right, a navy bar labeled “UK No CMP (Jun/July)”, and filled with the text “Post GDPR (Jun/Jul), eCPM Difference: -29.9%, Fill Rate: 52.6%, Impressions: 63M.” The poppy orange bar is approximately twice as large as the navy bar.

Comparing non-CMP sites with U.S. buyers, we saw an increase in eCPM in June-July of 1% and a decrease in fill rate of 1%.

CMP sites, meanwhile, saw a U.S. eCPM increase of 2% and a fill rate increase of less than 1%.

We are confident that the CMP is a major contributor to higher revenue and CPMs, and strongly recommend turning on this feature to reap the benefits if you haven’t already. Find out how in this help doc and email with any questions.

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