How publishers can maximize Q4 highs and embrace Q1 lows

If you’ve been in the monetization game for a while, you know that the journey from Q4 to Q1 is a rollercoaster of emotions… and revenue. As a publisher, awareness of these seasonal patterns is crucial for effective strategy planning and maintaining a positive outlook — every peak and valley in your online journey is a valuable lesson and opportunity for growth! Let’s get you started. 

December 21, 2023

If you’ve been in the monetization game for a while, you know that the journey from Q4 to Q1 is a rollercoaster of emotions… and revenue. As a publisher, awareness of these seasonal patterns is crucial for effective strategy planning and maintaining a positive outlook — every peak and valley in your online journey is a valuable lesson and opportunity for growth! Let’s get you started. 

How to prepare for Q4

Q4, encompassing the holiday season and big gaming releases, is typically a period of high engagement and ad revenue for gaming publishers, with reports showing up to a 50% increase in ad spend compared to other periods. This is when gamers are most active, seeking out reviews, updates, and gaming content, leading to increased traffic and engagement on gaming sites. 

Ensuring your content and ad placements are fully optimized through programmatic AND direct ad campaigns is a key factor in maximizing your Q4 boom. Venatus handles both sides of this for its publisher partners, offering exclusive ad inventory while also working to implement techniques like lazy loading, ad blocker recovery, and more, for optimum viewability — all without compromising user experience.

Another way to maximize Q4 traffic is to play into seasonal trends. Q4 is the busiest time of year for new game releases, announcements, and DLC drops, so make sure you keep the traffic coming with relevant, up-to-date content (GTA VI anyone?).

The Q1 dip: a time for strategy and growth

As the excitement and demand of the holiday season dies down, so too does engagement and traffic, with revenue falling by an average of 5%. With the Q4 rush of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and Boxing Day, it’s no surprise that Q1 means a comparative reduction in advertising spend too. However, this period should not be seen as a setback but as an opportunity.

The slower pace of Q1 is an excellent time for publishers to reassess their strategies and ensure Q2 and beyond perform better than ever. This can involve analyzing the previous year's performance, planning content strategies, or exploring new technologies and partnerships. It's a period to strengthen the foundation and rally the troops, so embrace it and get boosting your team's morale!

Implementing best practices throughout the year

Regardless of the season, there are key practices that publishers can adopt to perform optimally:

  • Diversifying content: Catering to a broad range of gaming interests can help maintain steady traffic, while also meaning you’re ready to pounce on any opportunity when it arises. 
  • Engaging with your users: Building a strong community can ensure more consistent engagement, even during off-peak times.
  • Optimizing your site: As highlighted in our article on viewability, there’s nothing gamers hate more than lag. Ensuring a responsive design through strategies like lazy loading can significantly enhance user experience, SEO, and overall site performance.

How Venatus supports publishers all year round

Seasonal fluctuations in traffic and ad revenue are 100% normal and you aren’t alone on this bumpy ride. Venatus partners with publishers to navigate these periods of high and low revenue effectively, offering insights and strategies tailored to your current situation and ultimately helping you to succeed all year round.

If you're looking to make 2024 your highest-earning year yet, contact Venatus today and let's make it happen.