2020: A CafeMedia Year in Review

What. A. Year. How many times have you stopped and thought that to yourself?  Too many to count? You’re not alone.  We’ve all come out the other side of 2020 a little bit (or a lot bit!) different than we...

By Marie King

What. A. Year. How many times have you stopped and thought that to yourself? 

Too many to count? You’re not alone. 

We’ve all come out the other side of 2020 a little bit (or a lot bit!) different than we went into it. 

There were struggles and difficulties but also a lot of hope and growth. 

Today, we want to highlight how much our CafeMedia community helped the world get through 2020 with skill and agility.

More people than ever turned to CafeMedia publishers in 2020

In 2020, more than 167 million monthly unique visitors enjoyed CafeMedia publishers’ content — a whopping 3 in 5 people on the internet. That makes our community’s readership the equivalent of the 9th largest country in the world! 

CafeMedia publishers acquired over 23 million new readers in 2020. To put that in perspective, that’s enough people to qualify as the 4th largest city in the world!

Not only did a lot of people visit CafeMedia publishers’ sites, but they also found the content incredibly valuable. 

In 2020, people spent 50% more time on CafeMedia publishers’ content than in 2019 — the equivalent of over 876 MILLION collective hours on CafeMedia’s network sites! 

CafeMedia publishers were a lifeline for many in 2020

During one of the toughest years, CafeMedia publishers provided inspiration, motivation, and support for their readers as they processed their phases of grief, anxiety, adaptation, and optimism. 

CafeMedia publishers provided support through pandemic fears, lockdowns, and shortages 

Given 2020’s shortages and supply chain issues, people needed to take things into their own hands and sought out DIY solutions on CafeMedia publishers’ sites. 

CafeMedia publishers provided more than 22,000 new DIY and how-to articles in 2020, with germ-proofing solutions rising to the top of the charts. CafeMediars added almost 1,500 new articles for DIY face masks and homemade sanitizer recipes which around 17.5 million people referenced as they struggled to access these essential items in-store. 

People were craving comfort and finding it in the kitchen, especially with baked goods! CafeMedia sites  saw a 282% increase in interest for cookies, cakes, brownies, cupcakes, and other sweet treat recipes. 

And there was a 244% increase in interest in bread recipes, with many people learning how to make their own sourdough or yeastless bread when they couldn’t get yeast in stores. 

With many schools transitioning to remote learning, parents and teachers alike desperately needed at-home education tips and resources! 

In 2020, education resources saw a 2.2x increase in pageviews. And with many parents taking on new teaching responsibilities, they turned to CafeMedia publishers for guidance. In 2020, 85% of parents in the U.S. read CafeMedia publishers’ content: 9 in 10 moms and 3 in 5 dads! 

Searches for home office ideas went up as many people transitioned to working from home. Interest in home office content basically doubled in 2020! CafeMedia publishers helped their readers by creating 60% more new content for home office resources, tips, and ideas.

Employees, teachers, and students working from home needed solutions like video conferencing and messaging and CafeMedia publishers helped provide twice as much content in 2020 for online tech solutions — with a 10x increase in pageviews!

CafeMedia publishers helped us find ways to adapt to “the new normal”

So many aspects of our lives moved to different locations in 2020. 

As readers spent more and more time in the home in the spring of 2020, they found the motivation to tackle home improvement projects they had been putting off. Compared to 2019, home and decor content saw a 33% increase in pageviews! 

The summer was all about spending time outside. Seeking to escape the same four walls, readers threw themselves into outdoor spaces. Pageviews to gardening content more than doubled, with interest in outdoor decor and improvement projects increasing by 3.7x. 

Due to travel limitations and restrictions, many people opted for short trips, local getaways, and outdoor recreation, with camping and RV trip content seeing 3x the typical interest!

Later in the year when the initial demand for comfort died down and people adapted to their new at-home lifestyles, readers became more invested in taking control of their health. 2020 saw a 43% increase in interest in health, fitness, and clean eating content (which is a trend we expect to see continue into 2021!).

CafeMedia publishers made 2020’s holidays extra special

If there was one major, overarching trend we saw in 2020 it was that when times get tough, people look to counterbalance hardships by pulling together and finding reasons to celebrate.

Our data team’s Holiday Study showed that people were extra excited for the 2020 holidays, getting into the festive mood even earlier than normal and going all out

Compared to 2019, we saw increases in interest across content for all major holidays:

CafeMedia publishers provided creative solutions for social distancing (like trick-or-treating hacks), ideas for turning traditional events into virtual celebrations (like Zoom parties), and lots of special recipes and decor adapted to the year’s specific needs.

And CafeMedia publishers tackled the truly important topics of 2020

1. Racial and social justice 

CafeMedia publishers brought attention to systemic and pervasive racism, and provided ways for readers to take action. 

In 2020 the CafeMedia community of publishers, their readers, and CafeMedia team members raised $74,806 for charities fighting for racial justice, opportunity, and reconciliation, and our Community Matching Fund brought the combined total to $174,806! 

There’s still so much work to be done — and we’re excited to continue to show up and work on this together in 2021.

2. Election season

CafeMedia publishers created over 3,000 articles to help people get out and vote, sharing ways to register, early voting tips, and leading by example by exercising your civic rights. 

3. Providing support for natural disasters

From sharing ways to support the Australian bushfire relief efforts to sharing ways to provide aid to those who were experiencing and/or dealing with the aftermath of an unprecedented U.S. hurricane and wildfire season, CafeMedia publishers helped us all be there for each other through a very challenging year. 

2020: a year of growth and agility for CafeMedia publishers

Let’s keep the momentum going!

We welcomed hundreds of high-traffic publishers into the CafeMedia family in 2020, with an average RPM lift of 99% within the first two weeks for those joining from other major ad providers. 

We all had some quick pivoting in March 2020

We had big dreams for multiple in-person get-togethers in 2020 across the US but quickly had to pivot our focus to supporting publishers in other ways. 

We kicked off our digital media industry trends blog post series to keep our network informed as things quickly changed from week-to-week and adapt to the whiplash of 2020 trends.  

Despite 2020’s challenges, we were committed to bringing CafeMedia publishers the highest ad revenue

With all the unknowns of 2020, especially among advertisers, our CafeMedia revenue and sales teams worked overtime to keep revenue flowing for our publishers! 27% of our advertisers in 2020 were brand new partnerships, and 56% of active deals were new to 2020. We brought on 15 new programmatic bidder partners in 2020, made hundreds of improvements to our ad code, and saw a 73% increase in ad impressions served, which means more money in CafeMedia publishers pockets.

And to continue to provide the industry-leading customer service you know us for, 42 more incredible team members joined CafeMedia in 2020! 

We also kept our eyes on the horizon…

While 2020 was tricky, we knew the real challenge was still coming with the imminent Google Chrome sunsetting of third-party cookies up ahead. We’ve been preparing for the future from all angles to make sure CafeMedia publishers are well-positioned to weather any storm. 

2020 taught us all a lot, but one of the most important things is that our community can pull together to tackle huge challenges and come out the other side stronger!

From the entire CafeMedia team to all of you, we wish you the happiest of new years. 

Thank you for making 2020 a year to remember, and here’s to 2021!