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Digital media industry trends, 8/28/20

We're on the edge of September and looking forward to a positive end to a difficult year. Halloween is starting to trend, especially with unique ideas for how to celebrate during the pandemic. Also this week, we're looking at Google's...

By Paul Bannister

We’re on the edge of September and looking forward to a positive end to a difficult year. Halloween is starting to trend, especially with unique ideas for how to celebrate during the pandemic.

Also this week, we’re looking at Google’s “heavy ads” blocker release and how CafeMedia publishers are protected against resource-heavy ads. 

Ad revenue is picking up

As we wrote a few weeks ago, August ad revenue tends to pick up the pace from July, and this year has been no different. Comparing August 2020 to August 2019, we saw similar patterns through the month in terms of how ad spend increased on a day-by-day basis.

While this year still has weaknesses driven by economic and pandemic issues, the trends continue to be encouraging and we’re optimistic for the rest of the year — assuming no big changes in the economy.

Google’s “heavy ads” blocker + CafeMedia publishers

In May the Google Chrome team announced an upcoming feature that would block “heavy ads”. They analyzed a tremendous amount of data and found that about .3% of all internet ads consumed over 20% of users’ CPU and network resources for all ads. Making the web a better experience for all users is a huge priority for the Chrome team, so this feature fits in well with that framework.

While there’s still no official confirmation from the Chrome team, some publishers are reporting that the new feature is rolling out now. We haven’t seen any occurrences of this happening yet, but we’re closely monitoring the situation.

Fortunately, CafeMedia publishers are already equipped with protection against resource-heavy ads, as we already block all heavy ads via our partnership with Confiant. Chrome’s heavy ad blocker restricts ads that use above 4MB of network requests — we block ads at 1.6MB. Our aggressive position ensures that readers of CafeMedia sites get the best experience and our publishers get the highest revenue. 

Trending topic: Halloween 2020 

Halloween is just around the corner and people are starting their countdowns. If the prior holidays this year have been any indication, people may throw themselves into the celebrations more than ever — even if it’s from the safety of their own homes. 

In fact, Halloween candy has been arriving on shelves earlier than ever

Key timing considerations

Search activity for Halloween content typically kicks off the first week in September, but we’re already seeing greater search interest in Halloween ideas and decorations (like Halloween trees) in the past 30 days compared to this time last year. Understandably, this year is showing slightly less search interest for Halloween parties.

Will in-person trick or treating still be a thing? Or will alternative events take over?

A few stats from one study show that parents are still looking to make this year special for their kids despite the uncertainty:

For some, trick-or-treating is canceled or up-in-the-air and these parents are looking to find creative ways to celebrate the holiday. Trick-or-treating alternatives may be more popular this year. 

22% of parents said they are planning to attend a trunk-or-treat — a gathering where families or neighbors decorate the trunk of their car and hand out candy to the kids. Another new trend is “reverse trick-or-treating”, where kids stand outside their homes in their costumes and neighbors drive by and toss candy to them.

Halloween candy scavenger hunts, bike parades, and drive-thru Halloween experiences (like drive-thru haunted houses or trick-or-treating) may also be fun alternatives for parents and kids if their normal neighborhood traditions get canceled. 

Virtual celebrations could be on the rise as well with virtual costume parades and parties or virtual haunted houses. 

Halloween search trends

Searches for costume ideas are still high this year compared to the same time last year. 48% of parents plan to buy or make a Halloween costume for their kids this year and 33% plan to buy a costume for themselves or other adults in their household (source). 

Recent breakout searches in Google Trends suggest that the current cozy, stay-at-home trend may be getting a festive refresh. Some current top Halloween searches prioritizing comfort: 

  • Halloween crocs
  • Halloween pajamas
  • Halloween pillows