During today's surge in the Etherworld, BAT managed to touch barely $0.20, or roughly 50% of its September all-year high. Ethereum in the other hand, is at roughly $440, only 10% of its September all-year high. There is a reason for that, and it's not the reason you think of.
BAT address growth has stagnated
Despite the millions of BRAVE browser users, there are only 366,770 BAT addresses at the time of writing, including addresses on exchanges and DeFi platforms. That's only 2,500 new BAT addresses from 10 days ago, or half the growth rate BAT had back in August (source: https://batgrowth.com). If Brave browser has the millions of users its creators claim to have and the close to one million creator accounts, they have clearly failed to convert browser users and creators to token holders. With no apparent demand, the price will never take off.
Rewards model is not working
For any asset unit price to take off, demand needs to be higher than supply. The current model of rewarding publishers and viewers with advertisers' money, can't work, when the only buyer with loads of demand is Brave team itself. Add to that the high fees posed by exchanges - primarily Uphold - to keep BAT market supply artificially low, and you have a recipe for distrust.
What's worse for BAT price, is that all those 954,732 creators are not allowed to offer incentives or advertise on the browser, using their earnings - or even better buying some BATs in the open market. Add to that the fact that advertisers are billed and have their campaigns paid in US dollars (paying in BAT is optional), and you get all the reasons BAT trading volume is so low.
$20 CPM or $0.20 CPC is hugely expensive
In case you didn't know, each notification costs to advertisers $0.02, regardless of geo-targeting (source: https://brave.com/brave-ads/assets/Brave_Buyers_Guide.pdf). $0.20 if the user clicks on the pop-up notification. Any advertiser may be advertised on Facebook with half of that CPM, with full age, location, gender, interest, or even income targeting. Sometimes even lower than that. Why on earth would you advertise your product on Brave - even if it is crypto-related - when you can reach double the number of people for the same ad budget elsewhere? Advertisers and businesses are spending their money to get ads that work, not for charity.
Brave ad market is non-existent
The only way for a business to advertise on Brave, is by filling-in a form and have an ad rep calling them to discuss advertising options. Let's put aside the fact that to get advertised on Brave, you need to have a minimum of $2,000 budget allocated. Every other advertising network, including Bing, has self-service ad campaign facilities for advertisers. Not Brave. Brave team prefers the old-fashioned way. The way newspapers and magazines used to sell ads during the 60s and 70s. If you were surprised to see only a handful of advertisers (always the same) popping-up on your browser, now you know why.
9% CTR? Yeah, right!
When optimally targeted ads anywhere in the word get some 4-5% CTR, 9% CTR on just geo-targeted ads, rings lots of bells to advertisers. It's not that Brave users are not clicking/tapping on the ad notifications. They do. But they do it either by mistake or to support Brave, not the advertiser, or because they had any intention to learn more for the product advertised. This kind of behavior, could be bringing real CPC rate to $2-10, depending on the product advertised, and cost per sale over $20, even at the best conversion rate.. This is simply non-viable for most advertisers.
Brave is a bad ad product. Very few advertisers would pay to advertise on Brave at those rates, and under this model, driving BAT demand lower and lower. In the other hand, both Brave users and publishers are not seeing the rewards they were promised by the Brave team. Even with artificially limited BAT supply to the open market, the demand is not there to have the BAT price taking-off. Until the Brave team decides to open BAT to outside use, the price will stay laid down to $0.15-0.30