In September we wrote about a London-based online paper that was going to test selling ads based on time instead of impressions; and now, a recent survey found that 80% of big name publishers are also interested in pricing and selling their ads on time-based metrics.
The survey was conducted by Digital Content Next, formerly the Online Publishers Association, on 25 of its members including Conde Nast, ESPN, Forbes, Gannett, CNBC Digital, Inc., Univision, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Of that group, only 20% said that they were not interested in changing the standard way of pricing ads by impressions. In fact, 60% said they are considering time-based transactions, 4% are already testing it, 8% will begin to test it this year and another 8% said they plan to test it next year.
Right now, slightly over half of publishers believe time-based metrics could eventually replace impressions as the currency standard for digital advertisements. Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint said that the future of digital publishing “will include some form of attention-based metrics.” So what is the strongest argument against it? “Lack of standard metrics and measurement methodology” was the most common reason cited (68%), followed by “lack of research showing that time in view is correlated to ad effectiveness” (48%) and “lack of marketer and ad agency education and interest” (40%).
Being that this is a brand new concept, sure, the research to back it isn’t quite in place. However, I think it’s safe to say that with all the interest around it studies will begin soon to measure the overall effectiveness of this new way to price digital ads. This is a long awaited change to the traditional price per impression model, that many advertisers have been waiting for. As AdAge explains:
Most advertising is bought and sold according to the number of people who are exposed to the ad, referred to as impressions. But digital publishers are seeing declining rates for their ads as an ocean of competition undermines prices. Readers’ shift to mobile has only accelerated the decline. Publishers hope that time-based metrics — which measures the amount of time people spend on a page where an ad is viewable — will allow them to charge more for their ads. The idea is partly that the supply of readers’ time is more limited than the supply of web pages that might attract a visit, however fleeting.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) issued a viewability standard for digital ads already this year, which states that an ad is considered “viewable” when at least 50% of it shows up in the viewable portion of a browser for at least one second. My personal opinion is that an ad shouldn’t be considered viewable until it is 100% visible, but I don’t make the rules. If there is a CTA at the bottom of the ad, which isn’t yet visible because it’s loading from top to bottom and you are not yet able to take action, I don’t think the ad should be considered viewable yet. I’m interested to see what kind of rates publishers will begin to charge for these ads. I’m sure we’ll begin to hear much more about this new pricing model in the near future.