Wednesday, January 28, 2015

May I Have Your Attention

Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter and the blogging platform Medium, was the most recent to come out in favor of time spent (versus impressions) as the preferred way to sell media.

The Financial Times has taken the leadership position in this, charging advertisers on a cost-per-hour basis.  Medium’s primary way of selling space is through something called TTR, or Total Time Reading.

Eve Williams logic is simple as well as it is profound.  Why time spent?  Because it’s a measurement of attention.  And attention is a finite resource.  The amount of content available today is infinite.  The amount of attention one can give to that content is not.

Brands are starting to notice and participate.  Microsoft and BP are just two of the brands that are purchasing media on a cost-per-hour basis from the Financial Times.

That time spent can now be measured is no longer a debatable point.  In this writer’s opinion, it is just a matter of time (no pun intended), until time spent replaces impressions as the primary metric on which media is bought and sold.

It is also this writer’s opinion that it is just a matter of time before time spent is how creative will also be bought and sold.

Why's that?  

Because once advertisers know that the majority of the viewing public only watched 10% of their commercial, they will be hard pressed to want to pay full fare for the other 90%.

There are those who say that whether people watch or not is based on how well the media is purchased.  Was the ad placed in front of the right demographic, that sort of thing.

And while this is true for intrusive advertising, it is not true for opt-in advertising.  Once a viewer clicks play on a video commercial, how long they watch the commercial for is no longer a measure of media.  

It is a measure of creative.

Media is about everything that happens outside of the commercial.  Creative is about everything that happens inside of the commercial.  Both what happens outside and inside of a commercial are now measurable.

The smart publishers are finding new ways to monetize the new metrics that are now available regarding what happens outside of the commercial.

Smart advertisers should be doing the same with what happens inside.

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