Real-Time With WebSpectator's Parreira On Using Time As A Metric

Nearly one year ago, Real-Time Daily made note of WebSpectator, a real-time ad exchange that uses its own “guaranteed time slot” (GTS) advertising metric to facilitate trading. The company later received Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for its GTS metric.

Essentially, the company measures how long consumers spend looking at ads. Once an ad has done its job, WebSpectator resells the ad space in real-time, even if the consumer is still on the screen. The company only charges for ads that are in-view.

Real-Time Daily caught up with Andre Parreira, the company’s founder and CEO, to see how the unique technology is being used by buyers and sellers today. He noted that publishers are using the GTS metric even for their direct, guaranteed sales.

Real-Time Daily: Can you explain how this can be used for premium direct sales? That seems like an interesting mix of direct and automated sales.

Andre Parreira: It can be used for both, and actually it is, according to the direct/automated sales balance the property has.

On premium direct sales publishers can create top premium products commanding higher prices, because the GTS actually goes above and beyond the viewability standard (50% of the ad for one second), granting 100% viewability for the entire time the audience was engaged with the brand.

For automated or remnant sales, which sometimes get thrown below-the-fold, the GTS turns all placements into premium placements by again guaranteeing the ad was effectively seen for the entire time it was supposed to be. Even on any below-the-fold placement advertisers only pay for verified exposure. With time, publishers strike gold below the fold, because below the fold now has the same yield as above -- what matters is having banners in view.

RTD: Isn’t it a stretch to say you are turning below-the-fold inventory into “premium” placements? Don’t consumers intuitively know -- even subconsciously -- that the ads near the top of the page are more “premium”?

ParreiraNot at all. A premium placement is where the audience is, even if it's below the fold. Traditionally, premium placements were thought to be above-the-fold because we assumed this would be the most seen area. This is actually not true as a lot of people actually skip top-page content to go straight to specific areas where they spent the most time. By controlling the viewport and ad viability, WebSpectator guarantees face time with consumers no matter where they are. That's why all GTS placements are premium.

RTD: You say the ads become more valuable because they are seen “for the entire time [they were] supposed to be." How long is that? In other words, how long does an ad remain on the publisher’s site before that ad slot is put back into the marketplace?

Parreira: Tests we conducted with Nielsen found the sweet spot is 20 seconds for maximum awareness, recall and performance (clicks). Overexposure above 20 seconds did not translate into increased performance.

WebSpectator tracks time down to the millisecond, so any time frame is possible. For brand effectiveness we recommend 5, 10 or 20 seconds slots. After completed exposure, the ad slot is put back into the market.

RTD: Do the advertisers know they are buying an ad that will only be on the screen for 5, 10 or 20 seconds?

Parreira: On a direct sale campaign, advertisers are buying guaranteed exposure on a pay-per-view model. This means they can define their total brand exposure time, to be served in 5, 10 or 20 seconds slots.

On programmatic sales we use the 20 second GTS. Again this is a viewable and seen impression of 20secs. We found the GTS 20 delivers more performance, resulting in click-through rate lifts of up to five times.

RTD: But the advertiser will only be billed if their ad is 100% in-view for the 5, 10, or 20 seconds?

ParreiraYes. It's a true pay-per-view model.

RTD: Are advertisers paying more or less per impression with WebSpectator compared to a “traditional” RTB (real-time bidding)?

Parreira: Advertisers pay more because they get more performance. CPM values are higher due to increased performance (based on click-through rates). Efficiency is higher because there is zero waste.

At the end of the day, more than the relative cost of the CPM, advertisers want verified brand exposure they can relate to their business performance. The GTS grants that verified exposure and engagement, making time a valuable, transparent and fair currency that delivers.

RTD: You’ve told Real-Time Daily before that one of the goals of WebSpectator is to get publishers to rethink how their Web sites are designed in terms of ad placement. Have you seen any publisher clients redo their sites -- or at least part of their sites -- to make better use of time as a metric?

Parreira: Yes. For instance, TMZ (U.S.), iG (Brazil) and Econonico's (Portugal) first aha moment was tapping into new revenue -- monetizing an asset they already own: time. The second aha moment is understanding how time makes sense as a key driver to measure engagement and revenue. This drives rethinking ... their Web sites to achieve better ad performance.

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