The ad impression was counted. You staying and reading the rest of this post doesn't earn its publisher any more ad revenue.
In fact, it would be better if you left and clicked on something else, so you could generate another impression.
Seriously, what are you still doing here?
Joking aside, if you are actually still reading, the above is the problem we face when we set the lowest possible standards for "impressions" of both display and video. To see the problem from a very thoughtful publisher/platform perspective, read Twitter and Medium founder Evan Williams’ excellent post “A Mile Deep, An Inch Wide” (Hat tip, MediaREDEF).
Services from Twitter to Instagram to BuzzFeed to Medium itself are caught up in a debate over how to measure just how popular they actually are. Many industry pundits have defaulted to the currency of monthly active users (MAUs). Now that Twitter’s publicly traded, the MAU currency has made its way into the jargon of Wall Street analysts, who seem to find it both as tantalizing and perplexing as bitcoin. It’s that MAU currency by which Instagram “beat” Twitter.
But Williams explains his “I don’t give a shit” perspective thoroughly. In one particularly of Medium traffic, he says, “[t]he main driver was a highly viral post that blew up (mostly on Facebook). However, the vast majority of those visitors stayed a fraction of what our average visitor stays, and they read hardly anything.” He further explains: “That’s why, internally, our top-line metric is TTR,’ which stands for total time reading. It’s an imperfect measure of time people spend on story pages. We think this is a better estimate of whether people are actually getting value out of Medium.”
The TL;DR version of Williams’ argument: Medium prioritizes real attention, not just views or “impressions.” His subtler implication is that when clickbaity and traffic are the only charge, it can mask the true value of ideas being exchanged. And this is exactly the same as what we’re experiencing in online advertising.
Think about what we are doing to quality content producers -- both video and print -- if the standard of currency, an "impression", continues to be counted as half the ad viewed for as little as 2 seconds. Then why would publishers ask anything more of their audience? In fact, wouldn't it make sense to try to interrupt their audiences’ experiences as little as possible, and still generate an "impression”?
This is why quality publishers are more and more looking for metrics beyond "impressions" (and, sorry, but I can't help putting "impressions" in quotes every time I write or say it these days, because the definition has never been so bastardized). I have been saying forever that simply rating the impression is what can ultimately save online advertising. And I love Ev’s perspective on metrics that matter for publishers -- AKA real attention. I think we need to take stock of what role a broken advertising system plays in creating perverse motivations for publishers in the first place.