Commentary

How About A Shift To A Viewable Time-Spent Metric?

RTBlog spoke with Charlie Fiordalis, chief digital officer of media agency Media Storm, about such issues as viewability, ad blocking and data integration.

Fiordalis said digital media will begin moving toward a viewable time spent currency so that all publishers can be compared and optimized on an even playing field. "Optimization starts with apples-to-apples comparisons. Comparing a three second view in Facebook to Snapchat, the initial load, to YouTube--15- or 30-second videos--is inherently problematic. Publishers define views differently, but media planners need to evaluate them side-by-side. Digital will move toward a simplified Viewable CPM currency (i.e. cost for each second of viewable exposure) so we can make a direct second-by-second comparisons between publishers for effective optimization."

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On ad blocking: "The ad blocking wars will continue but the ultimate solution is for advertising to be less annoying and more useful. Publishers will fight back against ad blocking by preventing access to content on their sites for any person who has turned on an ad blocker." Fiordalis said that Facebook will lead the battle against ad blocking companies by escalating coding countermeasures. While he thinks both tactics will be effective, the real solution, ultimately, "is to reduce the number of online ads, increase their quality and effectiveness, and stop annoying people" with irrelevant, un-targeted messages.

Notably, he said that vertical integration will create rivals to Facebook and Google. This is hard to imagine. "At their core, Google and Facebook are vertically integrated systems combining data, media and creative. Millions of people are logged into Facebook and Google on multiple devices, visit their properties multiple times per day and are reached by tailored creative based on behaviors." He said that he expects to see more vertical integration combining data, media, and creative that will help create viable competitors to Google and Facebook. One example, he said, is Adobe’s acquisition of TubeMogul in late 2016, which points to a consolidation trend in 2017.

2 comments about "How About A Shift To A Viewable Time-Spent Metric? ".
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  1. Ned Newhouse from Conde Nast , January 9, 2017 at 11:18 a.m.

    We cannot talk of anything until clients spend the money and invest in ads that people want to look at. MRC rules of viewabilty forced people to look at crappy ads that anger people, so more and more will turn to ad blocking.  You want to measure the 40% of the people that are left that didnt install one? Clients and Agencies (yeah you) need to stop blaming everyone else for your problem and fix the issue that is ground zero for lousy results that effect everything that comes after that.  

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 9, 2017 at 3:45 p.m.

    Tobi, the time spent metric does have some appeal for digital media, however, we are left with the issue of how to standardize it, assuming this is even possible. For example, if an advertiser is using 15-second video ads, I certainly wouldn't pay for any user whose screen showed any portion of the ad for less than 15 seconds. And, ideally, I would want the ad to be visible from start to finish, not truncated in some disjointed fashion. As for what to pay for a user whose screen featured my client's 15-second ad for 20 or 25 or 34 seconds, that, too, poses problems. Does the advertiser pay twice as much per user if the user's screen displays the ad for 30 seconds rather than 15 seconds? I think not. The only way we are going to ret up fair and realistic rules for judging the "value" of time-on-screen is by correlating that metric with other data, including ad awareness and selling power indicators, with different rules developed for varying ad and placement types. I doubt that a single, time-based formula will be acceptable, once we study the ramifications for various kinds of ad campaigns.

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