But if ad agencies are receptive to the idea in theory, they’re not necessarily diving in.
“We’re not buying that way,” said Media Kitchen president Barry Lowenthal. “We’re buying clicks, impressions, audience. That’s the criteria we’re looking at when we’re evaluating performance.”
Same goes for Steve Carbone, chief digital and analytics officer for Mediacom North America, whose parent GroupM has pushed for tough viewability standards. “I haven’t bought anything on a cost per hour,” he said. “GroupM doesn’t care about time on an ad; GroupM cares about whether an ad’s 100 percent in view.”
The Financial Times has been at the forefront of the attention-metrics push. After testing the concept with some big brands last year, the FT in May introduced the ability to buy ads on a cost-per-hour basis. Upworthy and Medium have been proponents of the concept, and The Wall Street Journal, Economist and Bloomberg have also experimented with selling ads based on attention metrics.
Brendan Spain, the FT’s US commercial director and global client relationship director, said the publication has run a dozen campaigns from top clients since the start of the year and that demand “remains strong.”
“The metric complements our advertising offering for campaigns where the desired outcomes are brand familiarity and recall,” he said.
But a paucity of publishers selling this way and no industry standard for time spent is reason enough for other agencies to hold back.
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