Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

It’s About Time Party Recap

December 17th, 2014 by Juliana

Chartbeat loves any excuse to party, and last Thursday, December 11th was no different: We got together with the Financial Times to co-host a party feting time and attention in digital advertising. There’s been a lot of discussions in the digital media landscape this year around moving past the click, valuing attention and using time as a currency, so we figured why not get some of the boldest minds in advertising together to share their ideas?

And so we did, with flash talks from these bright folks:

  • Nancy Brennan, Global Head of Marketing, Banking and Markets, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Coleen Cahill, Executive Director of Communications, Brand Union
  • Brendan Spain, US Commercial Director, Financial Times
  • Tony Haile, CEO and Fearless Leader, Chartbeat
  • IMG_2667

    Nancy spoke about the need for brands to breakthrough to their users and capture their attention, whereas Coleen discussed the ongoing importance of narratives and storytelling as brands try to connect with their users. Things got more tactical with Brendan sharing his experiences thus far piloting time-based campaigns with clients for the Financial Times, and Tony wrapped things up with some of his predictions for 2015.

    It was a blast getting top publishers, agencies, and brands in the same room to talk about these hot topics – it probably helped that guests were fueled by an open bar featuring the Attention Grabber, the night’s signature cocktail.

    That’s all I’ve got to report but we’re planning our next event for early 2015. If you’ve got a hot topic or brilliant minds you want to hear about/from, let me know.

    Metrics 101: Average Active Exposure Time

    November 11th, 2014 by Alexandra

    As part of our larger efforts to help build an Attention Economy—in which success is measured not by clicks and page views but by time and audience attention earned—we’ve publicly released our Description of Methodology, which outlines the measurement process on which Chartbeat’s MRC accreditation is based.

    Given that the Description of Methodology document is a bit well, hefty, we figured we’d briefly explain a couple of our signature metrics here on the blog.

    What is Active Exposure Time?

    Active Exposure Time measures the amount of time users spend engaging on a page while an ad is in view. How do we know if a user is engaging, you ask? Chartbeat’s JavaScript is constantly listening for acts of engagement on the in-focus webpage within an active browser that indicate when a user is actively engaged on the page.

    So, when Chartbeat measures Active Exposure Time, we’re asking the following questions:

  • Is the audience engaged? (i.e. have they exhibited some kind of engagement behavior like clicking, scrolling or typing in the past 5 seconds)
  • Is the audience engaged in an active browser in an active window?
  • Is the advertisement viewable per MRC guidelines (at least 50% of the unit is in view for at least 1 second?)

  • Time Metrics


    The average number of seconds for which an ad unit is viewable while a user is actively engaged with the content on the page. This only applies to impressions deemed viewable. In other words, Average Active Exposure Time shows advertisers the average amount of time each viewable ad is exposed to an engaged audience.

    Chartbeat Methodology

    We calculate Average Active Exposure Time as the following: total exposed time for all viewable impressions / all viewable impressions

    Chartbeat only sums and reports Active Exposure Time if audience engagement criteria and MRC viewability criteria are met.

    What’s the Industry Saying About Time Metrics?

    “Once we have the opportunity to see (viewability) nailed as a first step cross-platform currency, the sequential next step currency is engagement. Short of scalable, affordable neuro measures (of emotional response), time is the best surrogate to measure engagement.”

    -Mike Donahue, EVP, 4A’s

    “Time metrics are a way to justify moving from standard transaction based units to high-impact units and something other than click-through rate to measure the success.”

    -Steve Ahlberg, VP, Advertising Solutions & Product Management, Gannett

    “The digital publishing media metric of the future will include some form of attention-based metrics. Valuing content based on the amount of time consumers spend with it provides a meaningful, cross-platform measurement for brand marketers and publishers rather than counting links and clicks. This has the potential to solve a host of industry problems.”

    -Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next

    “That means we can tell the difference between a second where someone is actively engaged with an ad in view and a second where someone has an ad in view but has been distracted by a friend asking them if they want coffee. It brings an unprecedented level of accuracy to the measurement of attention.”

    -Jon Slade, Commercial Director of Digital Advertising, Financial Times

    Chartbeat has become the first analytics company accredited to measure attention metrics for both display advertising and content. The Media Rating Council has accredited 21 metrics featured in Chartbeat’s advertising platform including viewability and active exposure time.

    Economics of Ad Refreshing

    November 5th, 2014 by Justin

    Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the fall 2014 issue of the Chartbeat Quarterly, our once-a-season data science magazine.

    When a television program goes to commercial break, we see a series of 30-second spots, rather than one continuous advert. That three minutes of commercial time generates more collective value to advertisers when it’s split up than if it were given to a single advertiser. So what happens if we apply the same principle to ads on the Internet?

    Our research suggests that the longer an ad is in view, the greater the likelihood that a person will recall the brand behind the advertisement. However, according to multiple studies, after a short period of time, the effect of time on brand recall is greatly diminished (Figure 1).


    This means that ads with higher active exposure time have higher value to advertisers, but only to a point. So why not exploit this fact by “refreshing” an ad after a fixed amount of time?

    Ad refreshing is not a new idea, but it is unpopular because ads refreshed traditionally—after a certain amount of wall clock time has passed—are unlikely to be seen. A series of non-viewable ads have no value to advertisers. On the other hand, if we refresh ads once they’ve been in view for a set amount of time, we can ensure that an ad was seen for a fair amount of time before changing it over to a new one and that the new ad will be viewed.

    This is an exciting idea because refreshing ads generates a large number of new viewable impressions. Traditionally, if a user is reading a page for two minutes with an ad in view, this person will only be exposed to one ad in a given position. If we refresh each ad after it’s viewed for 30 seconds, however, each single impression becomes four, generating three additional impressions, each of which is viewed. Table 1 shows the impact of different ad refresh times on viewable impressions and average exposure times across the Chartbeat network.


    From Table 1, we see that the number of viewable impressions on a typical site can be increased by as much as 93% if a 10-second ad refresh is used. This has the effect of almost doubling the inventory of viewable impressions on a site. On the other hand, we also see that this reduces the time that people spend with individual ads on average, because we are limiting the amount of time people can spend with an individual ad. This means that each refreshed impression has slightly less value to an advertiser than before. Because of this, we can probably expect that advertisers would require a discount to compensate for the loss of time.

    So, is ad refreshing worth it? Does the value of an increased inventory of viewable impression offset the loss in value to each refreshed impression? To answer this question, we will investigate the economic ramifications of ad refreshing.

    Our goal is to compare the value of the ad inventory on a typical site with and without ad refreshing.

    According to research at Yahoo, the closer an ad is to the start of a session, the more likely a user is to recall the brand represented in that ad. This means that when refreshing ads, the ads shown first have more value than the ads shown later. In fact, the researchers suggest that showing more than two ads in a single session is unlikely to be effective. Therefore, for our comparison we will only analyze single ad refreshes within an ad unit and we will make the following assumptions:

    1. Value of ad exposures to an advertiser can be quantified by recognition and recall.
    2. This value to advertisers correlates directly to revenue for the publisher.
    3. The value of first and second ad impressions are represented in Figure 2 relating exposure time to recall and recognition.


    We use these assumptions to calculate a baseline value of the ad inventory for a typical site without ad refreshing and compare this to the value of the ad inventory using different ad refresh times.

    As we can see in Table 2, ad refreshing does result in an increase in ad revenue. This means that the increase in viewable impression inventory outweighs the loss in value to refreshed impressions thanks to the diminishing returns in recall shown in Figure 2.


    Researchers agree that refreshing ads this way should increase a site’s revenue, and I think this calculation bares this out. For example, with a 10-second ad refresh the typical site gains 93% extra inventory of viewable impressions, and a 12% increase in revenue. Even with our relatively conservative calculation that only allowed for a single ad refresh, we see a healthy increase in revenue. For this reason, it seems likely that ad refreshing will be a significant source of new revenue for online publishers.



    Metrics 101: Viewability

    October 24th, 2014 by Alexandra

    As part of our larger efforts to help build an Attention Economy—in which success is measured not by clicks and pageviews but by time and audience attention earned—we’ve publicly released our Description of Methodology, which outlines the measurement process on which Chartbeat’s MRC accreditation is based.

    Given that this document is a bit well, hefty, we figured we’d briefly explain a couple of our signature metrics here on the blog.

    What is viewability?

    A viewable impression is a metric of online advertising that indicates if a display ad is actually viewable when it’s served. More specifically, the IAB and MRC define a viewable impression as one that’s at least 50% visible for at least one second. To keep it simple, viewability is a metric that tracks if at least half of a display ad has the chance to be seen in the viewable portion of a browser window for at least one continuous second. Technically speaking, one second is measured as 10 consecutive 100 millisecond observations.

    For the full scoop on viewability check out our 101 series:

  • What is Viewability?
  • What Does Viewability Mean for Publishers?
  • What Does Viewability Mean for Advertisers?

  • Viewability Metrics

    Chartbeat is accredited for the following viewability metrics:


    A count of the number of impressions that were deemed “viewable” under the MRC’s Viewable Impression Measurement Guidelines.

    Chartbeat Methodology: Every 100 milliseconds on in focus pages Chartbeat checks every ad tagged with Chartbeat’s “data-cb-ad-id” attribute to see if over 50% of the ad has entered the viewport (the viewable portion of your browser window). When the ad enters the viewport Chartbeat checks every 100 ms to ensure that it has remained on the screen and the window has stayed in focus. After ten consecutive successful checks (one continuous second), Chartbeat designates the impression as viewable.


    The number of impressions that are considered non-viewable, standard, or premium


    These represent served impressions where the viewable status is not met, but they can be “seen” by the viewable decisioning function.


    This is calculated as a percentage and represents (Viewable Impressions + Non-Viewable Impressions)/Total Served Impressions.


    This is calculated as a percentage and represents Viewable Impressions / (Viewable Impressions + Non-Viewable Impressions).

    Note: We are accredited for a few additional viewability metrics required by MRC’s Viewability Guidelines.

    What's the industry saying about viewability?

    Well, they are saying a lot. While opinions certainly vary, it seems the common consensus is that the new viewability standard is, at the very least, a step in the right direction:

    “I don’t believe that viewability is a performance metric at all, but is rather just a huge step up from the old ‘served’ impression metric that we have used for years. However, a focus on increasing viewability will result in greater performance on the major engagement metrics like Universal Interaction Rate and Click Through that marketers value highly. It is this increased performance that will eventually lead to higher CPMs.”

    - Jeff Burkett, Sr. Director Ad Innovation & Product Strategy at The Washington Post

    “The current viewability standard, while clearly nascent, serves an important purpose. It introduces a baseline criterion for and measure of accountability. At the end of the day, it is a means to a larger end: increased brand spend that better aligns with time spent online.”

    - Neeraj Kochar, Tremor Video

    “Viewability is a positive development. The industry is at a major crossroads as we’re dealing with a growing amount of traffic being non-human, which has created a polluted ecosystem. The viewable impression is one step in the process to help solve this problem. It’s becoming the anchor that will allow for engagement and exposure metrics to be used to evaluate campaigns and prove for brands the value of the impressions being served.”

    - Mark Howard, Chief Revenue Officer at Forbes

    “Unfortunately, it's going to take a while before viewability becomes a valid currency and is established as a key metrics in determining impression value. However, I do think that there is an opportunity for publishers to take advantage of this debate to maintain and increase premium rates as more media becomes traded programmatically.”

    - Peter Jones, The Guardian

    “Until now the ad impression was, essentially, a mechanical event — the creative file being loaded on the Web page. The viewability standard transforms an impression into an opportunity to see event: something of inherent value to a brand, just as in traditional media”

    - Yaakov Kimelfeld, chief research officer at Millward Brown Digital

    Chartbeat has become the first analytics company accredited to measure attention metrics for both display advertising and content. The Media Rating Council has accredited 21 of the metrics featured in Chartbeat’s advertising platform including viewability and active exposure time.

    80% of Publishers Interested in Transacting on Time: Digital Content Next Report

    October 22nd, 2014 by Alexandra

    Earlier today Digital Content Next, an organization representing over 50 premium publishers, released a study and special report outlining how digital publishers currently view and use time-based metrics and what their expectations are for the future.

    In the report DCN suggests that shifting to a measurement framework that incorporates time-based metrics would “align valuation of content and advertising with time and attention...and offers solutions to significant industry challenges.” Namely, time-based metrics take viewability a step further and create an inventory constraint and, as a result, an economy of scarcity in which attention is a true measure of quality content and effective advertising.

    The report, which consisted of in-depth qualitative interviews with nine leading publishers, including CNBC, ESPN, Gannett and Wall Street Journal, as well as a quantitative survey with 25 DCN member publishers, covers current usage of time-based metrics, both internally and as a sales tool, as well as attitudes on the future of time as a currency. Here are some of the key takeaways:

    1. Time metrics are commonly used to evaluate performance.

    90% of DCN members surveyed use time metrics to internally evaluate performance of their sites and content among editorial and/or ad operations teams.

    Publisher use of time-based metrics Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 2.29.14 PM

    2. Publishers are sharing time metrics with advertisers.

    85% of publishers using time-based metrics share these metrics with advertisers as proof of things such as audience engagement/attention, quality of content and audience loyalty.

    3. There is a real interest among premium publishers to transact on time.

    80% are already testing or express an interest in transacting on time.

    Publisher interest in transacting based on timeInterest in transacting on time

    4. Publishers believe there is potential for time to serve as currency.

    52% agree or strongly agree that transacting on time is the next evolutionary step of viewability implementation.

    Attitudes on the future of time as currency Attitudes on time as currency

    While a significant number of publishers are already using time metrics to gain insights about consumption patterns, adjust editorial cycles, and more accurately forecast ad inventory, many still see several hurdles to using time as currency. Among these, lack of standard metrics and measurement methodology, lack of research showing that time in view is correlated to ad effectiveness, lack of marketer and ad agency education and interest, and scope constraints were among the most common obstacles cited. Bottom line, time-based metrics are a big step in the right direction, but the road to a more sustainable media ecosystem will not be without challenges.

    So what’s next? As the buy side continues to grapple with the concept of viewability, publishers can continue pushing to integrate time measurement into their metrics suite. By better understanding their audiences and bringing the time dimension to ad unit measurement, publishers will be well positioned to prove the value of audience time spent with their content and introduce the time topic into conversations with the buy side.

    Read the full DCN report How Time-Based Measurement is Grabbing Digital Publishers’ Attention.