In summer 2013, we introduced our first advertising tool to help premium publishers monetize their audience’s attention. 15 months later, that one tool is now part of an expanded platform that provides media planning, reporting, and strategic services to premium publishers that want to measure and sell attention. Today we’re thrilled to announce that the Media Rating Council (the MRC) has accredited 21 of the metrics featured in our advertising platform. In the post below I explain what this accreditation means for Chartbeat and the larger attention economy.
We got accredited!
One of the stranger things about entering into ad tech for the first time is learning that all the stuff that made you successful elsewhere isn’t enough anymore. You can’t just build cool new technology or awesome interfaces. You can’t just have positive press. You can’t even just have people love what you do and pay to use it. Advertising is big and scary and impossibly competitive and the rules are just different and there are a lot more of them. While it’s been hard to find someone who thought the monetization of attention wasn’t worthwhile it has been even harder to find people who thought it was something they could actually do. No amount of desire alone can change the system - you need to change the structure first. And so that’s what we’ve started to do.
This means we need to do more than just adding a new dashboard link to someone’s bookmarks or some vanity metric to someone’s spreadsheet. It means making a fundamental change to the way success on the internet is evaluated and rewarded, building an internet where our best instincts are also the right ones. And today - after nearly six months of sleepless detail work - I think we’re starting to get there. Because today I get to say that our metrics have been accredited by the Media Rating Council.
So...what's the MRC?
Like I said: the strangest thing about entering into ad tech is that it’s not clear what it takes to go from “neat service” to a world viable system. Pro-tip for those of you at home turns out the first step is passing a Media Rating Council audit.
But who is this the Media Rating Council (MRC from here on out) and what are they about? The MRC is an industry body that audits and accredits internet measurements to ensure that they’re “valid, reliable, and effective.” There’s a whole lot of money flowing through the internet and there are a bunch of people with conflicting interests trying to say what portion of that rightfully belongs to them. The MRC exists to make sure that everyone is on equal footing and that people can trust the numbers they use. Without them you’ve got a bunch of conflicting and unreliable numbers that aren’t good for much more the decoration. With them you’ve got reliable metrics you can build businesses on. And now Chartbeat metrics can be counted among those reliable metrics.
What does accreditation change right now?
So what does that mean? Well, it means we get to put a new logo on our homepage and talk about our “twenty-one accredited metrics that go beyond just viewability” but more importantly it means that this “Attention Web” we talk so much about can turn into an Attention Economy. We’ve been driving this idea for a couple years now -- we’ve always believed that the click and the impression are not the way advertisers should value content. It just doesn’t make sense. A heady piece on global policy in the Financial Times is just a fundamentally better opportunity for an advertiser (and for the internet in general) than one on some clickbait blog. It just is.
You can trust science, the market, or just common sense, but no matter which way you look at it you end with high quality writing being worth more than low quality stuff.
But before this accreditation came through it didn’t matter how much you believed in that “attention is valuable” story because you still couldn’t sell it.
That time is over.
At its narrowest interpretation, Chartbeat’s MRC accreditation means premium publishers, advertisers and agencies can now use attention as a currency. But a whole new internet economy isn’t far away if attention is a fundamentally valuable thing on the internet – and Chartbeat gets to be at least partially responsible for that.
Here’s the cool part though - this isn’t just about money and sales teams getting higher CPMs. This isn’t even really about advertising.
It’s about a better internet - the one we were promised from the start.
This accreditation gives us the ability to express our core idea that the quality of website experience is, above all, universal. We’re getting closer to building a world where measurement arises from an ad experience’s purpose and not what was easy to track (clicks). Where the business side and the editorial side of a company believe the readers comes first. Where the the quality of a publication’s content sustains its business, not the number of people who click an ad near that creation. That’s a pretty cool world. And that’s the success we wanted all along.
Check out the Chartbeat Ads Platform for yourself