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

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
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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.

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