Using Millward Brown to quantify the results, FT found that when active users were served 100% viewable ads for five seconds or more, brand lift increased by 79%, while familiarity went up by 55%, brand association grew by 51% and brand consideration saw a 58% boost.
“We’ve demonstrated that the length of time an active user is exposed on ft.com has a meaningful impact on their brand perceptions,” Rothman said.
But although a number of FT’s brand clients have renewed their cost-per-time campaigns, buying on time is still the exception rather than the rule, partially because though the buy side understands the value in the concept, their legacy systems aren’t built to handle it.
“We wouldn’t be buying on time – we’re just not structured to do that yet,” said Matt Seiler, former global CEO and current chairman of IPG Mediabrands.
The agency compensation model is one major stumbling block, he said. Agencies get paid based on how many dollars get spent, not necessarily based on ROI.
Essentially that means, “we’re not trying to correlate advertising with effectiveness,” said Seiler, noting that “some fairly fundamental things have to happen” before cost per time is embraced by more than the vanguard.
One of those things is to figure out what people actually want to spend their time with rather than forcing them to sit through something like “the countdown torture of a pre-roll,” Seiler said. “It has to be distribution and content working together.”
Although looking more closely at ROI would be a positive step from an advertiser’s point of view, users don’t really care about whether there’s been a return on investment, said Joe Marchese, president of advanced advertising at Fox. They just want value in exchange for their time.
A letter from all consumers to the entire ad industry could go something like this, Marchese quipped: “Dear marketers, your ROI is not my problem.”
“If you borrow my attention, the market clearing price of an ad should be the cost of attention,” he said.
But Bruce Kiernan, practice lead for performance marketing at MEC North America, isn’t convinced that it’s time just yet to “throw the baby out with the bathwater and just focus on premium.”
“I don’t think we should carve out supply that only works toward metrics like time spent. There are just so many variables and too much variance in experience with ads and no good way to predict what will happen,” Kiernan said. “An impression is a fixed variable – an ad being in view or time spent is not.”