When dwell time is measurable…

In light of the recent announcement from Unanimis, stating that they will be launching a time-based ad model for online advertising, I expect the debate around dwell time to pick up pace. That makes me happy, because I have been banging on about the importance of dwell time for yonks! :o)

I don’t think anyone can argue with the logic that says if your advertising impression is viewable for longer, then it has a better chance of making a connection with the user. If you do disagree with that, then this post really isn’t for you. :o)

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that we all agree that there is a minimum required dwell time needed for an advertiser to have a chance of making a connection. Let’s assume that the absolute minimum dwell time per page required is 10 seconds spent on the page.

Let’s also assume that while the benefit to the advertiser continues to grow in line with the number of seconds spent on a page that the increased benefit will eventually hit a ceiling after which the maximum benefit has been achieved – at this point no amount of additional dwell time is necessary or valuable. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s say that ceiling occurs at around 300 seconds.

That gives us a swing of between 10 seconds and 600 seconds.

To keep things uniform, let’s assume that the base CPM we are working with is £25.

So, the questions as I see it them, are as follows:

1. If advertisers are currently paying £25 for a thousand ad impressions with no guarantee on how long each impression will last, then what happens to that CPM when the advertiser is able to measure the length of time the ad will be exposed for?

Do the sites that hover around 10 seconds per page get sub-£25cpm, with the sites over 43 seconds (the internet average according to ComScore) able to charge more than £25cpm?

2. For the current rate of £25cpm, what is considered an acceptable dwell time to justify the cost? Is the internet average of 43 seconds the benchmark, or is it lower than that?

I think that most likely agencies and clients will settle on what they consider being an acceptable dwell time for their £25cpm, and then try to drive down costs on sites not living up to that benchmark.

Call me cynical, but I can see the sites offering nearer 600 seconds of dwell time per page being able to increase the current CPM’s by too much, which will end up driving down market prices.

In the short-term agencies and clients will be happy with this new negotiation stick to beat publishers with, but I believe it is too the long term detriment of the online video market in my opinion as in the long term, it will mean that publishers will have less money to invest in video content. A bit like TV now, the budgets to make programmes is pinched hard and as a result we have schedules full of ‘cheap to produce’ or ‘reality TV’

If the quality of the content is not high, then the audiences will not watch, and this has to be a bad thing for the growth in this sector.

Your thoughts as always would be welcome below.

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