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Publishers Need Ad Revolution, Not Evolution

This week I traveled to London and learned a new language. Not Briticisms like “bollocks,” but a new lexicon of digital ad industry terms that were front and center at the Guardian newspaper’s two-day Changing Media Summit.

Old ways to measure and charge for online ads, like click-through rate and how many times an ad is loaded on a page, are certainly out of favor. Instead, publishers from CNN to News Corp. are talking about “dwell time,” (how long you spend on a site, sometimes called “reading time”), “viewability” (some definition of whether the ad was actually seen) and “influence” (which seems to be whatever the publisher wants it to be). But I came away convinced that these are half-measures that will do little to help publishers milk more money from banner ads. We need a different way of thinking about advertising.  

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P.S. You may have noticed I decided to name this weekly column The Takeaway. I will always give you my take on an issue that’s top of mind for technology leaders and decision makers. Look out for more recurring fixtures and features from the rest of our team very soon.

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Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Founding Partner, Eight
Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder & Managing Partner, SocialCapital
Tina Sharkey
Tina Sharkey
CEO, Brandless
Jonah Peretti
Jonah Peretti
CEO, Buzzfeed
Adam D'Angelo
Adam D'Angelo
CEO, Quora
Brit Morin
Brit Morin
Founder & CEO, Brit + CO
Dustin Moskovitz
Dustin Moskovitz
Co-Founder, Asana
Christina Miller
Christina Miller
President & General Manager, Turner
Max Levchin
Max Levchin
CEO, Affirm
Adam Mosseri
Adam Mosseri
Director of Product, Facebook
Alex Mather
Alex Mather
The Athletic
Martha Josephson
Martha Josephson
Partner, Egon Zehnder
James Murdoch
James Murdoch
Co-Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox
Andrew Kortina
Andrew Kortina
Founder, Venmo
Ben Chestnut
Ben Chestnut
Co-Founder & CEO, Mailchimp
Ruchi Sanghvi
Ruchi Sanghvi
VP Operations, Dropbox
Didn’t the whole promise of online advertising lie in the idea that it was far more efficient than the blunt instrument of TV?