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.