The Financial Times today announces the launch of a new digital advertising metric, ‘cost per hour’ (CPH). Working closely with Chartbeat on the new time-based system, the FT is able to increase marketing effectiveness by measuring not just whether an ad is seen or not, but for how long.

The measurement, which was initially offered in a limited pilot last fall, allows advertisers to reach a highly influential global audience with greater brand impact than through impressions alone. It follows successful trials on with 10 clients including BP, iShares and IBM, generating over $1m in total incremental revenue. Tests have proven not only a significant uplift in brand recognition and association among readers, but it also ensures 100% viewability of five seconds or more for clients. The FT can report on how long each impression has been viewed, and the total duration of exposure across the campaign.

Dominic Good, FT’s advertising sales director, said: “For the nearly three decades of commercial internet history, advertising has derived its value from one measure: how many people click on an ad. Low viewability scores and questions about advertising placement and fraud have increased the need for better measurement and transparency to demonstrate the actual outcome an advertiser is seeking.

“While CPM values every impression the same, CPH uses time to measure value. The FT has shown through extensive testing that brand familiarity and recollection among readers increases significantly the longer an ad is in view. Adverts seen for five seconds or more on show up to 50% higher brand recall and familiarity than ads that are visible for a shorter period of time.

“The Financial Times creates some of the web’s highest quality content,” said Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile. “That content attracts a highly valuable audience, who engage deeply with what they find. By using Chartbeat tools and the CPH metric to understand, plan, and transact on that reader attention, the FT has been able to more effectively optimize for advertisers’ brand goals. In doing so, they’ve shown the path to a sustainable media business goes beyond the impression.”

In addition to better serving advertisers, time-based metrics will benefit publishers. CPH values quality content over quantity, or real reader engagement over clicks. Time-based advertising is also a more efficient use of inventory: the FT has been able to use data insights to optimise its inventory towards high-performing time placements. It results in a reduction in inventory to serve a minimum of 10% more time, as compared to a CPM campaign of the same spend.

The FT is already working with other global publishers to develop and increase the use of CPH, with the intention of making it a standard digital trading currency across the industry. More details are available in this white paper (Cost Per Hour: Using a Time-Based Currency for Digital Advertising) by independent consultant Nikul Sanghvi.

Time-based advertising with the FT will deliver the following benefits to clients:
Guaranteed reach:

Our close work with Chartbeat allows the FT to sell blocks of audience time to advertisers with the guarantee that the client will only be charged for ads that are seen for more than five seconds of ‘active’ time with 100% viewability.

Demonstrable impact:

Readers who see an ad for five seconds or more are up to 50% more likely to display familiarity and association with a brand.

Hyper-targeted campaigns:

Because the FT has detailed data about our subscribers, advertisers can run highly targeted campaigns reaching an influential, global audience.

More cost-effective campaigns:

An advertiser that purchases a CPH campaign from FT receives 10% more time than via a CPM campaign of the same spend.

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About the Financial Times:

The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community, the FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of 720,000. Mobile is an increasingly important channel for the FT, driving almost half of total traffic. FT education products now serve two thirds of the world’s top 50 business schools.