Audio: Hear Why The Financial Times Adopted Cost-Per-Hour Ad Metrics
Many publishers have decried the pageview as an insufficient metric for measuring audience engagement. Leaders from Condé Nast, Hearst, and ALM have indicated that returning visits, scroll-down, and shares are much better indicators of a reader’s interest and more accurate benchmarks of content quality. Yet, though many editorial teams have deemphasized the pageview, most publishers continue to charge advertisers based on the deeply entrenched CPM impressions.
It’s time sales teams leave behind the pageview too, says Brendan Spain, U.S. commercial director and global client relationship director at The Financial Times. Spain spoke at Publishing Executive Live: The Evolution Summit in September and shared with attendees the benefits of utilizing engagement metrics to inform both editorial and sales strategies. No longer bound to a pageview-driven CPM model, The FT is using smart audience data to sell ads on a cost-per-hour basis, or CPH. Essentially, FT sells blocks of readers’ time to advertisers. The brand guarantees that readers in those time blocks are spending five seconds or more with an ad, said Spain.
“What that allows us to do is focus on high-value impressions for these high value campaigns,” said Spain. He added that the CPH campaign can be qualified further by audience type. “For example, on a recent IO we did 2,600 hours of time to U.S. senior decision makers, VP and above. We can work all of our registration data into those targeting options as well.”
As of late September, FT had run 17 CPH campaigns across 13 brands. And according to the press release announcing the launch of the CPH initiative, FT is working with other global publishers with the intent of making CPH the “standard digital trading currency across the industry.”
In the following audio clip, Spain explains why FT adopted engagement metrics and CPH.