Media Pitch: Parsec Believes Time-Based Advertising Is Key to Mobile Success
It’s difficult for publishers to sell digital advertising at a premium price because digital ad performance metrics are murky, particularly on mobile devices. Thanks to ad blocking, ad fraud, and the difficulty of measuring an online user’s attention, it’s nearly impossible for a publisher to quantify just how valuable its ad inventory really is and whether ads on its site actually drive results for advertisers.
Parsec hopes to simplify digital advertising for publishers and advertisers with new ad formats that can be sold on a cost per second (CPS) metric. With a mobile-friendly, interactive ad format called the Sled, Parsec is able to measure how many seconds a user spends with an ad. In the following Q&A Parsec CEO Marc Guldimann explains why this could be a game changer for publishers.
Who are you? What is your technology and how does it work? Who are the entrepreneurs behind it?
Parsec is the first time-based advertising platform, we only charge advertisers for the amount of time spent with our politely interruptive ad format, the Sled. Our platform helps over 75 publishers like CBS, AOL, Forbes, Wenner, and USA Today better monetize their mobile audiences.
We were founded in 2014 by myself and Diane deCordova who ran Google’s brand lab.
Explain your existence: What problem are you solving or opportunity are you enabling? How are you unique and innovative?
At it’s core, brand advertising is about attention. Publishers create content to capture it, and then loan the attention to advertisers to imprint their message. Thus brand advertising should be transacted using a metric that closely reflects the amount of attention paid to it. Unfortunately the predominant metric, the impression, contains a very inconsistent amount of attention. Parsec aligns the entire media and advertising industry through a more precise metric -- time spent with an ad. Because it relies on a user choice, the time spent with an ad is a far better proxy for attention than an impression.
Inspiration: How did you come up with this idea? How does your new tech solution reflect changes and trends underway in the media world?
Most of us (well at least the pre-millennials) tore magazine ads out and put them on our walls growing up. Magazine ads are big, bold, and pleasing. Digital ads aren’t. The goal of our format is to create an advertising experience that hearkened back to print advertising and the pleasant experience that it provided. That’s why the Sled offers video and other interactive features. When consumers are ready, they can simply scroll past the Sled. It’s very important to us that the consumer controls the duration of advertising experiences.
We see the impression as the cause of most of the problems that digital advertising faces. From fraud to kickbacks, audience leakage, and an overall lack of measurability, the damage caused by the imprecision of the impression negatively impacts every part of digital branding. Creating a more transparent way to transact media has been at the core of Parsec from the start.
Parsec’s time-based metrics provide the transparency and uniformity media buyers have been asking for.
Results: How have you or do you plan to help media companies increase revenue or cut costs? Can you quantify this?
Publishers are competing on an uneven playing field created by the impression. Those publishers who respect their audience by placing fewer ads on a page have no way to signal that to the marketplace. Since an impression might be the only ad on the page, or one of a dozen competing for attention, there’s very little information conveyed by the CPM metric. Changing to a metric (like CPS) that more precisely reflects the amount of attention paid means high quality publishers will be fairly compensated.
Share some wisdom: What do you think are the most important trends affecting the media business today? What do you see that no one else sees?
Both readers and advertisers are fed up the status quo; we see this manifested in ad blocking and demands for transparency. Readers demand control of their environment and advertisers want more visibility into the good they are buying.
What’s Next? How do you plan on expanding or improving on your offering? Where do you see opportunities for growth?
Any advertising experience that captures a consumer’s full attention for an amount of time they choose can be sold on a cost per second. We look forward to developing politely interruptive experiences across many more mediums.
Marc Guldimann founded Parsec and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Parsec Mr. Guldimann founded and served as the CEO of Enliken and Spongecell Inc spending two decades at Internet and technology firms. Before digital media he worked in the wireless network security industry, where he developed the first wireless virus filter. Mr Guldimann led technical sales and marketing efforts for both Vernier Networks and Network Chemistry. Mr. Guldimann graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Social Decision Sciences.