National / International News

Advertisers can now tell if we're paying attention

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-16 11:12

Online advertising has long been dominated by the click and impression — how much an ad is shown to users. Now the industry is establishing a new metric: our attention.

People click on the average Internet display ad about .1 percent of the time. It's a dismal fraction for advertisers, and it doesn't tell the full story. Ads can have a large branding impact on us even if we don't click on them. That's why advertisers need metrics that deliver a more nuanced picture, says Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile.

His company is the first to have its techniques for quantifying attention certified by the Media Ratings Council, an organization that determines if an audience measurement tool is “valid, reliable, and effective.”  For years, Chartbeat has been measuring attention for web content — trying to determine if we are really engaging with websites, or just happen to have the tab open while watching a cat video elsewhere. The company is now taking the tools it built for content and applying them to advertising.

To analyze our engagement, Chartbeat measures things like how we move the mouse, scroll, and tap on our keyboards. “All of those signals effectively allow us to get a picture of behavior,” Haile says, “it gives us a sense of when attention is happening or when someone is distracted.”

Chartbeat's content analytics have been especially popular with news organizations. They use it and other services to see what articles engage readers. You might recognize a few of Chartbeat's clients: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN. Now, some are starting to use it for ads as well.

Jon Slade directs digital advertising for the Financial Times. With attention metrics, he says, “I'm able to value engagement and commercialize it.” That helps the site compete against websites with a larger volume of content that people interact with more superficially.  The metrics are changing how the Financial Timessells ads. Advertisers can now pay for how long people will see and engage with an ad instead of how many times it will be shown and clicked on. It's quality over quantity, Slade says — a huge shift for online advertising, and a better business model for those who create content.

This shift in the advertising industry could be a big boost for news sites. In the words of Trevor Fellows, “the recognition that not all impressions are equal is huge.”

Fellows is the chief revenue officer for The Wall Street Journal. He says attention metrics will show advertisers it's worth paying to have ads displayed next to engaging content. It's a way for news sites to stand out from the soup that is the Internet.

Fellows predicts it will be a while before engagement becomes a standard measurement in the advertising industry. “A change of this magnitude is going to be a long time in becoming commonplace,” he says.  Advertisers still quibble over the old metrics—how to determine whether an ad has actually been viewed and intentionally clicked.When it comes to human attention there's more going on than just the push of a button.

Can Huawei become China's first global brand?

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 11:06
Can Huawei be China's first global brand?

What's the risk of Ebola on a plane?

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:25
What's the risk of catching Ebola on a plane?

Your Car Won't Start. Did You Make The Loan Payment?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:21

Growing numbers of lenders are getting tech savvy, remotely disabling debtors' cars and tracking customer data to ensure timely payment of subprime auto loans.

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Apple reveals its thinnest iPad

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:18
Apple announces a refreshed line-up of tablets, adding its Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the latest iPad Air and iPad Mini computers.

WATCH: Florida's Gubernatorial Debate Gets Off To A Bizarre Start

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:18

The debate began not with discussions about the economy or even about Obamacare, but about whether candidate Charlie Crist should be allowed to have a small fan to keep him cool.

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VIDEO: Fatal fire started in tumble dryer

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:15
The only survivor of a fire in the Conwy Valley describes how he tried and failed to save the two men who died as it emerges the blaze started in a tumble dryer.

Lineker wants star U21s at Euros

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:13
Gary Lineker urges Premier League managers to allow England's best youngsters to gain tournament experience with the Under-21s.

Death Star moon is 'wonky or watery'

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:04
The internal structure of Saturn's moon Mimas is either irregularly shaped or awash with water, according to a new study of its tell-tale wobbling movements.

Poll: Majority Of Americans Worried About U.S. Ebola Outbreak

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:04

More than half of Americans polled said they were concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. within a year. When asked the same question in August, 39 percent of people expressed the same concern.

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Council chief's £330k pay-off deal

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 10:00
Pembrokeshire councillors agree a severance deal worth £330,00 for their chief executive to leave his job after a payments row, BBC Wales understands.

VIDEO: Students sharing single rooms

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 09:46
Students at some universities are having to share single rooms, the BBC has learned.

A Balanced Diet For World Food Day: Bugs, Groundnuts And Grains

NPR News - Thu, 2014-10-16 09:41

Termites and mung beans are among the ingredients that can bring better nutrition to the 800 million undernourished people in the lower-income world.

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What has Kobane battle taught us?

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 09:40
Five key lessons of the battle against IS in Kobane

Baghdad attacks leave dozens dead

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 09:39
More than 40 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a series of attacks in mainly Shia areas of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say.

College-based degrees fail inspection

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 08:48
Inspectors failed almost a third of further education colleges offering higher education courses that were checked this year.

VIDEO: UN chief backs LGBT community

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 08:13
UN chief shows off a purple tie and socks at news briefing, highlighting support for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community.

'Dead gran' text message stuns family

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 08:10
A woman is horrified to receive a text message from her grandmother's number - three years after she was buried along with her mobile phone.

Mexico missing: New graves found

BBC - Thu, 2014-10-16 07:27
More graves have been found near the southern Mexican town of Iguala, where 43 students went missing last month, people searching for them say.

The numbers for October 16, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-10-16 07:05

Apple unveiled the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 at a big media event Thursday, though the basics of the new tablets were already leaked by Apple itself. IPad sales have been falling or staying flat for the past several quarters, as the market gets more crowded and iPhones get more popular (and larger).

Quartz has a good look at Apple's iPad conundrum and some suggestions for giving the device a more distinct place in their product line.

Here's what we're reading — and some numbers we're watching — Thursday.

1 in 4

The portion of millennials who have cut the cord or never had a cable subscription at all, TechHive reported. That's especially important as HBO and now CBS have announced they'll uncouple streaming from pay TV packages, and offering their online-only services.


The number of companies that signed a pledge earlier this year to reduce hiring barriers for the 3 million job seekers who have been unemployed 27 weeks or longer. It's why some companies are exploring with getting rid of resumes, and opting instead for video applications.

72 percent

That's how many Airbnb listings in New York violate zoning or other laws, according to a new report from the city's attorney general. The start-up, valued at $10 billion, blamed a lack of clear laws for home sharing,  the New York Times reported. Nearly all of the rentals are in Manhattan, and many are from individual hosts with a high number of listings: Six percent of renters take in 37 percent of Airbnb revenue in the city, which amounts to about $168 million.