Financial Times finds sweet spot of ad engagement resulting in revenue

By William Maxwell McKeon-White

Ithaca College

Ithaca, New York, USA


At the moment, only 1/1666 of ads actually generates a “click.” Now, Financial Times is pioneering an alternative method of ad distribution, Brendan Spain, commercial director of global client relationship at Financial Times, explained to the audience at the Big Data Media Conference, a joint venture of World Newsmedia Network (WNMN) and INMA.

All impressions are “created equal” in current marketing strategy, and many seek to simply increase pageviews.

However, marketers are seeking attention, not just momentary exposure. As such, when few individuals are actually staying long on ads, it works against the purpose of those advertising.

Brenden Spain explains how found ad revenue increased over 79% when people saw an ad for more than five seconds.
Brenden Spain explains how found ad revenue increased over 79% when people saw an ad for more than five seconds.

The company found ad recall increased over 79% when people saw the ad for more than five seconds, and all around people had better associations as well as 58% higher consideration of purchase for their products. A viewer of these ads was far more likely to be a potential customer if there was something that encouraged them to stop and view.

As a result, the Financial Times has made improvements to both its ad strategy and ad placement on Not only has the media company refocused on creating better quality information, it has removed interrupting ads, generally purging anything that would discourage individuals from actually viewing their pages.

Instead, it has developed less-obtrusive fixed banner ads that will stay with readers throughout the article far less invasively than a pop-up.

Financial Times improving its reader experience, as well as helping advertisers create better ads. Data collection has enabled the creation of targeting ads towards viewers, actually helping advertisers create tailored ads.

The impacts have already been impressive: Through the re-design, Financial Times has already sold over 11 years of attention. It’s made a positive impact, and advertisers have taken notice.

“What is next?” Spain asks. “We want brands to be able to create a narrative, depending on how long someone has seen the message.”

The company seeks to partner with advertisers to better help them reach their readers and create lasting impacts. Additionally, the company has focused on expanding via mobile and other assorted platforms to further their own appeal as well as their appeal to investors.

About William Maxwell McKeon-White

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