May I Have Your Attention Plis. This be the End of Click Baits

The idea of grabbing a readers attention and not just clicks or views is being pushed by Charbeat, an analytics company for web publishers. Some of the biggest publishers, especially the ones that serve premium content, are taking to it.

At Medium, the shiny new publishing platform of the internet, they have a metric– it’s called total time reading. It’s an estimate of how much time readers spent reading a post on Medium.

By the looks of it, total time reading is the only real metric they care about. Which means that it is the metric that Medium will show its advertisers. Not page views, not click throughs, but the aggregate of time spent on it.

At Upworthy, which raised $8 mn last year, a similar is being talked about. They are calling it attention minutes. The video site said earlier this year

Our mission here at Upworthy is to draw massive amounts of attention to the most important topics.

They are calling page views a “flimsy metric.” In its place, they are going to use attention minutes as a key metric. The site tracks total attention on site and total attention per piece.

The Financial Times partnered with Chartbeat in May to measure sell the time and attention of its audience. The Economist has followed suite.

Now we all know that click baits will be around the Internet until cat videos are around. That is, for eternity. But if advertising money shifts towards attention minutes or better and premium content, we might just see less of cheap content that will “blow your mind.”

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