Optimizing to Attention: Parsec Media Introduces Adelaide

A few months ago, I caught up with Parsec Media CEO and Founder Marc Guldimann to see what was going on in the world of time-based transactions, a favorite topic of mine. He hinted that Parsec was actually building a new tool that crunched attention data in real time for brand and performance campaign optimization—a sort of white-label version of the company’s internal optimization engine. I was quite intrigued as I had noted both advertiser and publisher interest in such insights, and saw this as potentially further paving the road to widespread attention-based transactions.

The eagle has landed: Adelaide offers advertisers a dashboard with insights for frequency, creative, awareness and more  based on real-time measurement of user engagement and a proprietary slice of machine learning. Horizon Media has signed on on as the company’s first client.

“CPMs are valued as if all exposures are equally helpful toward brand building—yet this has never really been the case,” says Adam Heimlich, the recently named President of Adelaide. “If you advertise to build share-of-mind, attention is what matters.

I passed some questions Adam’s way to hear more about Adelaide, optimizing toward attention, and what’s next for transacting on time.

GAVIN DUNAWAY: So is this is a pretty big re-imagining of Parsec or simply a new offering?

Heimlich_Adam_Adlelaide_05082019ADAM HEIMLICH: It’s an expansion and upgrade of the Parsec vision. Instead of ad units that maximize attention, Adelaide helps you shift investments toward attention across all direct and programmatic placements. Like when aQuantive spun off Atlas, we’re making our in-house measurement a standalone SaaS product so everyone can learn what we learned.

GD: What does “optimizing to attention” actually entail? What are key components?

AH: They are duration, coverage, and clutter. It’s difficult to weigh these factors, so scores predictably correspond to brand lift. We have four years of experience with this. When we say, “attention” we’re talking about precise quantities that drive incremental lift.

GD: What metrics do you think advertisers not pay enough attention to? How can they better leverage these?

AH: The share of a target audience that sees your optimal frequency. If 5 is optimal and your global average is 5, you might have a huge problem—everybody is at either 0 or 20. We built Adelaide to help brands advance from optimal frequency to optimal attention, and to put their entire target audience in that zone. Lift will spike.

GD: Is there still hope for scaling transactions based on guaranteed time or attention? What are the biggest roadblocks to adoption?

AH: Yes, Parsec continues to serve brands with our premium guaranteed-attention product. The biggest roadblocks to adoption are the inertia behind less precise metrics, like viewable impressions, and challenges comparing the value of Parsec to other media sellers.

Though it’s not our goal, the value transparency Adelaide brings might help mitigate this second obstacle. That said, Adelaide is 100% partner-agnostic and we never pitch Parsec in response to Adelaide inquiries.