Industry Insights
Parsec Media CEO Marc Guldimann on Why the Future is Time-Based Advertising


Marc Guldimann
Founder / CEO



Parsec is one of the pioneers in Cost-per-Second, or time-based advertising – which is an extremely novel idea. Can you share more on the company and your platform?

Parsec is the first platform that transacts on time-spent. This means we only charge advertisers for the amount of time consumers choose to spend time with ads. All media is delivered using our politely interruptive and behaviorally native ad format, Sled, which guarantees complete attention for the duration of time spent.


Do you have an in-house creative team that helps marketers with their creative? Are there any best practices you can share when it comes to certain verticals for both desktop and mobile ads?

Our NYC-based team plays whatever role our partners like; we can act as creative advisors or handle everything from ideation to production. There is no extra charge as all creative services are included in media fees.

The best practice is simply to make engaging advertising. This means something different to every brand and their audience. Thankfully time-based advertising provides an amazing dataset (“how much time did people choose to spend with this ad?”) that can be used to test and iterate towards messaging that resonates.


Are there certain brand verticals that time-based advertising is more suited for? Is it only a branding mechanism?

Parsec research has shown a direct correlation between all brand metrics and time-spent. While we launched with an eye on upper-funnel branding metrics, we’ve seen marketing outcomes increase across the board. Through these results, it’s becoming clear that all types of advertisers can benefit from time-based media.


To the extent that you can share, what are some general Cost-per-Second rates that you charge to advertisers by category? Are there certain categories that will have a higher CPS rate than others?

Cost per Second aligns us with advertisers to seek out audiences who connect with their message and avoid wasting spend on people who aren’t interested. It’s our goal to deliver advertisers with the most cost effective advertising. Rates are determined by audience, site and other targeting methods and typically range from $.01 to $.03 per second.


It seems like there are some publishers like that are also testing out time-based advertising. Do you see other publishers following suit in the future? What are the benefits for all stakeholders involved, for a time-based advertising campaign?

I see a world where all brand advertising is transacted based on the amount of time that people spend. So, yes I think other high quality publishers will follow suit. Inaccurate metrics, like the impression, are easily gamed by low quality publishers and taken advantage of by unappealing advertisers, so that’s where we’ll probably see the most resistance.

The beauty of time-based advertising is that it benefits all parties. Attention is not a zero-sum game, and more accurate measurement and transparent transactions will act as a tide that rises all boats. Advertisers remove their risk since they no longer have to take chances with the yield from their media buys. Consumers have the entire value chain of digital advertising aligned to show them ads they want to see (since more time-spent with ads generates more revenue). Publishers have two big wins; finally the quality of creative can play a role in pricing and they are able to compete on a level playing field that accurately reflects the amount of value transferred to advertisers.


What is the “Sled” format on mobile? Is it called Sled due to the ad ‘sliding’ in, and the user being able to ‘slide’ it away to dismiss it?

Yes, that’s the idea. The sled gracefully enters and exits the screen using the a natural scrolling gesture.


You are integrated with 3rd parties like MOAT for viewability. Who are some other 3rd party ad verification, viewability, or data providers you are integrated with?

Parsec partners with Moat to measure time spent with our ads. While we have implemented tags for our clients from pretty much every other verification and measurement vendor, we exclusively use Moat for measurement and billing.


Can you share more on the technical details of how measurement of time-based advertising works?

Capturing and measuring time spent is a multi-faceted process. It is crucial to understand exactly what happens during each session from start to finish – down to the millisecond. Events are tracked in-browser and sent back to our servers marked with timestamps. ‘Heartbeat’ network calls are delivered at regular intervals to provide additional fallback points for any potentially lost events throughout the life of the session. We employ Moat’s viewability tracking technology for verification purposes and to provide an additional method of tracking and corroboration. Moat tracking engages once the impression reaches the MRC threshold of viewability to qualify.


You are partnered with many premium publishers like the International Business Times, The Enthusiast Network, Forbes, USA Today, Scripps, CBS Interactive, US Weekly, and To the extent that you can share, what is your revenue sharing relationship with these publishers – are they also being paid on a Cost-per-Second basis?

The majority of our publishing partners transact with us via the CPM. Eventually we hope to help publishers sell using time metrics, but for now we are focused on the buyers of media and are thus absorbing the risk.


Lastly, what is your take on the future of time-based advertising?

Quality publishers and brands will gravitate to time-based advertising through a marketplace that rewards engaging advertising and fairly compensates publishers for their media product. Advertisers, having taken advantage of time-based analytics, will create advertising that consumers actually want to spend time with.



Parsec is the world’s first Cost Per Second platform for mobile. We price media based on the amount of time that consumers choose to spend with politely interruptive ads.

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