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Ad blocking and privacy, who’s right? The readers weigh in

Nov 19, 2015
Industry trends

The ad blocking vs. privacy debate continues to blaze. Under every article these days about the pros and cons of ad blocking are comments that discuss whether blocking online ads is equivalent to theft and if user tracking is ethical. And native advertising is increasingly being scrutinized as some publishers try to hide the sourcing while others are more up front with their audience.

Read more on Ad Blocking on Piano’s Industry Insights, available now!

Where the Ad Blocking Debate is Going

Nov 12, 2015
Industry trends

Ad blocking rears its head again. Perhaps it’s because Axel Springer announced positive results for their combative campaign against users running the software or perhaps it’s because the executives of Eyeo, the company that codes Adblock plus, held a summit in New York with publishing and advertising execs to determine what the best way to go forward is. At any rate, the issue is far from resolved.

Read more on Ad Blocking on Piano’s Industry Insights, available now

Are Ad Metrics Shifting?

Nov 05, 2015
Knowledge Base

Page views have always been king on the Internet, they reveal how much interest there is in your website and how much you could charge for advertising. Unfortunately people invented ‘bots to drive up PVs, thus skewing readership numbers and artifically inflating CPMs. Therefore it’s a relief to see that a basic Piano tenet, time spent on a page, or as it’s now termed, engagement, is finally becoming a basic and real metric.

Read more on Piano’s Industry Insights, available now.

Setting up a metered paywall II: Data sources

Oct 16, 2015

This is the second part of a three part series by Piano Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak that was posted earlier on Piano Media’s blog.

Setting up a metered paywall I: Estimation
Setting up a metered paywall III:Time Period
To read all of Roman’s articles please click here

There are multiple options to attain data with Google Analytics among the most popular. However, most relevant Google Analytics metrics (such as page depth) are measured per visit, certain aggregation and approximation must be applied in order to achieve the right result. Therefore estimations based on Google Analytics have several shortcomings; it overestimates the percentage of users who consume less content while underestimating those who consume more.

To eliminate this discrepancy Piano has developed a tool for collecting relevant content consumption data called the Piano bar. Using sophisticated tracking technology Piano compensates for the shortcomings from systems such as Google Analytics. Below is a comparison of how the curve using Piano bar data compares with a curve constructed through approximation from Google Analytics data:


The parameters of the curve shown above vary greatly for different media based on both their content and website structure, yet can be approximated by a single mathematical function. In some media a limit of 11 free articles per month might affect 40% of readers, while 5 monthly articles for a different title might hit only a little above 15%. Despite certainly not revealing the whole story, it allows you to make an informed decision on the limit of free articles in a metered paywall.


Setting Up a Metered Paywall I: Estimation

Oct 07, 2015

This series of three articles that Piano’s Lead Data Scientist Roman Gavuliak wrote in 2014 and is being reposted for the edification of Piano’s current clients and readership.

Setting up a metered paywall II: Data Sources
Setting up a metered paywall III: Time Period
To read all of Roman’s articles please click here

A metered paywall is one of the most popular options to monetize media website content. The notion seems simple: users can read a predetermined number of articles for free before being asked to pay for more access. Usually only regular users will be impacted; those who visit occasionally will probably never reach their pageview limit.

Where to set the meter limit?

Setting the meter limit is literally the million dollar question. Further, any kind of limit needs to be tied to a particular time period, so instead of one question, there are two:

1. How many free articles?

2. How often should the meter refresh? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

Choosing the limit

Setting the limit too low means users will reduce their engagement, search for information elsewhere or simply leave. On the other hand, setting the limit too high results in little to no conversion. Naturally limits can be adjusted, but doing so might both confuse users as well as discourage others from implementing a metered paywall. Keep reading