A big ad tech company is patenting a clever idea that might just make people click on more ads

Click adam sandler
Just like the Adam Sandler movie, The Rubicon Project wants to make more people ‘Click.’ Sony Pictures

The Rubicon Project, the programmatic ad tech company that went public last year, has filed for an interesting patent that could encourage more people to click on ads.

Clicks are ad tech companies’ raison d’être. But their challenge is that there are so few clicks actually happening. Average click-through rates on display ads online are just 0.06%, according to Google.

So here’s the solution The Rubicon Project is proposing: It would begin displaying additional information alongside the ad to encourage — or discourage — users to interact with it.

That kind of information could include things such as: Whether the ad has been found to be free from malware; information about the advertiser such as customer satisfaction information; or extra details about the goods being advertised, such as how they compare with competitor products.

Essentially, The Rubicon Project would be creating a series of certificates that would sit on or next to web ads. Its system would provide an audit of each web ad to indicate whether it leads to a trustworthy source, using third-party surveys, opinion polls, and reports.

Here’s how the certificates would look on a web page, according to the patent. The “Graphic Server” is serving up the trust certificate:

Rubicon Project Patent

The patent explains why the company thinks this certification system would improve click-through rates:

Current viewers of online advertisements appear to have no means of gaining additional information about a particular advertisement, the advertiser, and/or the good and/or service being advertised. The viewer typically must rely on the advertisement alone when making a decision as to whether to click on the advertisement or not. This can have negative effects on the effectiveness of the advertisements, in particular in the click-through rates of those advertisements.

By comparison, a user who can verify that an advertisement, an advertiser, a good or service, or a destination Web page or Web site are in fact trustworthy or more positive due to some other characteristic may be more likely to click on that ad, an action to the benefit of the advertiser. Therefore, it is with respect to these considerations and others that the present invention has been made.

Rubicon Project’s patent implies that trustworthy advertisers would sign up to its scheme, in order for the certificate to be added to their ads.

The flow-chart below shows how it all works. The advertiser signs up with a third-party auditor. Rubicon provides the technology to make all of this happen.

Rubicon project

Business Insider has contacted The Rubicon Project for more information on the patent, and we’ll update this post once we hear back.

The Rubicon Project’s patent was first filed back in 2008, but it was updated in June this year and published by the US Patent and Trademark office on September 24.

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