Since several years the ad analysts have been trying to measure the “value” of a story or the “depth of engagement” of the reader. But mostly about the simple click of the reader. Of the general reader or of the reader class that the newspaper or Google can identify.
But on the print side it is since several decades known that the value of an ad placed in a free newspaper (based on ad revenue only) is less than of an ad placed in a newspaper that the reader has paid for, through subscription or as a single copy. Paying has since thousands of years been understood as a deep proof of engagement/appreciation. (The value of the story cannot depend on the editorial cost, but is the value approved by the readers.)
Why should this simple thought not apply also to digital newsmedia? Thus the value of a paying subscriber’s click is higher than that of a free browsing reader. Google knows also well that the ad value of a general search or browsing result is less than the ad value of a specific search result. So the highest ad value of a click appears when a reader has explicitly paid for the specific topic or article. Is this right?