Monday, April 02, 2007

Why Dynamic Insertion Will Fail Unless...

Dynamic Insertion, the more precise targeting of commercials, is currently being touted as the answer to viewers not paying attention to, or skipping, commercials.

The logic behind Dynamic Insertion is quite straightforward - it's the lack of relevance between viewers and commercials that motivates viewers to skip the advertising. Dynamic Insertion solves this problem by allowing golf club commercials to run only in the homes of golfers.

Granted, this is an easy sell to advertisers, desperate for solutions to viewers being in control. But, unfortunately, it ignores a critical component of control.

Viewers aren't skipping commercials because they aren't relevant. Viewers are skipping commercials because commercials interrupt their programs.

For proof, and for those of you who are TiVo users, examine your own viewing habits. Let's say that you've time-shifted the TV show "24" and are now settling in to watch it on your time. As most know, "24" can be rather intense. First two and a half minute commercial break comes on. What do you do?

Do you fast-forward through the commercials one at a time, stopping at each one to determine relevance? Or, do you put the pedal to the metal, or in this case, thumb to the fast-forward arrow, speeding through all five commercials in around eight and a half seconds so that you can get back to the program?

Granted, it's only mother-in-law research, but most people I've talked to, do the latter. Hemingway could have written one of the commercials and nobody would have noticed.

Why? Simply because when the viewer is in control, the viewer determines relevance. Not only in regards to what is relevant. But, when it is relevant.

When I'm watching "24", only thing relevant to me is to get back to see what Jack Bauer is going to do next.

By interrupting the program, advertisers are still working under the assumption that they have some control.

False assumption. Viewers now control both the "what" and the "when" of relevance.

On the other hand, if advertisers made the golf club commercial something that viewers could opt-in to on their terms, deciding when to watch, well, then dynamic insertion would become extremely valuable. After all, only households with golfers would have the option of accessing the golf club commercial.

But to say that Dynamic Insertion is the solution to viewers skipping intrusive-based advertising is to misdiagnose the problem. People are skipping commercials because they intrude. Not because they aren't relevant.

First we need to make it so that advertising doesn't interrupt. Worrying about relevance beforehand, just isn't relevant.

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