Thursday, August 09, 2007

At What Price Accountability?

The last post here - The Unspoken Truth - elicited some interesting reactions. Many were against time spent becoming a new measurement metric. There were some who still thought time spent would be the responsibility of the publisher or network.

Let me clarify that last thought first. Time spent is the responsibility of the agency that created the commercial, not the publisher. The publisher is accountable for how many people are exposed to the commercial. But in no way are they accountable for how long viewers are engaged in the commercial.

This is the most difficult MindChange to grasp. The fact that media data - currently in the hands of the publisher and/or platform operator - could be used for anything other than planning and buying media. That it can, in fact, be used to evaluate creative.

But that is the case. How long someone is engaged in a commercial is data that comes from the media in which the commercial ran. But this data can be used as the basis by which creative is evaluated, and, in my opinion, paid for in the future.

Publishers and platform operators should look at it as data that offers creative accountability, and, in turn, a completely new revenue stream for those who own the data.

Another reader mentioned that no agency would be willing to paid based on engagement if said agency didn't have creative control. It's a wise observation and, the fact is, that the cost of accountability to the advertisers is to give their agency more creative freedom.

Not complete freedom to do whatever they want, mind you. But once a script is approved by the advertiser, then the advertiser has to back off and let the agency produce that script in the way they think will be most engaging.

Does it require a higher level of trust between agency and advertiser?

Absolutely.

But this is something that I have found advertisers are willing to accept. Maybe it's because accountability is so desired by advertisers.

The ones that are dragging their feet are the agencies. It makes one wonder if it's because they don't have enough confidence in their own abilities.

If I was an advertiser, I think I'd challenge my agency.

"Here's the deal," I'd say. "I'll pay you based on how engaging the work is and in return, I'll give you complete creative freedom once I approve the script."

How many agencies do you think would jump on that offer?

Would yours?

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