Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Google Defines Quality As Time-Spent

Ad agencies should be afraid. Very afraid.

According to Google, their TV Ads system will soon be sharing with your clients how well your commercials for their brands are working.

Or, not working.

A commercial’s quality, according to Google, can best be defined as how relevant the commercial is to those who start to watch it. And Google defines relevance as how long viewers are involved in the commercial.

In other words, having viewers watch thirty out of a possible thirty seconds means the commercial was more relevant than if only ten out of thirty seconds were consumed.

In true Google style, the more relevant the commercial, the better the commercial worked for the consumer. So the less it will cost the advertiser to run.

Which means the higher the Return on Involvement in the message itself, the higher the Return on Investment for the advertiser.

What’s enlightening about this decision by Google to use second-by-second—or time-spent data—as a proxy for quality, is that it has no correlation to sales.

In other words, Google has basically redefined the online platform from being strictly a direct marketing space to being a branding space.

Branding is about building relationships over time. By measuring the amount of time spent with a brand’s messaging, Google is starting to give advertisers a measurement as to how well their brand messages are working.

They are, in a sense, making branding quantifiable in a “qualifiable” way.

So, now play this scenario forward just a bit. An advertiser gets the data that says, on average, that only 10% of their thirty-second commercial was watched. Do you think they will bring this up to their creative agency?

Would you?

After all, the creative agency charged the advertiser for thirty seconds worth of content. Of which 90% failed. The advertiser paid for thirty seconds worth of production, which by today’s rates cost them around $12,000 per second to produce.

Of which, $324,000 was wasted.

Can you say, “refund?”

But instead of being reactive, perhaps a better option is for advertisers to be proactive. To work out with their agency a fee structure for creative development that is tied into viewer time-spent. In other words, the longer viewers are involved in the commercial, the more the agency would make.

The opposite, would, of course, also hold true.

Would agencies take this challenge? Most, no.

But there’s one in Boulder, one in San Francisco and one in Portland that would probably welcome it with open arms.

After all, what it would mean is that for the first time, they would be able to be paid based on how good their creative is.

There are now financial models that allow this to happen. Well, at least, there’s one. It’s called DAOS, an acronym for Digital Asset Optimization System.

DAOS is structured on the Return on Involvement principle. One could argue that Return on Involvement is the ROI of digital branding.

In fact, it appears as if Google already has.

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