Friday, June 27, 2008

VideoEgg Is On The Right Track

Interesting piece on engagement written by Troy Young of VideoEgg today.

As you know, VideoEgg is the company that is charging for video advertising on a cost-per-engagement, versus a cost-per- impression basis. They sell advertising that viewers opt-in to and have complete control over. In other words, non-intrusive advertising at its best.

I’ve always believed that VideoEgg’s heart is in the right place even though their definition of engagement is currently skewed to benefit their model. After all, if a viewer initiates engagement with a video message, but leaves after only a second of viewing, has engagement actually taken place?

Whether a viewer stays for a second, or, for the entire video, the advertiser pays the same amount. Engagment, as defined by VideoEgg, means starting to watch the video, not necessarily watching the whole video.

In other words, engaging with, not engaging in the video.

Truth be told, VideoEgg is really not responsible for anything more than that. The responsibility of whether or not someone decides to engage in the video falls on the content creators themselves. All VideoEgg can do is bring the most relevant viewers to the most relevant messages to engage with, not necessarily in.

What I like about Troy’s comments is that he mentions that the “mode” the viewer is in as a critical ingredient to creating engagement. Well, at least to initiating engagement.

What this indicates is that Troy understands that media is not so much about selling space or real estate as it about selling mindsets. What mindset is the user in when using a particular piece of media? My mindset is certainly different when I’m using VideoEgg than when I am using Hulu.

If Troy is right about there being a fifteen times difference in initiating engagement based on “mode,” alone, than he’s on to something quite important. And, I for one am glad that VideoEgg is able to offer their advertisers this type of data.

But I still take issue with their definition of engagement. Perhaps two words are needed to describe the viewer’s experience. For example, engagement could be defined as when a viewer initiates the interaction with the advertisers message. And involvement could be the word that describes the length of time that the viewer decides to stay with the message.

That way Troy can still sell his cost per engagement. While, at the same time, advertisers can start holding their agencies accountable for delivering a Return on Involvement.

If it helps, think of it as an ROI for creative.

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