A recent report from DoubleClick in which they measure click-through rates, interaction rates with video and non-video ads, average interaction time and video completion rates, states two things of particular interest.
1. Interaction time with an ad – video or non-video – is dependent on how interesting and engaging the creative is.
2. The video completion rate for video commercial plays is 40% to 55%.
Which means, of course, that half of the commercials are not watched all the way through to completion. All due, according to DoubleClick, to how interesting or engaging the creative is.
This has an enormous impact on the ongoing discussion (see previous blog) regarding who’s accountable for engagement, or time-spent with a commercial – media or creative. It appears as if DoubleClick is coming down on the side of the creative. Which means that if the responsibility of any video creative is to engage viewers enough to watch thirty out of thirty seconds (and I would argue that it is) then agencies are consistently failing about half of the time.
Not bad, you might be saying. After all, a .500 batting average would be damn good in baseball.
But this isn’t baseball, is it? And, you would think that an advertiser who pays for a full thirty seconds to be created at today’s average production cost of $12,000/second would be plenty upset to find out that fifteen seconds, or $180,000 of their production dollars, have been completely wasted.
What is their return on investment on the production budget, when only half, or less, of the seconds they paid for to be produced are being used?
Obviously, this is data that advertisers have not had access to in the past. And, now that they do, most really have little idea as to what to do with it.
But, deep down they must be thinking to themselves, isn't there a way that they can avoid paying for the whole thing once they find out that only half is being used? Seems like a fair question, doesn’t it? And, maybe the fair answer to all parties involved is to start paying for creative development on a per second viewed basis.
If the agency creates a spot where 28 out of 30 seconds are watched, that agency would be paid more for their efforts than if only 10 out of 30 seconds are watched.
In other words, the better job the agency does, the more they make. And, vice-versa.
Granted, there are many arguments against working this way. Advertisers claim that the agency’s job is to sell product. They don’t care how long people watch the commercial for. And advertisers are right about that. Long term, they should retain, or, fire their agency, based on how well that agency sells product and/or build brands.
But short term, every production and content development opportunity has a cost associated with it. Which means that it also has an ROI associated with it. In the case of content development, a higher return on viewer involvement will lead to a higher return on dollars invested in development of that content.
It’s in this way that time-spent with a commercial message starts to deliver value to advertisers. Not just in how it helps to sell product and/or build brands.
But also, financially.