Does the future of advertising depend on being able to shift our focus from measuring the advertiser’s intent to measuring the viewer’s intent?
The advertiser’s intent, as we all know, is to interrupt whatever the viewer is doing in an attempt to shift their focus from something they find interesting to something that, most likely, they won’t.
Currently, reach and frequency measure how many times we interrupt the lives of how many people. One could argue that reach and frequency are really nothing more than a way to measure how proficient we have become at being rude. Or, was it only my mother who used to remind me, in no uncertain terms, that it was rude to interrupt?
Interestingly enough, we can now also measure how many times viewers invite an advertiser into their homes and/or lives. At least, I think this is really what search is - the opportunity for viewers/users to determine what is relevant to them, and then allowing them to choose to spend more time or not with those messages of interest.
In other words, we can now measure the intent of the viewer rather than the intent of the advertiser. And, at least in my opinion, the viewer’s intentions are much more honorable.
According to the recent article by Gord Hotchkiss, search is a measurement of active engagement. Advertising that intrudes is basically a way of interrupting engagement. One could argue that intrusion basically makes engagement inactive.
Inactive engagement is ineffective if one is attempting to create the emotional connections needed to build brands. Active engagement, i.e. search, is a necessary ingredient to creating an emotional connection.
In other words, brands can best be built through search rather than intrusion.
Mr. Hotchkiss didn't say this last part. But, if you follow through on the arguments, that conclusion can certainly be drawn.
Recently, Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, mentioned that “Brands are the solution, not the problem” to sorting out some of the content issues one finds online. And yet, Google, perhaps more than any other company, has through it's search platform, helped to turn the Internet into a direct marketing vehicle.
Maybe Mr. Schmidt needs to focus on letting advertisers know that search is more of a branding tool than a direct marketing tool. If nothing else, it would allow him to tap into the 90% of marketing budgets that are not allocated to direct response.
The future of advertising, which coincides with the future of the Digital Marketplace, lies in monetizing intent. Not the advertiser’s intent. That we can already do.
What we need now is a way to monetize the viewer’s intent.
Not only will it prove to be far more lucrative. But, chances are, more honorable as well.