Monday, March 16, 2009

Monetizing Intentionality. Or, Not.

I went to a VideoEgg presentation the other day. I like the VideoEgg folks. Always very engaging.

As you may know, they have what they call a "cost per engagement" model where advertisers pay every time a viewer clicks-in to watch a commercial. It's a step in the right direction. CPM is an antiquated model at best, necessitating change to come quickly to the industry.

What VideoEgg is doing, to a point, is monetizing intentionality. Now intentionality is an unusual word to be associated with the ad business. After all, up to now, most of our measurement data measured the advertiser's intention, i.e. how many will this media buy reach and how often.

Accountability was based on whether or not the projected numbers were hit. Not on the end users actions.

The digital platform flips this on its head, allowing us to now measure the user's intention. When a viewer clicks-in to watch a commercial, their intentionality is measurable.

Valuable? You would think so, wouldn't you?

Which is why I was surprised that VideoEgg stopped with their Cost Per Engagement model at the click-in stage. By this I mean that the advertiser pays the same amount to VideoEgg whether the viewer watched a tenth of the commercial, or, the entire commercial.

I asked VideoEgg if they have second-by-second view duration data and, apparently, they do. That they're not making money off of this data, surprised me.

After all, once a viewer's intentionality is monitored, the duration of that intentionality becomes extrememly valuable to the advertiser. The longer a viewer is involved with an advertiser's message, the greater the chance the advertiser has to convince them why their product is better.

While there hasn't been a direct cause and effect study completed yet, length-of-view to sales, common sense seems to indicate that the correlation would be positive.

One issue, of course, is coming to some sort of agreement as to who's responsible and/or accountable for view duration. I would argue that once a viewer clicks-in to watch a message, the accountability for that message transitions from the media agency who placed the commercial to the creative agency that created the commercial.

In other words, viewer intentionality signals the Transference of Accountability from media agency to creative agency. Think of it as a tipping point.

What VideoEgg is actually monitoring is the point where this Transference of Accountability occurs. But then, they, like so many others who measure view duration - Omniture, Visible Measures, TubeMogul - stop.

Why?

Obviously, the intentionality of any good creative agency is to create work so involving that those that it is targeted to, will watch every second of it. By paying for media on a CPE basis, advertisers are only paying for those that have expressed interest.

Good? Yes. But isn't maintained interest of even greater value then initial interest?

If so, then why not pay for creative based on how well it works at involving those that have initially expressed an interest by clicking in?

In my opinion, one problem is that these companies are still thinking of themselves as media companies or ad networks. They're not. They're data aggregators. They're not selling media. They're not selling impressions. Nor, are they selling engagement.

What they are selling, basically, is accountability.

At least, that should be their intention.

After all, the intentionally of any advertiser, especially in these times, should be accountability over both those who place their advertising, and those who create it.

Data allows this to happen.

Up to now, the data aggregators have been ignoring this second revenue stream.

Intentional or not, I don't know.

But if so, I'm sure this will all be changing soon.

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