So, how do we create a monetization renaissance?
Under the current agency retainer system, great creative work and average creative work costs the advertiser about the same. That's one of the major negatives of a cost-based compensation model. It allows the advertiser to pay a fixed amount of money whether the content creator adds value/greatness or not.
If advertisers want to inspire greatness, then greatness needs to be rewarded. The problem lies in trying to define greatness in a way that both sides - agency and advertiser - can agree to. It needs to be a win/win. There can't be the feeling that a dollar gained by one side comes at the expense of the other side.
And, it has to be completely objective rather than subjective. In other words, greatness needs to be measurable.
While this may initially sound impossible, a solution might lie in return path data. Return path data is the digital data that comes back when a commercial runs on the digital platform. Part of what this data reveals is how many viewers actually clicked-in to start watching a commercial. And, how long they watched the commercial for.
Arguably, this return path data is predictive in nature. The longer a viewer chooses to be involved in a commercial, the greater the chance is that they'll be interested in the product being advertised.
Does this mean that time-spent with a commercial will automatically lead to sales? Can't guarantee that. All we can guarantee is that lack of time spent with a commercial won't lead to sales.
Ultimate Objective versus Immediate Objective
Keep in mind that sales are the ultimate objective of any marketing campaign. That said, every commercial that is produced also has a more immediate objective.
To be watched.
After all, the advertiser spent "x" amount of dollars to produce a commercial that is "x" amount of seconds long. A produced second that is watched returns a better ROI on production dollars spent than a produced second that isn't watched.
By using return path data, advertisers will know how many produced seconds were actually consumed by the viewer. Obviously, in this time-starved era we live in, greater creativity is needed from the agency for seconds to be consumed.
Can both advertisers and agencies agree that a consumed second offers more value than a non-consumed second? You would think so, wouldn't you?
If that's the case, then by monetizing this second-by-second data in such a way that the longer viewers are involved, the more the agency makes, we have created a win/win situation.
Advertisers can pay for content creation based on the amount of time that viewers spend watching the commercial rather than the amount of time the agency spent working on it. To an advertiser, it's the difference between paying for outcome versus paying for effort.
To an agency, it's finally a way for good work to be worth more than average work. This is something that good creative agencies have been requesting for some time.
In these recessionary times, it's the difference between advertisers cutting creative budgets to be more efficient and paying for creative based on effectiveness.
I have yet to meet an advertiser who minds paying well for success. What advertisers do mind paying well for is failure.
Paying based on time-spent can only help to inspire the Creative Renaissance that is now being called for. After all, working under this model allows great work to be rewarded. Not just with awards and commendation.
But, with dollars.
Which, these days, is about as inspirational as it gets.