Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How Can And Should Engagement Be Interpreted And Measured As Value?

This was the question asked in a recent interview with Waikit Lau, co-founder and president of ScanScout. Lau was attempting to define how best to simplify online video targeting.

Lau doesn’t believe that there will ever be one uniform metric for engagement. And, perhaps Lau is right. Engagement may well be too complicated a concept to be defined.

But, then again, perhaps the answer is as easy as asking viewers.

In fact, it could be argued that viewers are already telling us. It comes down once again to control. As viewers gain ever more control over what they watch and when, they, not us, define value through their actions.

If they stop watching something, it is probably due to the fact that it has lost value for them.

What does this mean for advertising and the current in-vogue, value-based compensation thinking being touted by Coca-Cola?

If Coca-Cola wants to pay based on value delivered, then length of view of a commercial seems to serve as an objective measure of value. If so, then perhaps Coca-Cola should consider paying for commercial creation based on length of view.

The longer viewers watch a commercial for, the more the agency would get compensated. The opposite would also hold true.

Such compensation models already do exist.

But before these models become mainstream, it will require advertisers to understand that “value” is not just an end product, measured by sales. Value is added, or not added, throughout the selling process.

Each commercial adds value. Or, not.

When viewers watch more of a commercial rather than less, then that commercial had value for those viewers.

Advertisers should pay accordingly.

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