Thursday, October 29, 2009

Should Publishers Be Selling Data Or Impressions Or Engagements?

The article written by Joe Marchese this week – Never Buy On CPM Alone - raises a lot of interesting questions. The primary one being who’s responsible for engagement in a video commercial – the publisher or the creative agency?

I think most people would say the answer is both. The publisher is responsible for delivering people to the message. The creative agency is responsible for involving people in the message.

And yet, engagement is usually talked about as something that is solely the responsibility of the publisher. So much so that the word “engagement” has been reduced to meaning clicking on the ad. VideoEgg sells on a cost per engagement basis. If a person clicks on the commercial, Videoegg makes money.

Fine. But is that really the best that we can do? Doesn’t the length of the engagement have anything to do with the effectiveness of the message?

Common sense seems to indicate that a thirty-second spot watched for thirty seconds delivers more value to the advertiser than a thirty-second spot watched for five seconds.

So, who then is responsible for the length of the engagement?

It has to be the creative agency, doesn’t it? If so, then why aren’t advertisers holding their creative agencies accountable for such? Why do they continue to pay their agencies the same whether the data says viewers watched, on average, 10% of the commercial, or 90%?

The key word in that previous sentence is data. And maybe what needs to happen is that publishers need to stop selling impressions or engagement or click-thru's and simply start selling data.

Raw, unadulterated data.

Advertisers will buy different sets of data for different purposes – sometime to hold their media agencies accountable – other times to hold their creative agencies accountable.

What publishers need to figure out is how to market their data differently. In other words, what publishers need are data differentiation strategies.

It’s not unlike how marketers sell products. They show consumers how to use their products in a way that delivers a benefit to the consumer.

Publishers need to be able to show how different sets of data offer different sets of benefits to their consumers – the advertisers.

Doing so will allow them to develop multiple revenue streams.

Something that is becoming more and more critical in this time of falling CPMs.

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