Thursday, November 05, 2009

Time Spent Vs. Impressions

There are a lot of people attempting to figure out what’s going to replace the impression and CPM as the currency for new media. In the running are cost per click, cost per view, cost per install and cost per action. Not surprisingly, all of these are performance-based measures.

And, each have their own unique set of deficiencies.

There is now even a desire for an eGRP, or an Electronic Gross Rating Point system. According to the experts, this will need to be a “time-based” eGRP as opposed to a “reach-based” eGRP.

In other words, an eGRP will focus on consumer time spent at each touch point. The theory is that this will start to offer a scalable metric, now more important than ever due to the continuing fragmentation of the viewing audience.

After all, the objective for most media agencies is to deliver brand messages at scale. With fragmentation, scale is becoming more difficult to come by. Time spent offers an alternative metric that is actually scalable. The fact is, as fragmentation continues to decrease the size of the audience, time spent becomes more and more desirable to advertisers.

To most advertisers, more time spent with their brands is better than less time spent.

But the question remains, who’s accountable for delivering time-spent – the media agency or the creative agency?

What’s slowing down the adaption of time-spent as a metric is that media agencies are trying to figure out how they can buy and sell time-spent? It’s easy when it’s a forced view, i.e. pre-roll, where all control over the advertising is taken out of the hands of the viewer.

In that case, media agencies buy audience or content, just as they’re doing now.

Where the problem lies is with non-intrusive advertising, the type of advertising where the viewers decides whether they watch the commercial or not. And, for how long.

I would argue that in these instance, time-spent is the responsibility of the creative agency.

That they haven’t claimed this as their bailiwick yet is surprising to say the least. Viewer time spent is the one thing creative agencies have ultimate control over.

Much more so than sales.

If creative agencies are going to be held accountable in the digital marketplace, which they are, you would think they would want it to be for something they have control over.

Until media agencies and creative agencies come to the conclusion that time spent is a shared responsibility, we will continue to use the old measurement metrics for this new media.

Regardless how inefficient these metrics are proving to be.

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