The talk today is all about time-shifting. This is thanks to DVRs, VOD, TiVo, etc.
Time-shifting is an industry term. That’s because time-shifting is a feature, not a benefit. I don’t know of many people who sit down in front of their TV and say, “Honey, let’s time-shift “Desperate Housewives, okay?”
The benefit that time-shifting offers to consumers is time optimization.
In fact, the benefit of any advertising to any consumer is time optimization. If the commercial is about something I’m interested in, in other words, if it’s worth my time, I’ll watch it.
Time-shifting, per se, isn’t an advertising problem. It’s a media problem. Media can no longer control who watches what when. This pisses them off.
Time optimization is a problem that advertisers deal with with every ad they create. Is this ad worth the consumers’ time?
Today, we use the term “engagement” to signify time optimization. Did the consumer “engage” with the advertising?
To me, this just confuses the issue. Rather than talking engagement, what every advertiser should ask before approving any ad or commercial is simply this.
Is this ad or commercial worth the consumers’ time?
If time optimization is what the consumer is looking for, then what needs to shift is the industry’s attitude about what is important to the consumer.
Interrupting a viewer’s programming is not time optimization for the consumer. It only serves to make a 20-minute program 30 minutes long. Consumers optimize their time by going to the bathroom. Or, channel surfing. Or, with today’s technology, time-shift.
Next time an advertiser sits down with his or her agencies, be they media, creative or digital, the brief should be simple.
Create and place advertising that optimizes my current and potential customers’ time.
Advertisers should then pay their agencies based on how well they do just that.
In the digital marketplace, advertising is no longer about share of voice leading to share of market. It's about share of time leading to share of market. By optimizing a viewer's time, advertisers will optimize share of market, i.e. sales.
The digital monetization strategies employed by advertisers with their agencies should be taking this into account.