Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Does Engagement Equal Effectiveness?

Is a commercial that isn’t watched effective?

The media folks in our business continue to claim that this is so for obvious reasons. Their job is to get the commercial in front of people. Whether a commercial's actually watched or not isn’t really their bailiwick.

Yet, still, they want to claim that they deliver engagement.

I, of course, have been arguing for some time now that engagement isn’t a media issue, it’s a creative issue. That the program that people are watching has no bearing on how long they’ll spend with a commercial.

Does this mean that if they watch a commercial they’ll go out and buy the product? Of course not. That said, the odds are greater than if they don’t watch the commercial.

But where there is a direct correlation between engagement and effectiveness is when advertisers base their creative agency’s pay on how long the spot engaged the viewer.

The average :30 commercial costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $360,000 to produce. This comes out to $12,000 per produced second.

There are direct costs involved in production that need to be paid whether the commercial is watched or not. But the profit paid - to both the production company and the creative agency – could be based on engagement.

The agency creates and sells a thirty-second spot to the advertiser. The advertiser should at least expect that the spot will be engaging to the targeted audience. After all, engagement is really a big part of what they’re paying their agency for.

So why not let the agency (and production company) profit from how well they did their job? The better the spot engages the relevant viewer (measured as view duration), the more the production company and creative agency would pocket.

The less engaging the commercial, the less the agency and production company makes. Which means, the less it would end up costing the advertiser to produce.

By tying profit into engagement, the advertiser will allow engagement to directly correlate to effectiveness.

Not only theirs.

But their agency’s as well.

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