Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Does Viewer Time Spent Have To Do With Anything?

I’ve been a proponent of measuring viewer time spent for some time now. The other day, someone asked me why?

Good question.

And, although I’ve probably answered it before, it bears repeating. I feel that viewer time spent has an awful lot to do with branding. After all, branding is about building relationships. And relationships are built through time spent together.

The more time spent together, the stronger the relationship, er, brand.

By optimizing time spent together, advertisers can actually increase the effectiveness of their branding campaigns.

Four other reasons why viewer time spent is gaining in importance.

1.) As the number of impressions continues to fragment, a commercial’s ability to hold an audience takes on an increased importance. Rather than just how many and how often, how long has become an incredibly revealing metric. After all, how long, or viewer time spent, measures the depth of an impression.

2.) Advertising is changing from an industry that has been driven by scarce distribution to one that is driven by scarce attention. Attention has a time variable to it. More time spent with a brand is usually better than less time spent with a brand. It used to be that share of voice led to share of mind which led to share of market. Today, it’s share of time that leads to share of mind and, ultimately, share of market.

3.) Let’s say an advertiser creates a commercial that is 60 seconds long. That commercial has a beginning and an end. In other words, the commercial’s opportunity to engage is 60 seconds. The advertiser pays to have those 60 seconds created and produced. A produced second that is watched offers a better return on investment on monies spent, than a produced second that isn’t watched. I refer to the amount of time that a person spends with a commercial as its Return on Involvement. The higher the Return on Involvement per commercial in the campaign, the higher the Return on Investment in the overall marketing budget.

4. Advertisers are already paying for time spent. That’s right. They’re paying for the amount of time that their agency spent in coming up with the creative and producing the commercial. Rather than paying for the agency’s time spent, i.e. effort, why not pay based on the viewer’s time spent, i.e. outcome?

In a nutshell, measuring and monetizing viewer time spent allows advertisers to build brands on the digital platform while paying for their agency’s creative output on a performance basis.

And that’s what viewer time spent has to do with it.

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