Monday, October 24, 2011

Is Mouse Hovering The Answer?

A company called Moat, has launched a new engagement currency focused on mouse hovering.

Mouse hovering offers heat map-focused analytics. This is supposed to eliminate clicks as the currency of choice.

Obviously, with less than 1% of web surfers clicking on display ads, a new currency is desperately needed.

The question is, is the answer mouse hovering?

According to Moat, mouse hovering serves as a proxy for attention. Their argument is a good one. After all, you can’t move your mouse unless you’re looking where you’re going.

What Moat has found is that while only 1% of users might click on an ad, 10% mouse over the ad and 3% drag their mouse over the ad for a significant amount of time.

Is it perfect? Probably not.

Is it an improvement? Probably so.

Proxies for attention are the best the industry can do at the moment while it searches for new currencies of engagement.

But before the industry can come to any conclusions regarding currencies of engagement, it first needs to decide whether engagement is driven by media, or creative, or the consumer.

The answer is that engagement is driven by the consumer. The consumer engages with the advertising. The advertising doesn't engage with the consumer. That's the basis behind this whole idea of control shifting to the user on the digital platform.

Engement is something that users initiate.

What stimulates their initiative is the creative. Media is just a carrier.

If attention (or engagement or whatever the hell you want to call it) is the objective, then the industry will need two different currencies going forward.

A new currency for media to replace impressions.

And, for the first time, a creative currency.

Perhaps this is what Moat is truly offering when it comes to display ads – a creative currency.

But does this translate to commercials? Absolutely.

Basically, Moat is acknowleding the element of time spent with an ad to validate its worth.

With commercials, it’s even easier. A commercial has a set length, thirty seconds, etc. How much of a commercial is viewed is completely measurable online.

The longer viewers spend with a commercial, the more value that commercial offers to the advertiser. At least in regard to monies spent to create the commercial.

Which is why viewer time spent is the currency of creative for video advertising online.

Moat is now trying to prove for display ads what is already known for video advertising.

And, in the process, what is slowly becoming accepted about online advertising in general.

It's not share of voice that leads to share of mind and ultimately, share of market.

With online advertising, it's share of time that leads to share of mind.

And, ultimately, share of market.

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