Sunday, October 16, 2011

What The Online Creative Revolution Is Forgetting

In a recent Advertising Week Panel, industry experts were once again talking about the Online Creative Revolution.

And, once again, they were missing the most important point.

The experts were from AdKeeper, R/GA, Yahoo, JetBlue and PointRoll. All brilliant in their respective fields. And, all talking about how data and creative are now working hand-in-hand.

So, what were they missing?

The data they were all most interested in is the data that allows the platform to serve more relevant advertising to viewers. The argument being that the more relevant the creative is, the better the creative will work.

And, that may well be true.

But what’s also true is that the more relevant the creative is, the smaller the audience becomes. So while we continue to fine tune data to allow us to slice and dice the audience, the question becomes this.

How do we continue to pay to create great creative for smaller and smaller audience?

Creative today is paid for by reach. The more people that will have the chance to see a commercial, the easier it is for the advertiser to pay the big bucks to make it great.

In other words, it’s easier to pay $500,000 for a :30 spot that will run in front of 30M viewers than it is for a :30 spot that will run in front of 30 thousand viewers.

The problem is that if relevancy is the goal, than 30 thousand viewers is more likely than 30M. The more tailored the creative becomes, the smaller the number becomes that will see it.

When reach diminishes, what will allow us to underwrite the creation of the commercials?

The answer is data. But data that truly reflects on how effective the commercial has a chance of being.

What type of data is this? Time spent data.

Say a commercial is thirty seconds long. Do you think the commercial has a better chance of being successful if viewers watch all thirty seconds than if they just watch five seconds of the spot?

Every advertiser I’ve spoken to has said “yes”.

Would an advertiser pay more for a spot if they knew that all the people who started to watch the spot watched more of it rather than less of it?

Every advertiser I have spoken to has said “yes”.

In other words, great creative in the future will need to be underwritten by time-spent data rather than reach data (impressions). The longer viewers watch, the more the advertiser pays for the creative.

Rather than how many see a spot, creative will be justified by how long viewers are engaged with it.

The ad industry’s mantra today is “right message/right place/right time”.

What’s missing from that mantra is “right data.”

Without it, we’ll certainly be talking to the right people in the right place and at the right time.

But, without the right message.

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