Let’s examine what Rentrak has wrought with their exact commercial ratings announced earlier this month.
What this new data point delivers is the number of actual viewers that were exposed to a specific commercial in a campaign. It also delivers other data points, like letting advertisers know how long viewers watched a specific commercial for.
Now the question is, do advertisers really want to know this?
Consider the safety net that impressions offer an advertiser. Buying five million impressions sounds impressive. Even though every advertiser knows that only 10% of viewers actually spent any time with the commercial, the number they flaunt around is the 5 million.
The beauty of impressions is that they only deliver surface information. So, the CMO who approved the commercial and ran the campaign can always point the finger of blame towards someone else when the campaign doesn't work. After all, five million impressions is five million impressions.
Rentrak is screwing all that up.
Data will now tell the CMO how many people EXACTLY were exposed to the commercial and EXACTLY how long they decided to pay attention to it.
That fickle finger of blame all of a sudden has a new direction to point in. And CMOs aren't going to like that. After all, they approved the campaign, right?
Exact numbers make people accountable.
People don’t like being held accountable.
That said, what advertisers are failing to see is the true beauty in what Rentrak is doing - allowing advertisers to hold their creative agncies accountable for the actual creative they create.
An agency sells a campaign on the basis that it will involve the viewer. Historically, advertisers could never know EXACTLY how long viewers were involved for. Agencies were compensated the same whether everyone paid attention to the commercial or no one did.
These new data points change all that.
A smart CMO would see where this is leading. As would a smart agency. Both should demand that the agency be paid based on how well the creative involves the viewer.
After all, good agencies have always wondered why they can't be paid based on how good they are versus how big.
Well, now they can.
Not in general. But, exactly.