Friday, January 27, 2012

Engagement: Defined.

Engagement is a word that is being bandied about these days with little agreement as to what it actually means.

Yesterday, CIMM (Coalition For Innovative Media Measurement) came forward with a definition of engagement in a commercial.

Here it is:

The amount of attention and involvement a viewer gives to an advertisement. The greater the attention and involvement, the more likely that viewer will retain memories and will feel more predisposed to that product that is advertised.

What I find fascinating about this definition is that according to CIMM, engagement can be measured as an amount. The amount of attention and involvement a viewer gives to an advertisement.

Which means if we are going to measure engagement in a commercial, we can start by measuring attention to a commercial.

Can we do that?

Forced attention, in the way of forced views, obviously won’t work. The attention given has to be in complete control of the viewer. Otherwise, how can you prescribe any viewer involvement to the attention given?

But when the viewer is allowed to opt-in and out of a commercial of their own volition, then yes, it appears that attention is measurable.

What CIMM's definition also seems to imply is that how long a consumer stays “engaged” is entirely dependent on the creative itself. Once a consumer opts in to watch, the media that got them there becomes irrelevant.

Engagement, in other words, is primarily the responsibility of creative, not media.

What makes this interesting is this. As we all know, what can be measured can be monetized. And since we can measure attention, it means we can monetize engagement

And since engagement is the responsibility of the creative, if an advertiser wants to hold their creative agency financially accountable for delivering engagement, they should be able to do so.

Will agencies agree to this?

Ninety-nine percent of agencies will not (at least not initially). Why? Simply because they know their work isn’t very engaging.

As for the 1% who will.

More on that next time.

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