By now, we all know that the number of “likes” that a brand gets is virtually irrelevant.
Unfortunately, the way the industry currently defines “engagement” makes that term virtually irrelevant as well.
“Liking” a brand takes milliseconds with very little thought involved. Engagement is something that is created over time. And, time can be measured on the digital platform.
The problem with “engagement” is that the industry still considers it to be a term that somehow defines media effectiveness. I think that engagement, the length of time that someone interacts with a brand, is a measure of creative effectiveness.
Media gets the horse to water, so to speak. Creative makes the horse drink. How long the horse drinks is dependent on two things. How thirsty the horse is. And how good the water tastes.
It has nothing to do with the getting the horse to the water.
Maybe this year – and we can always be optimistic at the start of a year – the industry will come to some agreement that while reach is the responsibility of media, building a relationship – measured as time spent - is the responsibility of creative.
Engagement is a measurement of time spent with the brand. The more time spent, the stronger the relationship. Otherwise, why would someone spend their valuable time with the brand?
The onus of creating this time spent resides in the hands of the agencies to create the kind of stuff that people actually want to spend time with.
Media gets them there. Creative keeps them engaged.