Wednesday, October 31, 2012

From Buying Commercial Time To Buying The Viewer’s Time

We’re all pretty certain that impressions are a rather poor way to judge the effectiveness of an ad campaign. 

The reason that we haven’t gone to anything else is because impressions are easy to execute.  After all, the entire media ecosystem has been set-up to buy and sell impressions.   And, since they are efficient to buy, really, who cares about effectiveness?

I do.  As, I would assume, do most advertisers.  They don’t like the ineffectiveness of impressions.  They just don’t know what else to buy.

Here’s an idea.  Instead of buying commercial time, what if they also bought the viewer’s time?

Is there a difference?   Certainly.  An impression is paid for whether anybody actually watches the commercial or not.  An impression is what happens outside of the video.

A viewer’s time is what happens inside the video.  Did the viewer watch all thirty seconds of the commercial?  Or, only ten seconds of it?

I’m assuming that most advertisers would rather have thirty seconds watched rather than ten.  

So, how do advertisers pay for a viewer's time?  

Well, view duration is now measurable when the viewer is allowed to initiate the view.  The digital data can tell advertisers exactly how long viewers watched their commercial for. 

The way advertisers pay for it is through their creative agency.  They pay their creative agency based on how long viewers are involved in the commercial for.  The longer viewers are involved, the more the agency makes.

The opposite also holds true.

The big upside to this is not only for advertisers – they finally get to hold their creative agencies financially accountable for creating work that involves people - the upside is also for publishers.

Currently, publishers sell data (impressions) to media agencies.  By selling the viewer’s time, they can also sell data (view duration) to creative agencies and advertisers.

Publishers have always had this data.  

They just haven’t known how to sell it.

In other words, it's always been efficient.  But not very effective.

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