While we don’t yet know what their definition will be, what we do know is that the IAB believes that engagement goes beyond what we think about an ad and includes what we feel towards an ad, and, even how we physiologically react to said ad.
Yep, you can bet the definition that they’ll soon be sharing with us is going to be a doozy. And remember, they’re doing this so that it will be easier for the industry to measure engagement, and, of course, monetize it.
If you want easy, here’s an easy definition.
Engagement is creativity.
The more creative the ad, the better it is at telling a story, chances are, the more engaging—cognitively, emotionally and physiologically—it will be.
There are two jobs any ad and/or commercial must do. First, is to stop those who are exposed to it to want to read and/or watch it. Not force them to watch it. But make them want to watch it.
Second, is to motivate them to consider the product.
The longer they read or watch, the greater the chance that motivation will occur.
I've always figured that purposely reading or watching something was a form of engagement. By the way, the Merriam-Webster definition of engagement is to hold the attention of, or, to induce to participate.
So what exactly allows an ad or commercial to hold the attention of someone or induce that someone to participate?
The trouble with defining engagement as creativity is that we really can’t measure creativity. But we can measure what creativity first needs to do if it is going to have a chance to hold the attention of anyone.
And that’s to involve someone in the story that’s being told.
On a very basic level, that can be measured by how long a viewer chooses to spend with a commercial.
Which means one thing.
It will never work.