Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Three Stages Of Engagement

In the last post, I stated that engagement is creativity.

I still believe that is the case because I don’t believe that advertisers engage with consumers, but rather, that consumers engage with advertisers.

What keeps a consumer engaged with the advertiser is the creativity of the message itself.  In other words, how interesting they find what the advertiser has to say.

I also mentioned that this definition would be too simple to be taken seriously.  And, I’m afraid that I was right.

Because by stating that engagement is creativity, it leaves the publishers and media agencies out of the mix.  How will they capitalize, i.e. make money, on engagement, if all engagement is about is creativity?

That’s a fair point.   So let me break engagement down to three stages.  As you will see, these three stages will allow everyone to make money.

The first stage of engagement is exposure to the message.  Creating exposure is the responsibility of the publisher.  A publisher’s job is to create content that draws a large audience so that more people have the chance to be exposed to the advertiser’s message.

Exposure is a measurement of engagement before initiation.

The second stage of engagement is actual initiation of the message.  This is the responsibility of the media agency. It is based on relevancy.

The publisher creates the audience.  The media agency creates the opportunity for initiation to occur by connecting the right message with the relevant content.  The greater the relevancy, the greater the chance for initiation of the message.

By the way, whether a view is forced or opt-in, the viewer is still in control as to whether they initiate contact with the message.

Initiation is a measurement of intent due to relevancy. 

The third stage of engagement is involvement in the message.  This is the responsibility of the creative agency as I’ve talked about earlier. 

Involvement is a measurement of engagement after initiation.

These are the three stages of engagement:  

Exposure.  
Initiation.  
Involvement.

Each of the three stages allows for measurement.  Which means each stage comes with some accountability attached.

If different entities want to make money on engagement, they have to be willing to be held accountable for the stage of engagement that they are responsible for.

Most don’t want this accountability.

They just want the money.

Which is why engagement is usually defined in vague ways that offers little measurement.

Or, accountability.

I doubt that this will change soon.

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