In a recent article, a writer made the argument that completion rates were only half the battle.
His argument is valid. While a commercial may have been run through to completion, there is no proof anyone was paying any attention.
What this writer throws out is a concept called “time earned”, describing it as a measure of how much opt-in time the viewer choses to spend with the brand content.
The important word here is “chooses.” As in, the viewer is in control.
If we give viewers control to opt-in and out of commercials at their whim, we will get a true “time earned” metric. What we will loose is the big number that is currently the completion rate number.
The problem with this is that the ad industry likes big numbers. They may mean nothing, but because they’re big, they let everyone sleep better.
Even though we all know that they're worthless numbers at best.
My feeling is that time earned will soon be proven as the number that mostly closely relates to sales earned.
The reason is because there is only so much time in a day. And, the more time the consumer spends with one brand’s advertising, the less time they have to spend with the competitor’s advertising.
The more familiar they are with a product or brand, the more likely they are to buy it.
That seems like a pretty good reason for advertisers to want to know how much time their advertising is actually earning.
There is another reason, though, which may be even more important. Once they know how much time their advertising is, or isn't, earning, they can start to hold their agencies accountable for creating time earned.
The more time earned, the more the agency should earn.
Time has always equaled money.
In the digital future, this will prove to be more true than ever.