Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Engagements Will Be The Internet's 30-Second Spot
By Joe Marchese
Six weeks ago I wrote "I'm Sold On Engagement." In the post I proposed that, "given the proper definition and standardization, engagement can provide the right baseline for marketers to plan, buy and measure brand campaigns online."
After reading Brian Morrissey's March 23 piece titled "Making More Than a Good Impression," and speaking with Randall Rothenberg, head of the IAB and author of the must-read blog on interactive advertising "I, A Bee," I felt there were a few points I wanted to reiterate about engagement as the future base metric for branding online.
Providing a base: In order to use the term "engagement" in a meaningful way, we have to set universal parameters for what would constitute an engagement. There will need to be standard sizes for engagement units, as well as the ability for said engagement units to support a basic level of interaction "in unit."
Using the medium to its fullest: Supporting interaction in unit is potentially the most important aspect -- as interaction is a, if not the key, attribute of the interactive medium. Television's 30-second spot guaranteed that marketers had sight, sound and motion with up to 30 seconds (depending if they hooked the viewer) to deliver a brand experience. With engagements, marketers should be guaranteed the ability to use sight, sound, motion and interaction with a nearly unlimited amount of time, depending on how compelling their creative is, to deliver their brand message.
Time spent as a function of creative: This means that "time spent" within engagement units becomes a function of creative, not necessarily a metric that online publishers sell. The truth is, this is a blended responsibility. If a publisher is sending "bad" traffic to engagement units, or tricking people into clicking on engagement units, then it is hard to judge the impact of creative on time spent. This is why testing across multiple channels will be important. Marketers will be able to see if time spent with engagement units is better from one publisher or another given the same creative. This will give marketers a way to evaluate channels as never before, and finally assign the proper value to the proper sources.
ROI is a shared responsibility: Much like time spent, ROI on engagement is a blend between the quality and the manner in which people are led to engagements, as well as the impact of the creative execution. Again, maximizing this would require that an agency can compare across channels/publishers to be able to isolate whether the variable is the quality of engagements a publisher delivers, or the quality of the engagements' creative. The key is to compare more than time spent, utilizing the interactive nature of the engagment unit. Marketers should look to tie engagements directly to changes in brand perception, purchase internet and, in the end, purchase decisions.
Engagements won't be all that matters: Just because engagements are the purchase metric, and the core driver of value, marketers will have to look at all aspects of value delivered alongside engagements. How many impressions did your brand receive in order to drive the engagements? Did engagements result in additional exposure through "pass along" in social media (news feeds, etc.)?
Most of what I outline above is restated from my article that I cited above, but with a little different structure. I still don't think it is outlined fully, and it will be up to third-party standards boards, like the IAB and SMAC to help create an effective currency for the industry.
What else to we need to consider in standardizing engagements? Tweet me here and/or comment below.
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Joe Marchese is President of socialvibe.
Online Spin for Tuesday, April 7, 2009: