Critical as it has become to many online marketing strategies, “engagement” remains an inadequately defined and misunderstood concept.
With that in mind, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, along with Radar Research, recently set out to clear up the matter of engagement.
What did they find? For starters, that the much-used term actually describes three distinct phenomena, including “ad engagement,” “content engagement,” and “audience engagement.”
To assess ad engagement, marketers need to review whether ad creative is compelling, and whether consumers interacted with ads in some way.
Judging content engagement involves determining which content is most captivating on a site, while measuring audience engagement means identifying which viewers are paying the most attention, and are contributing to the conversation.
Those preliminary findings, however, are just the tip of the engagement iceberg, according to Sherrill Mane, SVP of Research, Analytics and Management at the IAB.
“For too long the concept of ad engagement has confounded stakeholders across the media landscape,” said Mane.
“With the advent of digital analytics and highly sophisticated technologies for measuring user interactions, the engagement landscape has become overcrowded with hundreds of metrics that may or may not have value in understanding the effectiveness of ads.”
The IAB and Radar Research also outlined three major categories of engagement, which they suggest can be the basis of a new paradigm for defining what interactive ad engagement is and how it works.
The IAB’s report, titled “Digital Ad Engagement: Ad Industry Overview and Reconceptualization,” is also serving as a launching point for the creation of a new IAB Research Council working group, which will be formed in 2013 to define a forward-looking ad engagement paradigm.
“We look forward to taking the insights … to the next level, establishing practical definitions for practical knowledge about how digital advertising engages users and why that matters,” Mane said.