About eight years ago, Bob DeSena, Mars; Ted McConnell, P&G; Norm Lehoullier, Grey Interactive; Greg Smith, Ogilvy, and I started the project that became known as Consumer Engagement.
Here was the premise: The moment consumers have the opportunity to see an ad, linear or digital, and before they take action of some kind, there is a space which the five of us called The Engagement Zone. In this zone, someone who sees an ad decides, usually emotionally, whether they will engage with the ad and ultimately do something with the information included in the ad.
So, we asked ourselves: What does it take to get a consumer to engage with that ad? Because if they don’t engage, they won’t think better of the product advertised or, worse yet, won’t effect a transaction.
We defined Consumer Engagement as “turning on a brand prospect or a brand user to a relevant message in an appropriate context.” We hoped that creative agencies and marketers would cooperate in understanding the “turn on” factor, then write a creative brief to yield a relevant message … either by rejecting a negative belief or supporting a positive belief.
That never happened.
The media loved Consumer Engagement, but only the “appropriate context” part — unfortunately, without a “relevant message.” Too often you had garbage in, garbage out.
Now that viewability of digital ads is about to happen broadly, there is the opportunity to go back to the “opportunity to see” and ask the question: Does the ad reflect Consumer Engagement?
The measurement of Consumer Engagement is now more possible than it was eight years ago.
Now because companies like Innerscope and Real Eyes offer scalable research tools that can measure emotional response that get at the “turn on” factor.
Industry players – media companies, advertisers, agencies of all types (creative, media, experiential marketing, PR, social) – should get behind the concept of measuring Consumer Engagement. It will make for better messaging of all kinds, not just :30 commercials, not just Rising Star display ads and will make it much more likely that Big Data (which measures where the messaging runs, who sees it and what transactions follow), will be much more effective.
What do you think?