Thursday, July 12, 2007

Measuring the value of an engaged viewer

Yesterday I posted a blog article on the WireSpring weblog about a Mediaedge:cia study examining how people devote some (or occasionally all) of their attention to different media. Their findings suggest that most of us are in a nearly-constant state of partial attention -- while we may appear to be focused on the task at hand, we're always leaving our eyes and ears open for something more interesting to focus on. Of course this has pretty severe implications for all forms out out-of-home media, since posters, digital signs and in-store audio systems all vie for little bits of our attention while we're focused on navigating aisles, looking for products, and generally, just shopping.

The research makes this article at Advertising Age (and the above image borrowed from the same) all the more interesting. According to Omnicom's OMD research group, a single "engaged" viewer of a medium (in their case, the one studied was regular TV) is worth eight regular viewers. From the article:

The research indicates that not only does consumer engagement with media and advertising drive sales, but it also can drive sales more than media spending levels. That suggests even a relatively small media outlay could work wonders should the ads draw keen attention from consumers within media they also find engaging, said Mike Hess, director of global research and consumer insights for OMD.
Granted Hess noted that more research needs to be done to establish a link between engagement and actual sales lift, which is really thing I found most interesting about this research. Normally we can take some research done for TV advertising, and without too much work we can figure out (or guesstimate, anyway) the implications for retail media networks.

But with this study, that's not exactly true. For example, we already know that there's a strong link between viewer engagement with a digital signage network and sales lifts for advertised products. Likewise, we know that the percentage of digital signage viewers that make a purchase
is muchhigher than TV viewers watching a commercial, but of course that's at least partially because of the psychological state of the viewer, the contextual relevance of the ad and the proximity of the ad to the advertised product.

Then, of course, there's the question of how to measure "engagement" in a retail environment. OMD used its own proprietary engagement measure, which primarily links how much people say they like an ad to an overall notion of advertising engagement. At retail, exit interviews, retail ethnographers or electronic glance tracking devices could all be deployed to try and measure engagement, and I'd guess that all three methods would yield different results.

So in the end, is an engaged viewer at retail really worth the same as eight not-engaged ones? I'd guess that if anything, the value is actually quite a bit higher since engaged viewers are already primed to purchase.

What do y'all think?

Tags: viewer engagement, advertising, marketing at retail, digital signage

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