May 10, 2013
You try to frighten me. Admit so, sir. This is some new form of torture.
- Alex in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange
For the last 10 years, media watchers and content creators have been talking about how consumers are time-poor, and advertisers have to fight that much harder to get the attention of consumers. And yet media is not sold based on how much time people spend engaging with the content. I'm not talking about buying a 30-second TV spot, or a 15-second radio ad here. I'm talking about people reading an article and taking the time to comment on it or share, people playing a game and posting a high score, or watching a video – again and again.
Advertisers are still, despite all the research into online habits, buying into supposed impact strategies. The worst of these are homepage takeovers (often found on content site homepages – the traditional portals and media properties). Never mind that the average time spent on these content pages can be fractions of a second. If you go to MSN's homepage, you're probably there to go to Outlook (formerly Hotmail), similarly with Yahoo! or AOL. If you're on a showbiz gossip site like MailOnline, TMZ or DigitalSpy, you’re busy scanning down the page for headlines or images that catch your eye.
And this is where the false logic of numbers comes into play. The unique visitor scores for these kinds of home pages will look reassuringly high, even though there's little quality time spent with the content. Advertisers like the idea of a campaign that's “impactful” (even if it isn't a real word), and by “impactful' they mean big. [Read more at Say Daily's The Week in Venn]