The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced a new definition of advertising engagement and identified core metrics for digital and legacy ad engagement across platforms. While acknowledging that there can be no ‘’one size fits all approach’’, for the first time, both buy and sell sides agree on recommendations for metrics in the three categories of engagement: cognitive, emotional, and behavioral/physical. The report, titled ‘’The Advertising Engagement Spectrum: Defining and Measuring Digital Ad Engagement in a Cross-Platform World” builds on the concepts around engagement as outlined in the 2012 IAB report ‘’Digital Ad Engagement: An Industry Overview and Reconceptualization.’’ To summarize, the report draws six key conclusions:
1. Engagement is an extremely complex issue; there is no ‘’one size fits all,’’ and no single approach.
2. It is critical for core metrics of digital advertising engagement to be comparable to other media.
3. The industry needs benchmarks of performance, creating yet another reason to seek consensus on core metrics and definitions.
4. Engagement is driven as much or more by the creative execution as by the media platform.
5. Digital advertising Engagement encompasses more than physical interaction.
6. Social Media is more than a single form of Engagement.
The report articulates the definition of Ad Engagement as: ‘’A spectrum of consumer advertising activities and experiences—cognitive, emotional, and physical—that will have a positive impact on a Brand.’’ The report goes on to propose metrics that should be considered within each of these areas, including measurements of campaign awareness and attribute recall as part of the Cognitive group; brand loyalty and physiological response in the Emotional area; and gaze time and swipes in Behavioral/Physical.
The results and recommendations in the report will serve as the basis for the MRC’s guidance on standardizing Engagement metrics, due later this year as part of the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative. 3MS is a cross-ecosystem partnership to identify and define digital media currencies and the core metrics for planning, buying and evaluating brand advertising across all platforms. The end-goal is to supply marketers with the metrics and models they need to: intelligently allocate their budgets across media, invest more confidently in digital media, and increase accountability, performance, and marketing budgets overall.
“Engagement – whether online or off – is not a single ‘‘event,’’ but more of a continuum of consumer activities, cognitive, behavioral, emotion, around an ad and a brand,” said Sherrill Mane, SVP/Research, Analytics, and Measurement, IAB. “By defining and agreeing upon a clear set of metrics for measuring digital ad engagement that are comparable to other media and can measure uniquely interactive constructs of digital brand ads, we have reached a significant milestone in the 3MS initiative.”
The IAB Executive Working Group was comprised of IAB members. The Agency Advisory Group that participated in developing the paper included representatives from an array of agencies and disciplines within them, and the findings were vetted by selected executive members of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).