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What is Engagement, Anyway?
February 7, 2019
By Sarah Chapin

There’s a lot of discussion in the media industry and among advertisers about how many times you really need to reach someone before they actually notice your advertising.  In the crazy, cluttered digital world that we live in some people speculate that an advertiser needs to reach a consumer over 18 times before the notice … maybe as many as 25 or 30 times!  Who really knows?!  There are certainly many variables at play.  The one thing we do know is that the old media rule of reaching someone three times to be effective is out the door.  Unless you know how to do it right!

Let’s face it … consumers are bombarded constantly with advertising.  The challenge of quickly catching a consumer’s attention has been around for quite some time and the whole advertising industry is trying to figure out how to defy these new frequency laws.  Very few advertisers have enough money to reach their consumers 25 times with each ad campaign.  Maybe Amazon does … maybe Comcast … but not the bulk of brands out there.  And even if you reach them 25 or more times, they still may not notice or care about what your brand has to say.

The trick is to break through!  At Explore Communications, we believe strategic media planning and placement can make a big difference in reaching the core consumer the first time, so they actually notice and act on your ad.  The media placement needs to be relevant.  The ad needs to be timely and targeted.  The media dollars need to be spent wisely and effectively so no money is wasted.  The message needs to be on point.

This article talks about the fact that our industry has been trying to measure consumer’s “engagement” with advertising since the 1990’s.  We need a media measure beyond impressions, reach and frequency to quantify advertising effectiveness.  ROI is more than a buzz word nowadays.  It is a required part of every media campaign.  But what does it really mean to be engaged and is that engagement always valuable?  In the PR world, they used to say that any press is good press.  This Media Village article argues that there needs to be a positive attraction in addition to engagement with an ad.  In other words, just because an ad message catches our attention it doesn’t mean we will like it or buy that product.  It may have the opposite effect.  We may run away from it like it’s a lion chasing us!

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