AdAge today highlighted research from Starch Communications which underscored the false notion that users’ engagement with content in any medium determines their engagement with accompanying ads. Various online media outlets even show an inverse relationship between engagement with an online publication and engagement with the ads that surround it. Said Philip Sawyer, senior VP, Starch Advertising Research:
The more involved people are with the content the angrier they will be about ads that distract them from the task at hand.
That’s a common-sense statement, but one that so many advertising and media people conveniently disregard. Engagement should be about context which achieves an optimized or desired result, not the level of involvement of the activity for which you’re interrupted by an advertisement. Consider two extremely involved events: sex and eating. You wouldn’t want to be interrupted during either, would you? Those extreme examples aren’t media contexts — at least marketers don’t consider them to be, not yet — but you get my point.
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