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Q&A: Ian Gibbs on how Guardian value the engaged user

Ian Gibbs Guardian Commercial Planning MgrGuardian News & Media Commercial Planning Manager Ian Gibbs is speaking at our next event: AOP Research Forum: Meeting the challenge of changing consumer behaviour on 14 November. Alongside Google Product Marketing Manager, Mark Risely & Carat Digital Strategy Director, Anne McCreary, Ian will discuss Engagement: What's in it for advertisers?. 
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What are the challenges of changing advertisers and agencies attitudes towards engagement?

I think the biggest challenges in changing attitudes comes from proving what the value of an engaged audience is for advertisers. It's all well and good media owners talking about how amazingly engaged their audience is versus the competition, but if we can't prove how that translates in to return for advertisers it becomes pretty meaningless.

What do you think are the most significant elements to consider?

Everyone measures media engagement differently and there's no silver bullet for definitively saying what is and what isn't a measure of engagement. What we can do however is measure which measures of media engagement are most important in relation to advertising effectiveness - and that will undoubtedly differ by type of website, although some commonalities are bound to exist. Ultimately measuring both attitudes and behaviours is key and a combination of surveyed and analytics data is essential.

How difficult is it to move from traditional response measures to engagement measures and why?

I'm not entirely sure you should as different campaigns have different objectives.  If a campaign is a purely DR then there's nothing wrong with judging its success with click-through rates. That said, there are still too many non DR campaigns being judged by their click through rates, and there is still plenty of work to be done proving the branding impact of online ads on the 99.9% of consumers who don't click on them. Media engagement provides another lens to be used alongside traditional planning metrics when planning brand campaigns online.

Are agencies and advertisers equipped to build engagement measures into their planning processes?

Probably not as much as they'd want to be, but as an industry we're moving in right direction by having these sorts of discussion. A great point to get to would be to build a cross platform market wide engagement planning tool that takes in to account the relationship between ad effectiveness and cross media engagement.

  Find out more/ Book your place– free for publisher members