Procter & Gamble put some teeth behind the engagement concept this week with a media brief issued to online publishers in the UK. P&G announced it will pay publishers more money for “engaged” users as tracked by specific metrics — for example, consumers who sign up for newsletters or watch videos after the initial ad impression. The move is really a pay-for-performance play, focused on the conversions of people to action and not the oft-fictitious CPMs or fraud-laden CTRs.
P&G has serious clout; it is the world’s No. 1 advertiser, dropping more than $9 billion annually to push brands such as Crest, Tide and Pampers. But not everyone believes the model will stick. Nick Suckley, co-founder of media shop Agenda21, told New Media Age he thought cost-per-engagement online ad models may be slow to take off in the absence of hard, consistent metrics across the industry. “The point is how can you measure the real effect of someone engaging?” he said. “It’s impossible.” We expect publishers to push back as well; charging only for the ads that truly work will expose marquee web sites as having a boatload of ad inventory that often doesn’t work well at all.