Remember 2015’s Future of StoryTelling Summit Speaker, Joe Marchese?

Marchese said, “Advertising is the transfer of attention, from something they desire to do, to a paid message.” Great content generators and great storytellers are paid to gather a large audience and capture their attention. However, the evolution of media is faster than advertising, and always has been. You know the cliche “time is money”? That’s pretty much what the marketing conversation was last year. So many screens, so many users, so much content being created nonstop. Everyone is generating it, everyone is a content producer now. Despite this, a user does not have as many opportunities to pay attention to content throughout their day. This poses an issue. People have more opportunities to opt out of ads and pay for services that block ads or eliminate them entirely, because as the consumer, your time is money. So what’s the price?

Historically, ads were based on a reach frequency model. A user would be exposed to an ad multiple times, to make sure the user sees it as much as possible and is able to recall it. And then there’s the whole “waste” factor, which means that the person who might be getting exposed to the ad is not even the person your message is targeted to.

So if we can improve targeting, we can reduce the waste. If we can integrate interactivity, we can increase message recall. This means we don’t have to show an ad multiple times to someone, so the ad load is tolerable. The advertiser gets their return, the user gets their content, and the publisher gets an overall better experience.  Win, win, win.

Marketing and media buying do not properly value human attention. A typical CPM rate for a 30 second ad shown a thousand times is $30. That’s 3 cents per person, which adds up to $3.60 an hour of ads. If that’s how much a marketer values your hour, it’s no wonder users are buying back their time and investing in ad-free premium subscriptions, DVRs, etc.  Your attention is not valued, but your opportunity for attention is valued.

As a copywriter, this is all pretty bleak. However, there is a solution: guaranteed attention. We can move the conversation from constantly lowering CPM rates to a conversation about guaranteeing the right audience and the great experience and higher rates that properly value the viewer’s time.  Fewer ads, better ads, more interactivity, more immersion, more engagement = a better experience for all. It’s all about the UX.