What the price for the attention of the digitally distracted? Two months ago NBC paid out $2 to watch a 30-second trailer for America’s Next Great Restaurant, an offer made to people buying LivingSocial deals. This followed a “buy one, get one free” burrito coupon for Chipotle, awarded to people who watched the same ad on NBC’s Facebook page (Chipotle’s CEO was a judge on the reality contest). Now Facebook is equating the price of attention with Facebook Credits. Watching an ad in a Facebook game earns one Credit, worth 10 cents, which can be redeemed for virtual goods; as Inside Facebook reports, the aim is to get users accustomed to Credits, thus helping developers monetize more game players.
The idea of paying viewers to watch ads in games is not new. When Jun Group, a social video company, started doing it around two years ago, “the results blew us away,” CEO Mitchell Reichgut said in a recent Ad Age column, “Why Everyone Is Going to Start Paying Consumers to Watch Video Ads.” On the more skeptical end of the spectrum, Fast Company warns that “rewarding behavior that would otherwise be done for free can backfire.”
Apps that are free with advertising versus paid without is another way in which the price of consumer attention to ads is being quantified. And last month Amazon released an ad-supported Kindle that’s $25 less ($114) than the regular version, lowering the barrier to entry for the device. A CNET reviewer deemed it an appealing option (“Much to my own personal horror, the ads didn’t bother me at all”). If the so-called Kindle with Special Offers takes off, watch for more subsidized hardware, from phones to tablets—and a growing cohort of consumers who come to expect a little something for their time.
Photo credit: Rennett Stowe