May 10, 2011

The new attention economy

Posted by: in North America

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

1 Response to "The new attention economy"

1 | Craig Elimeliah

May 10th, 2011 at 10:11 am

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This concept is one that will redefine advertising as we know it. Making micro buys on individuals and the vast networks they are now part of makes for a much smarter use of ad dollars. When I started Pushkart the core of the idea was to pay consumers with deals so that they may endorse products and services they love.

The consumer is the new voice of advertising and that voice carries a lot of weight in purchasing influence.

Spending ad dollars on the individual rather than the masses makes perfect sense with the infrastructure we have in place today.

Every person is now a channel and can extend a brand communication deeper and in a more personal way than any other medium.

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