Engagement Economy

Buckle up to Cash in on the Engagement Economy

Captive consumers provide unprecedented opportunity for brand engagement

By Cherian Thomas, November 6, 2019

In today’s busy world, where everyone and everything is connected, brand engagement reigns supreme. It’s not enough to passively get in front of consumers with millions of impressions. The Engagement Economy embodies this fundamental shift in relationships between buyers and sellers, where brands must create deep, memorable dialogues. “Reach” is no longer a two-dimensional function of eyeballs touched, but instead a three-dimensional calculation considering the depth of every touch.

Throughout the long history of advertising, brands have fought for consumer attention. Most Americans are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. They pass billboards and wrapped buses on the road, they open their phone to banner ads, social newsfeed ads, and push notifications, and they turn on their TV to find commercials and product placements. This bombardment has led brands to spend even more to ensure their logos rise above the riff-raff. But attention alone no longer wins as brands are side-stepping this vicious spending cycle to focus on quality over quantity, depth over breadth, and engagement over views. 

So how do brands rise above the clutter? They offer deeper levels of interactivity. Sony Pictures used billboard cameras to promote The Emoji Movie by turning bystanders’ faces into emojis, so instead of “passing by”, they stopped to engage with the billboard. More recently, Facebook announced three interactive ad formats for their platform: poll ads, augmented reality ads and playable ads. Now, rather than settling for a 3-second view or a brief ‘like’, brands create useful, playful and memorable moments of consumer engagement. As Facebook says, “these playful formats are serious business.” Consumers want to be involved, so brands earn the highest reward with the least resistance.

People crowd to look at The Emoji Movie's interactive campaign on Ocean’s Eat Street screen.
Photo: Ocean Outdoor UK

But now you may ask, where can you get the best engagement?

You can’t expect consumers to dive into your brand when in the midst of another activity or routine, whether walking to work or scrolling their mobile news feed. Most will walk to the other side of the sidewalk, whether physically or metaphorically, or even pay to have you blocked (Spotify has between 107 and 110 million subscribers willing to pay to avoid ads). Consumers are literally paying to bypass advertisements and choosing to walk on the other side of the street, avoiding the modern-day canvasser. They’ve become smarter and more evasive, and their hatred of ads is changing the entire industry. Brands must offer a new ad experience in a captive and captivating setting. 

For example, when you go to a movie, you’re glued to your chair with eyes fixed on the screen. Perfect! When on an airplane, you’re stuck in your seat with a worn-out Skymall, an awkward conversation, or an interactive screen in front of you. Perfect! There’s a shift in mindset when you’re “buckled in” with limited options; you seek engaging outlets and have time for a brief brand adventure.

The back of a rideshare car is one such perfect setting. Passengers are buckled in and craving engagement. Rather than look out the window, stare at their phones, or make small talk with the driver, they’re reaching up to touch the interactive screen in front of them. They have a healthy appetite for simple, short, and rewarding pieces of content.

At Octopus, we offer a variety of interactive brand experiences, including choose-your-own-adventure videos, polls and brand response games. By offering a playable experience, our partner, 7-Eleven, saw a nearly 5% engagement rate on its 2019 Slurpee game.

Octopus also allows brands to capture the audience they desire most. Mid-day passengers headed to a business meeting or Millenials on a Friday night? Brands choose how and when to engage their target consumers.

In summary, brands are getting smarter and diversifying their marketing mixes to reach consumers outside of traditional over-saturated channels, where the barrier to convince is at its highest while time spent on interaction is at its lowest. With solutions like Octopus rideshare advertising, they’re capturing the most evasive consumers with engaging brand experiences that feel more like fun than ads. Learn more at www.playoctopus.com/advertisers.