Google was recently granted a patent for what it calls "pay-per-gaze" advertising that will, if created, charge advertisers if a user looks at an ad (online or offline) while wearing Google Glass. The patent would allow Google to collect analytical data, such as how long they viewed the ad and emotional response, and then charge advertisers for that data. There's no guarantee any of this will become a reality, but the premise is fascinating.
Digital: Our Greatest Threat and Opportunity
Digital technology has, without doubt, upended the advertising industry with a proliferation of channels and fragmentation of behavior. Marketers have been challenged by divergent behaviors and what seems to be a never-ending onslaught of channels to reach consumers. Then there's the challenge of consistent measurement across all channels.
One major challenge has been brought about by last-click attribution--the last thing a consumer does before making a purchase is most measurable. However, many marketing efforts may have played a role in generating that purchase, such as a post from a friend on Facebook, an ad on TV and a sponsored piece of content on Twitter. If the last thing the user does is search for the product on Google, search gets most of the credit. We market in a complicated ecosystem and understanding the role every channel plays in driving a purchase can be difficult to ascertain.
Digital technology has created a plethora of channels. Now, technology to measure those channels is starting to catch up, and pay-per-gaze is one example of how this may manifest itself. We'd be able to see everything the consumer sees. While technology has created challenges, it is catching up with itself by providing opportunities to leverage digital channels more effectivley.
Don't Forget the Value Exchange
The combination of something like pay-per-gaze advertising and a high penetration among consumers would be akin to a magic bullet of advertising measurement. But this technology, like any other kind of ad measurement, requires a careful balance from marketers to deliver value in exchange for data. Marketers have, in the past, betrayed consumer trust. As the industry evolves and technology grows more sophisticated, it's the job of marketers to make the most of it without betraying consumer trust.