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The Millennial’s Metric: Return on Ego
By: Cameron Kirkwood
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I love attending summits and industry panels. If even just a little, there is always an opportunity to learn and walk out with some new knowledge. Maybe it’s just me, but it always seems to be the unplanned, spontaneous discussions about something that no one ever seems to pay as much due as I do that stand out the most.

In this case, it’s what I call the metric of the millennial. I attended the Local Video Summit this last Friday at the Times Center in NYC. The event was being hosted by Yashi, a frontrunner in the video advertising industry.

The second panel discussed local video and the state of the industry, occasionally bringing in personal stories about work experiences or their time spent in agencies. One of these stories diverged into an interesting point on an offset of ROI. Quite jokingly, they mentioned how a client’s ROI sometimes seems to be how many times their face gets on TV. A return on ego.

“It’s funny that you mention that,” said Scott Hoffman, previous Ogilvy employee and President of Yashi. “I once had a car dealership client who just kept investing more and more money into exactly that — something about that feeling of ‘you made it.’ You know, something that you can be proud to show your nephew. Uncle Jack’s on TV!”

Return on ego. Hmm. Don’t you think we can take that so much further? Maybe take into consideration the face of the millennial. “Heavy entertainment consumption and self-absorbed.”

It’s a very real thing now that a campaign’s objectives include to “increase Instagram followers” or “achieve X number of retweets.” While a somewhat naïve notion, it has become a staple in the industry and the world itself.

I once did some work for a place that invested a fair amount of money into a click farm for a larger Twitter following. While it increases standing and may even increase your brand image enough to invite more of a future following, the bottom line remains that you will acquire no engagements, no click-through rates, no profit from this endeavor.

Sure, if you invest literal thousands to get a strong 100K+ “following,” you will definitely get the average ignorant social surfer to go “Wow, these guys must be the real deal!” But do you really think Joe’s Autoparts will get anything out of little Timmy’s vigorous interest?

Regardless of whether or not the act is prosperous, the truth of the matter is that ROE is a real thing. Once agencies start picking up on it, I think we may just have whole new media buys on our hands.

And I think it won’t be long.

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About the Author
Cameron Kirkwood is a recent graduate, but a forever student of advertising. An aspiring brand strategist and digital aficionado, Cameron seeks to change the game through new and different channels of advertising in an ever extensively growing industry.
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