ROA (return on attention) and ROI (Return on investment – The contextonomics of personal relevance.

2011 January 19

Managing an attention economy and filtering out the clutter through personal relevance in the overpour of information, becomes an urgency. In the attention economy our most scarce resource is time. It’s a two headed dilemma:  Am Iwasting my limited attention capacity on things I could do without? Am I missing, in all that noise, things I would have wanted to give attention to?

The answer to both questions is context, personal relevance as a key to web interactions.

Relevant to me.

In my context.

Relevance turns the overwhelming overpour of web interactions into a humanizing selective experience. It’s the difference between searchability and findability, an avalanche of information and a manageable portion where I have my attention focused on what is really of value to me and I where I can selectively communicate.

Relevance is predictive. Based on my past interactions, my next future needs can be attended to. Companies pay a lot to try and get closer to my relevance – so that their offerings surface above the general marketing noise and get my attention. They measure it in terms of ROI (return on investment) – how much will it cost them to reach me, the individual. But once they do, how relevant is their offering to me? Again, the closest they can get through paid targeting is to what I am looking for right now, in search, siloed sites that keep my profile and based on current interactions in social platforms.

As users we want to interact with information that answers a need we have.   For that relevance is key. To date there is no holistic context of me that can capture a full relevance scale and be federated by me. My context is fragmented, dispersed all across the web. From a users’ perspective personal relevance should be viewed from a holistic point of view. There is one me, interacting all over, and not site or service  I have interacted with.

Relevant to me  is what will grab my attention the most and will turn my attention into an ROA ( return on attention) for my personal measuring scale. Once my relevant context (my data) is established, my attention can be bartered, treated  as an alternative currency – the economics of context – Contextonomics.

Contextonomics is the economic model for attention bartering. It means exchanging consumption of digital goods or services with attention.

To achieve a high ROA I will be willing to view offerings, communications and targeted ads based on their relevance to me. To achieve an effective ROI companies will be willing to invest in context based food chains that get them there.

In the vision of the semantic web, adding my context as a factor in the targeting and matching process changes the results, a transformation from searchability to findability, based on individual context. I can ask the world and the world will answer – but will it answer me in my particular colors, language and frame of mind. Providers will have to negotiate with me, or my avatars, based on my context.

 New food chains can be built around that ROA-ROI equilibrium. The traditional foundation of transactions will be reversed. Rather than a vendor negotiating with a cloud of users, it will be anchored in a pull model, where the user negotiates with a cloud of vendors for  similar offerings and a variety of  paying methods, in hard currency or attention equivalents.

From the economic sense of relevance based transactions, a pull based user relevant food chain, it means that each transaction executed, can be monetized in full and paid directly or traded, fully or partially, for alternative service. Providers will have automated context based offerings and banks of advertising, ads will be pulled and the advertiser rewarded for each ad sent in a pull model to a viewer. One consumer, one movie to watch for 50% discount + 3 ads that may targeted to interests and lifestyle, or one movie to watch full price = same value, but not necessarily same interest.  Yet, choice, value and preferences are individual.


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