Horizontal image of a man reading a magazine with the front cover cut out so his face is visible| iProspect Global
#Culture

The Quest for Effective Attention

Article has been authored by Jonathan Waite, Solutions Director and Joanne Leong, Solutions Director.

The entertainment, information, and shopping options at our fingertips today are almost unlimited. As a result, our attention has never appeared as atomised. Additionally, with virus confinements blurring the lines between work, family and social life, constant partial attention has seemingly become a default state for most of us.

In order to better comprehend the evolution of people’s attention and understand the relative value of advertising across environments, dentsu is conducting a multi-year research initiative, The Attention Economy. The current findings offer interesting leads to marketers looking to move from optimistic exposure to tangible outcomes.

 

Attention is the First 100% Human Metric

Over recent years, we have witnessed the evolution and disruption of the media ecosystem, yet for the most part the industry has been slow to respond to move the dial on media planning and measurement.  Device metrics such as viewability have served a purpose over the years in helping to establish an opportunity to see and try to create similarities between impressions across different channels.  But ads can be made to artificially fit these standards. They've been a stop gap rather than a measure of meaningful exposure or measure of effectiveness.

 

The entertainment, information, and shopping options at our fingertips today are almost unlimited. As a result, our attention has never appeared as atomised. Additionally, with virus confinements blurring the lines between work, family and social life, constant partial attention has seemingly become a default state for most of us.

 

In order to better comprehend the evolution of people’s attention and understand the relative value of advertising across environments, dentsu is conducting a multi-year research initiative, The Attention Economy. The current findings offer interesting leads to marketers looking to move from optimistic exposure to tangible outcomes.

 

Yet, with consumers who are increasingly savvy about how they consume media, effective media planning is more important than ever to drive cut through. To this end, we believe current metrics and measures of success in media do not go far enough.

 

Crucially, they don't take into account the huge importance of the human experience in media.

 

Through the Attention Economy program, we have been measuring attention to advertising through eye-tracking. Working with a selection of forward-thinking partners, we have established the value of attention as a media effectiveness metric, including how best to measure it, value it, and apply it in practice.

 

In our phase 2 research, we've seen that human attention is not the same as viewability, and that being MRC Viewable does not necessarily mean eyes-on-ads. As such, because they do not fully represent real audience behaviour, sticking to them verbatim may not be a route to improved ROI across advertisers. 

 

Standards such as these potentially further the demand, and therefore the cost inflation of perceived quality media environments leaves on the table potentially valuable inventory for brands seeking to achieve different communication objectives.

 

 

Additionally, when looking at brand metrics like choice and recall, we see that ads that are considered viewable, but not seen have a small impact across both metrics, and the same for the ads that are noticed, but not viewable. Ultimately, to have a strong impact on your brand, it needs to be both viewable and viewedThis reinforces the point that human attention is unequivocally linked to outcomes.

 

We see a pretty strong relationship between increasing seconds of attention to ads and uplifts in brand choice.

 

 

This is why we must plan and buy on attention; it brings us closer to an effective exposure.

 

Developing an Attention Value System

 

Now that we have established how crucial attention is, we want to make it tangible for our teams and clients. We are working in partnership with media owners to ensure we build attention metrics into media frameworks to drive success.  Beyond research and data acquisition, we are also bringing this to life through real campaign activations.  We are doing so in several ways:

 

  • Attention Data and Metrics to Augment Existing Tools: We are building data into our cross-media planning tools such as TV Stack, where planners can optimise towards Attentive Reach and understand the value of that reach through Attentive Seconds.

 

  • New Tools and Services: We are creating custom scripts for DSPs in the programmatic space using Attention Data to create predictive models of expected attention pre-bid.

     

  • Attention-Guaranteed Partner Activations: Our goal is to get all of our AE programme partners (such as Google, Facebook, Snap) to develop a specific attention buying product/solution/creative optimisation. This could be as simple as an attention guarantee or building attention scores/outcomes scores into auction functionality.

 

It is our hope that this work and our continued commitment to change can build a fairer, more sustainable, and effective advertising landscape.  If you would like more information or would like to be involved, please contact us.

 

 

For more insights, download the new Attention Economy report, Unlocking the new currency of Attention, today.