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Why Activision Blizzard Media is using an Attention Measurement Scorecard to raise marketers’ confidence in gaming

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To give marketers a better idea of the reach and power of in-game ads, Activision Blizzard is beefing up its offerings in the field of attention measurement. 

In Q4 of this year, Activision Blizzard Media will start beta testing of a new measurement tool dubbed the Attention Measurement Scorecard. It’s a free attention measurement service offered as an additional benefit for brands advertising within Activision Blizzard Media titles, with the goal of raising brands’ and marketers’ confidence in in-game advertising.

The scorecard combines three pre-existing tools to give marketers a more holistic view of gamers’ attention during ads: gyroscopic data to determine whether users keep their device within a 15 degree range of motion during ads, surveys to determine users’ ability to recall ads and Moat data measuring ad viewability and video completion rates. Activision Blizzard Media will manage the measurement tool, sharing results and campaign analysis with participating clients.

“The entire idea is that we want this to be very turnkey, very efficient — essentially something that we can put onto almost any campaign, which is a big step change in terms of how attention measurement is working right now,” said Activision Blizzard Media vp of global business research and marketing Jonathan Stringfield.

Despite the rising popularity of gaming as an entertainment format in recent years, ad spend in games is not growing as fast as some anticipated, given the hype around in-game advertising during the post-pandemic boom. As the rise of free-to-play games makes secondary revenue streams such as advertising more critical to gaming companies’ bottom lines, many stakeholders in the in-game advertising industry are starting to view accurate attention measurement as the key to convincing brands to buy in.

“In gaming, you need to be immersed in an experience. Another way we’re putting it is letting people play with your brand, rather than just a viewable logo or message on their screen,” said Max Bass, director of emerging connections at Gale. “They’re playing with you, or they are focusing on you for some reason, whether it’s rewarded video or a custom ‘Fortnite’ game. Those are things that get attention.”

Activision Blizzard Media’s efforts to step up its attention measurement tools fit into the advertising industry’s broader flirtation with attention measurement in 2023. The company is part of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Attention Task Force, a platform-agnostic working group formed earlier this year — and the holistic metrics offered by the Attention Measurement Scorecard sound very similar to task force’s approach to attention.

“We’ve identified three different categories. One of them is the physiological or the biometric, which includes neurological tracking, heart rates, eye tracking, et cetera. Then you have your device proxy signals, information sent through by the device or the platform itself. And then the cognitive or emotional, which is your typical brand effectiveness or brand lift studies,” said Angelina Eng, the IAB vp leading the effort. “So we’re looking at all of those three and doing it from the bottom up, rather than defining what attention means.”

The IAB’s Attention Task Force is not specifically geared toward gaming advertising, but it plans to apply its findings to the IAB’s broader efforts to bring order to the gaming advertising world, which also include a general framework for gaming and esports advertising and updated viewability standards for in-game ads.

“It’s the first time we’re going to have agreement between all those intrinsic in-game companies, which is really exciting,” said Zoë Soon, vp of the IAB’s Experience Center. “It’s been really nice to watch them come together to solve an industry issue.”

Activision Blizzard Media’s Attention Measurement Scorecard will initially roll out as a beta product, but the goal is ultimately to attach this type of attention measurement to every ad campaign that uses Activision Blizzard inventory. Developing more robust attention measurement is one of many incremental changes that could help gaming advertising catch up with more well-established marketing channels.

“With a lot of the solutions right now, there’s a lot of up front work required. These are not super scalable, not super turnkey,” Stringfield said. “So we see this as kind of a stopgap. I do not believe that this will be the solution for the industry; however, I believe it is a great solution while the industry gets to a general consensus on what attention means and how it should be measured.”

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