Brands and agencies are turning to attention metrics to drive better business outcomes

Gone are the days when viewability sufficed as a primary currency — the unit of value — for buying and selling ads. Instead, brands are moving toward establishing attention as the new currency as a part of an industry-wide push for measurement tools that focus on whether someone had an opportunity to absorb an ad’s message. While viewability tells advertisers that their ads were in a consumer’s view, it doesn’t provide much beyond that, but attention shows how engaged a consumer was, how they interacted with that ad, etc. 

For advertisers, attention has the opportunity to enhance their outcome-driven media buying. Instead of acquiring media solely based on impressions or reach, they can make purchases by gauging attention generated by an ad campaign. 

One issue with attention measurement is that not everyone defines it the same way, which could be one reason why it’s taking a bit longer for wide adoption. 

For example, Ayal Steiner, executive vice president of brand solutions at Outbrain, defines attention measurement as: “an efficacy score on media. Compared to legacy metrics, it’s a more reliable source for determining if people engaged with your ad and how. Taking it one step further, attention is primed to answer whether that meaningful interaction results in a real business outcome.”

Research increasingly shows a correlation between attention and outcomes throughout the funnel. 

With that in mind, brands and agencies need to understand the metrics that feed into attention as a currency, the data that fuels those metrics and the technology they can lean on to help them further optimize their campaigns with attention in mind. 

Comprehensively measuring attention relies on multiple metrics and data points 

First, it’s essential to identify which metrics quantify attention. Because attention is a compilation of measurements that signal interest and engagement, these can include engagement metrics, conversion rates, bounce rates, completion rates, click-through rates and more. 

Combining multiple metrics helps to provide a more comprehensive view of ad performance and, therefore, attention. 

From there, it’s about ensuring access to the data needed to fuel these metrics — impressions, click data, interaction data, conversion data, contextual data, etc. 

So, for example, to measure engagement, data such as time spent on the ad, the number of interactions — clicks, mouseovers or video plays — and social shares or related comments should be gathered. 

Additionally, data such as attention heatmaps that visually showcase the areas of an ad that see the most attention — which parts a user engages with the most — can help advertisers see where they can improve. Scroll depth can also identify how far a user moved down a page, indicating how much content they actually viewed. 

Some companies are putting these metrics together to effectively measure attention as an output to make it easier on advertisers, but no two are the same. 

“Companies like Adelaide, Lumen, PlaygroundXYZ and AmplifiedIntelligence, all have their own methodology for measuring attention,” Steiner said. “My best advice is to ensure you understand the build of the measurement platform you choose and its focus. Regardless of which one you choose, you will get some valuable insights into the efficacy of your media buying.”

Combining attention metrics with predictive AI technology for campaign optimization

Ingesting attention metrics into predictive AI technology provides an ideal view for marketers looking to optimize their spend toward high-attention environments. 

By combining many of the metrics and data points that fuel them, mentioned above, with predictive AI technologies, advertisers can get ahead — preparing for many users to see their ad and maximize that attention with a strong message and creative. Afterward, they can back up how well the campaign did and how accurate the prediction was with metrics to measure attention. 

For example, Outbrain’s new branding platform leverages the company’s AI-powered prediction technology in a new way: predicting the moments likely to drive attention by ingesting 1 billion context and interest signals per minute. Adelaide’s attention unit (AU) is also integrated into the system to analyze various media quality signals, eye-tracking data and full-funnel outcome data.

“According to previous research conducted by Adelaide, AU measurement and optimization have helped advertisers see an average of 31% upper-funnel and 56% lower-funnel lift,” Steiner said. “In partnership with Lumen, TVision and Amplified Intelligence, Dentsu also released a study proving the direct relationship between ad attention and brand outcomes. 

“Higher dwell times are associated with a greater likelihood to choose and recall a brand’s advertising, showing the impact in the top part of the funnel,” continued Steiner. “By leveraging Adelaide’s expertise and data analysis capabilities, Onyx can provide valuable insights into moments of high attention, optimize ad placements and offer brands a clear understanding of the quality and impact of their advertising efforts.”

Aside from identifying AI technology to lean on when optimizing ad placements for high-attention moments, advertisers should consider these essential tactics, which Steiner lists as a kind of mantra, “Creativity drives attention; interact, don’t interrupt; and optimize in real-time or near-time.” 

To win attention, advertisers need to stand out with creatives that feel less like ads and are more playful and interactive. And by monitoring campaign attention performance as a campaign runs, advertisers can optimize as they see changes in said performance. 

Attention is advertisers’ new currency

As attention continues gaining momentum as a valuable currency for advertisers, teams are working toward understanding the metrics and data points behind this currency to maximize their ad investments.

Viewability metrics can help determine whether to invest in a particular media, but attention metrics address more crucial aspects, such as the level of investment, media performance and the impact of brand messaging on audience attention. With the help of platforms and partners that can offer these insights, marketers can make more confident investment decisions, refine their media strategies to focus on more efficient attention sources and, ultimately, achieve better brand outcomes.

Sponsored by Outbrain

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