Modern Marketing Brand Strategy Data & Privacy

Attention, please! Advertising has a new currency

By Elliott Haworth | Writer

January 31, 2022 | 6 min read

Sponsored by:

What's this?

Sponsored content is created for and in partnership with an advertiser and produced by the Drum Studios team.

Find out more

‘Overexposure’ can take many forms – from Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson’s 12 films per year, to burning oneself on a sunny day, or not quite knowing how a manual camera works. With every degree of overexposure, the subject matter gets a little worse; a little more damaged, a little less relevant and enticing. Advertising today is suffering the same fate.

Advertising has a new currency

Advertising has a new currency

“Over the last 20 years, we've spent a lot of time, energy, technology and investment in trying to think of ways in which we can engage and have a more personalized approach with consumers,” says Nick Reid, senior vice-president and managing director EMEA, DoubleVerify, speaking at The Drum Predictions 2022 Festival. “Rather than delivering a relevant experience, we've delivered overexposure.”

This, Reid believes, has contributed to the current regulatory and operational climate the industry finds itself in, with cookie deprecation and GDPR exemplar of the pushback brands and advertisers are facing. “In a world where it's free and easy for the consumer to turn off ads, it's a reflection on how we've actually overexposed these consumers,” he said.

Where once the goal for agencies and their partners may have been exposure, today it is shifting to attention, Reid believes. “When you're being delivered 10,000 ads a day, yes, there's exposure. But what are those ads actually doing? How are they actually driving engagement? How are they driving attention?”

Simply exposing a consumer to ads across every touchpoint is not the same as engaging them – as getting their attention. This overexposure is often complemented by poor measurement. But Reid is optimistic that this perfect storm has created “an opportunity to recalibrate how we measure our investment.”

The authentic ad

Before one can even begin to think about attention, ensuring a high level of media quality – brand safety and brand suitability – must be one’s priority.

“It’s what we call the ‘authentic ad’,” he says, explaining that while ‘media quality’ is nothing new, what DoubleVerify considers an authentic ad encompasses metrics specific to brand safety and suitability, viewability, fraud-free, and proximity to a geolocation.

“All those elements are not independent of each other… they need to be overlaid across each other. And that, for us, is an authentic ad or an authentic impression”.

This authentic ad is the absolute baseline one must achieve before even considering attention, Reid continues. “Attention is built out of exposure and engagement. How has the user interacted and engaged in that ad? Where's the ad on that screen? How long was it on the screen for? Was there audio? All these elements start to kind of build an overlay on top of each other.

“The world of verification has moved from brand safety to media quality or what we call ‘authentic’, and now to attention. And that's being used to enable advertisers and their agency partners to be able to optimize towards driving a much more relevant and specific outcome that's more meaningful than what we used to call a click or a digital engagement”.

Brave new world

Who will lament the death of the click, that primitive pursuit of eyeballs, the proverbial flinging of crap at a wall to see what sticks?

Certainly not consumers. It will be news to no one here that people at best don’t like being bombarded with irrelevant ads and at worst ignore or block them. This overexposure was brought into relief during the pandemic, when we were all sitting at home bingeing ad-funded digital content.

This accelerated digital uptake has heightened consumer’s expectations, says Reid. “Brands have become rightfully so much more self-aware when they think about how they're presenting themselves to their audiences and consumers,” he says. “I think it’s not necessarily maturity, but a better self-awareness brands have nowadays about their need to deliver, and to respect the audiences they're trying to reach.”

From the pandemic has emerged a more conscious, fickle consumer with a renewed sense that companies should have their best interests at heart. Respect for the audience is increasingly the name of the game – be that regarding the technology brands use to target them, the environments in which they do so, or even overexposing consumers to irritating, irrelevant advertising.

This new, actualized consumer demands respect. There has been no shortage of Covid-driven environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives; business ethics are business hygiene in this brave new world. Indeed, firms are inevitably more accountable when the audience bites back. Where a brand chooses to advertise – inadvertently or not – can easily bring the wrong type of attention.

“From a brand integrity perspective, do I [a consumer] want to associate myself with this content or this business? It's an evolution, if you like, or self-awareness that brands of today are really thinking in a much more calculated, risk-prescriptive way, because it helps them build trust with the consumer.”

“All these elements are starting to really feed into a much broader sense of measurement to drive an intermediate investment, not just in terms of where it should run, but how does that measurement drive performance – which ultimately attention should deliver.”

Watch the full fireside chat with DoubleVerify’s Reid from The Drum Predictions 2022 Festival here.

Modern Marketing Brand Strategy Data & Privacy

Content created with:


DoubleVerify authenticates the quality of digital media for the world's largest brands ensuring viewable, fraud-free, brand-safe ads.

Find out more

More from Modern Marketing

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +