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Amplified Intelligence eyes APAC growth as attention economy ramps up

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By Danielle Long | Acting APAC Editor

May 11, 2023 | 9 min read

As the attention economy shifts to focus on definitions of quality, leading attention guru Karen Nelson-Field says brand interest in the Asia Pacific region is accelerating rapidly.

Karen Nelson-Field, Amplified Intelligence Founder & CEO

Karen Nelson-Field, Founder & CEO, Amplified Intelligence

Karen Nelson-Field, the founder and CEO of Amplified Intelligence, which is billed as “the world’s most rigorous attention measurement company”, believes we are in the second phase of the attention economy.

With attention now an accepted part of the ecosystem, and the company's campaign evaluation tool launched across several markets, Amplified Intelligence is now looking at Asia Pacific expansion.

The measurement company, which launched in Adelaide in 2017, opened a Sydney office in February, appointing Daniel Lyas as VP of customer success to help drive growth in the region by spearheading its education programs. This launch was quickly followed by the rollout of attentionProve, its tool to help brands and agencies understand and maximise attention in ad campaigns in real time.

The tool, which is live across several markets, including Australia, the UK, US, Canada, Dubai and a number of European markets, is part of the company’s bid to focus the industry on the “right” metric for attention as it continues to grow in popularity.

“The industry has well and truly moved from attention being an interest point on a panel to a strategy in your ecosystem,” Nelson-Field tells The Drum. “Where we're at now is defining the quality around the metrics because anyone with access to some basic viewability numbers can call it attention metrics.”

Nelson-Field says while the industry has become caught up in different types of data -– such as impression data and biometrics– she says the latter, which collects human data at scale, is clearly where the industry is headed. Which, incidentally, is also where it started.

“Everything changed in our industry when we stopped measuring humans and started to measure impression data and started making assumptions about humans. All we're doing is saying, ‘let's go back to the basics’, and have a collected group of human data and then append it to digital currencies," says Nelson-Field.

“The reality is the definition of attention has been around forever. What I'm trying to do is operationalize that definition, which is how humans interact with stimuli – it’s as simple as that.”

While the definitions may be simple, how straightforward is ensuring quality data? Again, Nelson-Field says it’s not complicated, owing largely to the fact that the company has been building this tech for years before beginning to commercialise it.

“Quality comes from a number of things, it's the ability to repeatedly work with the same consistency under any condition. That's the truth of quality. When it becomes a case of sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. That's not quality. That means there are errors underneath it. So, for me, the quality is easy. We're just trying to get to a point where it's predictable, because that is ultimately the key: accurate prediction. Which means it is repeatable, transferable and enduring across different countries and conditions,” says Field.

With the launch of attentionProve, Amplified Intelligence is providing brands with access to "the world’s deepest and most robust human attention dataset from over 55,000 global panellists". This means marketers can shift away from inferred metrics and impression signals to accurate attention prediction.

To help accelerate its adoption, Amplified Intelligence is focused on an education and training drive, including a certification course, which is spearheaded by Lyas from the Australian market.

Lyas says, “Australia is a little bit further forward on the journey, so we can use this market as a really strong testbed for what this rollout looks like at decent scale, and then take those learnings and build out our education and training.

"The core part of my remit this year is the notion of adoption. Not just adoption of the metric as an industry, but also adoption of the tools, we are building as a business to help service this growing category.”

The company is already working with New Zealand media companies and agencies, and it says Southeast Asia is next, with plans in motion for Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. “The Southeast Asian countries are going to be a big growth area,” Lyas adds.

Australia's leading role in attention

Part of Amplified Intelligence's strength in the Australian market has been driven through its work with the country's peak advertising industry body, Advertising Council Australia (ACA).

Nelson-Field collaborated with international marketing effectiveness gurus Peter Field and Rob Brittain for the ACA’s landmark report, 'Attention and Effectiveness: To ESOV and Beyond'; the report, now in its second year, has confirmed that high-attention media platforms can boost the attention of strong creative campaigns by up to 75%.

In a marketing first, the study used Amplified Intelligence's state-of-the-art human eye-tracking technology to analyse ads drawn from 39 case studies in the ACA Effectiveness Database. The study measured the active and passive levels of attention gained by these award-winning campaigns to determine the relationships between creative strength, attention, media choice and marketing budget.

The report found that the competitive advantage delivered by strong creative is enhanced by investment in high-attention media platforms, which supercharged the attention levels of great creative by up to 75%.

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The study also revealed that the business impact of the marketing campaign investment increased by 65% when strong creative is placed on high-attention media.

Furthermore, the campaigns that were rated as ‘highly effective’ in driving business returns attracted close to 60% more active attention than campaigns rated much lower in effectiveness.

The ACA study concluded that even at the top end of the effectiveness spectrum, strong creative holds up attention for up to three times longer.

Report co-author Peter Field said the findings have significant implications for marketers and brands by demonstrating the correlation between great creative, high-attention platforms and effectiveness.

"For marketers, the winning formula is to develop high-attention creative and to serve it on high-attention platforms, engaging with attention metrics and using them to guide creative and media choices. The biggest winner will be effectiveness.”

Co-author Rob Brittain agreed: “Higher-attention media platforms may come at a cost, but given their greater effectiveness, you get what you pay for and then some.

“It is a false economy to spend a more limited budget on lower-attention media channels just because they are cheaper. In fact, the evidence suggests they are not cheap enough,” he said.

Nelson-Field says the study was a validation of the importance of attention as a key growth driver and the need for marketers to plan around this to improve their return on investment.

“Reach assumes that 100% of the impressions you plan and buy are watched by 100% of the audience for 100% of the time, which is not the case.

“My advice to media planners and creative directors is to understand the boundaries that each platform and format will afford you and optimise your creative objectives and reach planning around that."

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