Modern Marketing Data & Privacy Data

Attention metrics are the new marketing ‘must’ – here’s why

By Emera Trujillo | Vice-president of product development

November 18, 2022 | 6 min read

As part of The Drum’s Data and Privacy Deep Dive, MediaMath’s Emera Trujillo argues the value of prioritizing attention in media measurement efforts.

Eyes staring at screen

/ Adobe Stock

Today, with almost seven hours a day spent in front of screens and consumers being exposed to almost 10,000 ads daily, it’s harder than ever for marketers to capture consumer attention and build connections.

As ‘attention metrics’ gain broader industry adoption, how can organizations leverage them to optimize their campaign and increase their returns on investment (ROI)?

Understanding attention metrics

Attention metrics are an evolution of ‘engagement’ – the concept of measuring meaningful consumer interaction with content.

One reason attention metrics are so impactful is the fact that they can be measured through not only viewability – or in-view duration – but also through of any combination of elements such as creative size and interaction, ad position, time of day, publisher or program, audibility, page clutter, frequency across devices and eye tracking.

Viewability is the closest comparison to an attention metric that is widely measured by brands. Attention metrics can provide a high-resolution view of the impact of each impression or be evaluated in aggregate.

While viewability remains an important baseline quality metric, it simply represents a measure of an opportunity for an ad to be seen – not whether a viewer actually saw an ad. Attention, on the other hand, is a measure based on the actual viewing of ads.

It’s time for the industry standard to evolve from delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time – to doing so with the right attention.

Unifying across channels

60 seconds of undivided consumer attention on an 85-inch connected TV is different than 60 seconds of undivided consumer attention on a six-inch mobile phone.

Attention metrics have improved measurement in terms of unifying cross-channel metrics, but there is still some variation. Just as a click can’t be measured equally across channels, attention without clear definition and weighting will not translate across channels.

Embracing attention metrics

Find an attention metric that resonates with a specific brand and the organization’s business outcomes and incorporate it into the brand's marketing key performance indicators.

Research from The Attention Council has found a strong connection between consumer attention and the outcomes marketers care most about, like ROI. In order to see these results, organizations must plan for, optimize for and transact on attention.

Plan for attention: Capturing attention throughout the purchase cycle is paramount, but depending on the brands’ key business outcomes, it may make sense to implement specific techniques at different consumer touchpoints.

Optimize for attention: Start with what can be easily measured. Buy and optimize ad placements with high viewability, understanding that it is only a foundation to securing attention. Ads work best when consumers are attentive to the screen.

Transact on attention: With a strong methodology and trustworthy measurement partner in hand, a marketing team will be primed for the early wave of attention targeting opportunities. As companies develop more robust contextual offerings, targeting viewability will evolve to transacting on attention metrics.

As attention metrics and measurement continue to mature, marketers can learn more and develop plans aligned with their key business outcomes.

Attention metrics in action

Putting attention metrics to good use relies on having an optimal bidding strategy that is based on buyer and market value. There are several components of attention metrics, automating a portion of attention optimization. Here are some examples that tend to work well for businesses:

  • Exchange viewability, included within the bid request as part of the metric object to offer insight into the available ad opportunity

  • Fold position, otherwise known as ad position, included within the bid request to indicate the position of the ad

  • Time of day, for instance whether the ad opportunity is available in the consumer’s time zone

  • Historical interactions like completed video views and clicks on content

With a solid understanding of what attention metrics are and how to implement them to achieve specific goals, it’s easy to begin targeting and measuring attention. Most importantly, campaign goals declare and inform how to bid and optimize toward ideal outcomes.

Emera Trujillo is vice-president of product development at MediaMath. For more on how the world of data-driven advertising and marketing is evolving, check out our latest Deep Dive.

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