The golden age of evidence-based marketing

October 25, 2022

The new metric that should have your full attention

Like the rest of the world, advertising is going through a challenging time. Inflation is biting, audiences are changing and the old systems just don’t work like they once did.

We’re seeing a few major shifts: advertising costs are increasing across the board (with no corresponding increase in outcomes), audiences are continuing to move away from traditional media and – on a positive note – data analysis is more powerful than ever. Attention is becoming a key metric for many marketers, offering deeper insight into an ad’s impact.

Here’s a closer look at what’s happening in the digital ad world:


Pay more, get less

Since 2019, TV ad costs have been rising, with WARC reporting that global cost per thousand views (CPM) increasing by 31.2%. Social media spending is growing at around 41% year on year, the biggest incline of any channel. However, the rise in investment isn’t correlated with better results or wider reach – it’s getting more difficult to reach audiences thanks to shifting demand, increasing awareness of data piracy and the downfall of cookies. In other words, advertisers have to pay more per customer while gaining less loyalty – a one-two punch.

Changes in media consumption

Media consumption habits have been changing for a long time, with the last two decades seeing a massive shift to online content compared to traditional channels. One recent stat shows that user-created content on social media now makes up 39% of weekly media consumption. Traditional channels like TV and radio have a far slimmer slice of the attention pie than they did in the past.

We’re also seeing increasing media fragmentation. There’s no longer a single TV channel or social platform everyone uses. Instead, there are many platforms, channels, content creators and sources. It’s much more difficult for advertisers to target large numbers of people with one piece of content.

Boosting effectiveness with new metrics

Marketers are in the golden age of data analytics. One of the newest ways to measure the effectiveness of a campaign? The metric of Attention. This modern measurement tool helps you understand how your ad is perceived, not just whether it has been viewed. Combining attention with reach and cost gives marketers a new ‘holy trinity’ of measurement.


Attention, the new metric on the scene

Is your audience paying attention to your ads? Unlike reach, viewability and other metrics, attention helps you understand whether your audience is focused on and absorbing your ad content. As a result, it can be a far more powerful way to measure the impact of a campaign.

Measuring attention can be pretty complicated. It would be impossible (and unethical) to track eye movements for individual browsers, so attention metrics are based on machine learning. Tech research companies will run studies where eye-tracking cameras record participants as they gaze at certain types of content online. The information gathered is fed into a machine-learning algorithm, which can be used to assess campaign content and rate its ability to grab attention.

So, how can you improve the attention given to your advertisements? Quality creative, good targeting and optional viewability.  Quality content can lead to viewers lingering longer and more likely to recall the content later. Good targeting is powerful, too – it’s human nature to engage more with something relevant to your interests. And finally, optional viewability – people give more attention to ads when it feels earned rather than forced upon them. For example, when viewers voluntarily look at an ad, there is a much higher impact on brand metrics.

Attention-seeking done right

Reach calculates how many people will see your ad, while attention looks at the psychological response. The latter has shown to be more powerful, but both metrics are more effective when used in tandem. Reach more people, grab their attention and you’re more likely to drive results.

How do you do that? It’s called attention-adjusted reach. Campaign content should be designed to maximise attention, and then pushed out to the right channels to reach your target audience. Getting it right might require some tweaking to help you balance spending, attention, reach and results.

Stop wasting your ad budget

In an expensive, fragmented advertising environment, throwing more money into your ad budget isn’t realistic – and even if you could, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to better results. Instead, you should look at new ways to analyse and tweak campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

That’s where attention comes in. This modern metric helps you understand how your audience feels about your content, not just whether they’ve seen it. It can be a powerful way to optimise your digital advertising and maximise the value of your spend.

Get in touch with Acquire to start grabbing attention with your ads.