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Why Attention Matters in Advertising

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For a long time, advertisements were measured by validity, viewability, and brand safety. Ad verification, a process that enables advertisers to see if their ad was seen by actual people (instead of robots), geographic distribution and environment in which the ad is seen, was the primary metric used for baseline performance.

Audience behavior is changing, and therefore advertisements need to change too. Brands have learned that just because someone views the ad doesn’t mean they remember it or will act upon what they’ve seen. That’s why the new metric many ad companies are now focusing on is viewer interaction.

Verification is still essential, of course, but making sure the right people see the ad doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s a starting point, not the finish line. Action and impact are what matter most.

Action and impact stem from how much the viewer remembers after the ad has been viewed and taken off the screen. This has to do with attention - the more attention a viewer gives an ad, the more memorable the ad is going to be afterward. 


When measuring attention, two significant factors should be looked at:

1. The amount of time the advertisement spends on the screen of the viewer’s device.

This can most accurately be measured using something known as Active Page Dwell Time, which is defined by Oracle MOAT as the total amount of time in hours that users spent interacting with an ad. 

2. People’s engagement with the advertisement while it’s on their screen.

Measuring engagement is, unfortunately, a little trickier. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, however. A clearer picture of overall engagement can be created by measuring three key factors and combining them. 


These three key measurements are:

1.    Viewing time

This is the measurement of time, on average, that a person spends with at least 50% of an advertisement in view on their device for a minimum of 1 second.

2.    Rate of interaction

This is the measurement of the percentage of time where the viewer has actively engaged with the advertisement for at least half a second.

3.    Length of interaction

This measurement captures the average length of time the viewer interacts with the advertisement.


By combining viewing time, rate of interaction, and length of interaction, a business can get a good picture of the engagement levels for their advertisement. They can then take this information and compare it to industry benchmarks to see how their advertisements hold up against the competition.

Advertising experts are finding that producing more content doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re reaching more people. In fact, only a tiny fraction of all content created is even remembered. This means a lot of time and money is wasted on advertisements that don’t produce any practical actions on the viewer's part. Companies are now trying to focus on what will make their advertisements more memorable so they can overcome this phenomenon and turn their viewers into consumers.

Many advertising experts have found that the key to a successfully remembered advertisement is the creation of engagement, which we now know how to measure. But how do we create it? That’s the million-dollar question and one the experts have a few example ideas for.  


Creating Anticipation:

Creating anticipation stimulates the brain in one of the best possible ways, creating an experience that is conducive to being memorable in the viewer’s mind. Many different tactics can generate anticipation for a viewer of an advertisement. It can be as simple as leveraging rich media to present the viewer with a gift box to click on, not telling them what will happen, only for them to be surprised by a coupon. It can also be something more interactive where the viewer needs to click on multiple areas of the advertisement, always discovering something new as they go along.


Story-making VS. Storytelling:

For a long time, advertising has been about telling a story, but times have changed. Viewers would now much rather be a part of the story than be told it. That’s why story-making in advertising is becoming such a success. By taking this more collaborative approach, businesses encourage their viewers to work with them to create a story that will capture both their attention and the attention of their peers.

Personalization is vital when thinking about story-making. Rich media advertising provides endless opportunities to deliver more personalized ads to consumers that show them that you know them, and pull them into the experience on a deeper level. Interactions like quizzes and live polling can be engaging methods of understanding what your consumer is looking for, and then delivering the best ad experience or product offering based on that information.


In a world where only about 10% of advertisements are remembered, capturing your audience’s attention is essential by standing out and providing them with a truly memorable experience.

Engagement is critical, no matter how your company chooses to go about it creatively.

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