Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Attention is more than a metric for advertisers – it’s a driver of outcomes

By Ashley Bateman, Group Sales Director, DoubleVerify

Connections between brands and consumers aren’t built instantly. Forging bonds requires advertisers to nurture brand loyalty, create meaningful experiences, and boost consumer affinity. But how do brands understand if a consumer is inclined to favour them? To do this—and to optimise their campaigns—they require an understanding of the attention being paid to ads. Unfortunately, this understanding has long been lacking. 

Today, ads appear across emerging and established environments and devices, from mobile, to social, and connected television (CTV). Given the limitations of legacy measurement tools like viewability and clicks, brands have had poor visibility into the impact their ads are having across these environments.  

This has to change. With our Four Fundamental Shifts in Advertising and Media report finding that over half of UK consumers are spending more time consuming content than they did pre-pandemic, advertisers need strong insights to ensure their ads are garnering audience attention by appearing in the most effective environments and channels.

For that reason, measuring attention has become the holy grail of advertising. Attention metrics can give granular detail into exposure and engagement across digital placements. Exposure metrics reveal how an ad is presented—for example, the share of a screen it has. Meanwhile, engagement metrics analyse how consumers interact with ads—for instance, by touching the screen on their device. Together, deep insights across many different exposure and engagement metrics can provide a full picture of the attention being paid to ads. 

According to eMarketer, 98% of marketers believe that attention metrics like these can improve performance. Those marketers are right: optimising for attention can drive stronger outcomes—here’s how. 

How attention optimisation drives stronger outcomes for brands 

Advertisers are now able to get privacy-friendly data from ads which reveal exposure and engagement—this helps them to better gauge levels of attention, and optimise their campaigns to prioritise higher performing placements, devices, ad formats and more.

We’ve found that optimising for higher attention in this way correlates with campaign effectiveness and improved business outcomes, and we’ve worked with brands to demonstrate this. 

For instance, we partnered with Mondelēz to evaluate and optimise performance of a cross-platform display campaign for a popular snack brand, and the results spoke for themselves. Optimising around attention correlated with a 9% lift in brand favourability and a 8% lift in brand consideration. 

Mondelēz’s experience is not an outlier. At Vodafone Germany, focusing on attention resulted in a 43% lift in qualified traffic and a 77% lift in sales conversions. Ads with high levels of engagement (those registering strong attention metrics) drove 2.5x as much qualified traffic and sales rates than low engagement ads. 

Organisations of all shapes and sizes should be confident that optimising for attention can drive improved outcomes for their business. 

However, complexities around measuring attention remain. To drive these improved outcomes, brands have to be certain they have accurate, trustworthy insights to build upon. That starts by having the right solutions from the right partners—those who are able to directly observe and report on key attention signals. 

How to ensure attention metrics are accurate   

Brands need solutions that can precisely measure attention metrics. And they must be certain that those insights are objective and neutral. 

When considering attention measurement solutions, brands should start by focusing on third-party providers with strong roots in advertising measurement—who don’t have a vested interest in selling inventory. 

Next, they should consider the science behind a solution, because with unreliable data, optimisation will fail. Attention solutions must have the expertise and technology in place to provide reliable insights. Granularity is an essential component of measurement, which can be achieved through impression-level data that takes into account the nuances of each unique campaign. 

At DV, we recognise this and have built a dedicated Attention Lab™ featuring a multidisciplinary team of data scientists, product experts and marketing analysts. This team leverages an industry-leading technology platform and attention dataset to provide advertisers with sophisticated, attention-based insights and recommendations. It’s all powered by DV’s Authentic Attention®—a performance solution which evaluates more than 50 attention-based signals in exposure and engagement in real-time. 

By measuring these data points, we can provide advertisers with easy-to-understand indices that show the attention being paid to their ads. This reveals what’s driving success, enabling advertisers to capitalise on these factors and optimise their campaigns in near real-time toward their KPIs. 

Choosing the right attention solutions partner in the year ahead  

As advertising continues to evolve across environments, in 2023 and beyond, attention metrics will be key to driving impactful outcomes. They enable brands to pinpoint and compare results, learn from them, and then optimise campaign performance. 

For brands—whose budgets may be under pressure given economic uncertainty—attention-based outcomes will be a key route to driving Return on Ad Spend. However, the journey to securing those outcomes can only start in one place: with objective solutions that offer accurate, proven and credible data about the attention consumers are paying to ads.