Do I Have Your Attention? Here’s The Mobile Metric That Matters.

Aug 31, 2022
By: Irit Schwartz

If you ever told a kid to “pay attention,” you understand how important attention is. Whether you need them to listen in class, to directions, or to cross the street, paying attention matters if you want a positive end result. 

And the same holds true when we are on our phones.

Long gone are the days when we focused our advertising efforts on impressions and reach. You certainly can pack the internet with ads if you want. But if your entire strategy is based on volume, you’ll never break through the noise. Estimates are that people encounter “up to 10,000 ads per day” – which means it’s not enough for an ad to be SEEN. It needs to capture attention.

The Difference Between Being Seen And Being Remembered

We’ve all experienced the phenomenon of watching TV and realizing we missed a critical part of a show. Our attention gets pulled away by someone else, our phones, our pets, or our wandering minds. Thankfully, rewind buttons can help us re-capture the moment. But without them, the moment would have been SEEN but not REMEMBERED.

If we can be easily distracted in that environment – in our homes watching something of our choosing – imagine the battle for attention our minds face in the mobile world! Ads mingle seamlessly with content, games, images, videos, notifications, red bubbles, and sounds that constantly vie to draw our attention. 

The reality is that you might SEE thousands of things. But you’ll only REMEMBER a handful.

The Meteoric…  ok, Metric…  Shift From Viewability to Attention

Last year, marketing agency Dentsu partnered with Lumen Research, TVision, and Amplified Intelligence to bring “attention” to the challenges of today’s distraction-heavy environment. What they found was what you might have guessed: the number of viewable impressions is higher than the number of ads that get attention. 

Focusing solely on viewability metrics in mobile leaves value on the table. Instead, the idea is to evolve beyond viewability and find what drives consumers to pay attention. 

By using eyeball tracking methods (with informed and consenting study participants!), they found that creativity is the biggest driver of attention. This is followed by volition (whether attention is earned or forced), duration, and sound. By optimizing campaigns towards attention, the research found campaigns were able to find better outcomes – like choosing a brand at the next buying opportunity or better brand recall in general. 

So What?

The idea that capturing attention helps isn’t rocket science. But it still can be overlooked when in the vigors of campaign planning. As marketers we’re trained to think our creativity is the best. With so many options and levers to pull, it’s hard to determine which ones will truly cut through the clutter to capture someone’s attention. 

Marketers should strive to move away from formats that focus solely on impressions and reach. Rather, consider what other stimuli you will be competing against. Finding solutions like opt-in, full-screen, in-app ads can minimize other distractions and bring your creative into greater focus. Interactive or video ads that invite the user to engage also can help draw attention. Short, fun, and impactful messages can rise above the fray. And finally, A/B test to find the optimal mix of creative and placement.

How Can DT Help?

Glad you asked! For starters, Lumen Research, one of the partners of the attention economy research, conducted a separate study comparing the performance of DT Creative Lab’s ads against other in-app norms. The results? Our ads performed 10-15% better than the benchmark  in terms of both attention and time viewed. Combining these factors resulted in a 27.2% lift in total attention time spent with our ads. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Attention Economy or DT Creative Labs, contact us today!

By Irit Schwartz
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