In the Wake of the Attention Economy, It’s Time to Put the Customer Experience First

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By Dominic Tillson, Marketing Director at Inskin, an Azerion company

The attention economy has been the talk of the town this year, as more and more of the advertising world realises that attention is where their focus should be if they want to make the biggest impact on consumers. And, in order to grab that attention, creativity has to be front and centre of everything that you do.

With creativity accounting for 47% of any sales uplift achieved from a campaign, according to Nielsen, it’s clear just how powerful creative content can be. Moreover, placing this creative content within relevant premium environments has proven to drive brand awareness and consumer recall by achieving 20 times the attention of standard display ads.

Though it’s plainly obvious that creativity is the key to driving sales and avoiding banner blindness, we must still recognise that there is a balance that must be achieved between the impact we’re making and the experience we’re delivering.

For so long, the industry has been good at thinking about what’s right for the advertiser and the publisher but it has often come at the expense of the consumer experience. And it’s this negative experience that has gone a long way towards distrust and the regulations we’ve seen introduced over the last few years.

Changing Consumer Behaviours

On the back of the pandemic, the first thing that advertisers should be considering is the fact that consumers no longer behave the same  as they did just a few years ago. There has been a huge shift in the way that consumers think about all aspects of the world we now live in, after being forced to re-evaluate.

Views on the cost of living, remote working, climate change and diversity, among other things, have all been transformed after the last few years and it is up to brands to ensure that they are thinking about these changes in attitude when it comes to creative. If the creative is falling short in a particular area, then the customer experience is once again being ignored.

This also ties closely to the idea that ‘not all attention is equal’. Attention is not just a simple solution to our advertising objectives. The concept of attention is just the beginning.

Because, if the ad creative and media placement is not aligned to changing consumer behaviours, then is there any real value in the attention received? Having consumer attention on your ad can easily have a negative impact on your brand if you get it wrong.

It’s a double-edged sword. High impact ads make a lasting impression on consumers without interrupting the browsing experience but this has to be blended seamlessly into the user’s environment. It can be a difficult balance to strike but partners with knowledge of harnessing high impact creative can help to guide you toward finding this.

Creating an Impactful Experience

In this day and age, whether you’re an established brand or a challenger brand attempting to make a splash, it’s important to find a way to capture the attention of consumers. This needs to be done while navigating the changing attitudes of these consumers and the need to prioritise their experience. Creativity is highly important to this but it is made up of a few different areas that must work in sync.

The foundations for both creativity and media placement should be built around a combination of quantitative and qualitative insight. This enables the brand to align its output with changing behaviours and go a long way to ensuring that their experience is not playing second fiddle.

We recently completed a meta-analysis of more than 150 visual engagement studies from the last few years to better understand the impact creativity can have on campaign attention levels. By looking at the individual aspects of these campaigns such as; whether they had video assets within the execution, where the assets were deployed and if they were horizontal or vertical videos. From this, we have gained invaluable insight to help inform clients on format choice and asset usage — a powerful tool where art meets science.

The creative itself should be able to deliver an impactful and engaging user experience to capture attention, while eliciting an emotional response. This attention can be enhanced by the content and viewing experience around it. Delivering content in premium and relevant environments remains important to delivering a high-quality experience, even with insight-backed impactful creative.

Notably, ads viewed in high-quality mobile web environments were perceived 74% more favourably than the same ads in lower-quality environments, according to biometric research by Integral Ad Science.

This should all be brought together with credible, independent measurement to show how attention has a clear impact on both brand and performance. You should prove that you’re delivering consistently across the board and not neglecting the consumer experience in your campaigns.

Utilising high-impact digital advertising opens the door for advertisers to capture the attention of audiences, without interrupting their browsing experience. However, it’s imperative that the sweet spot is found between impact and experience and taking these steps will ensure this is the case.

The attention economy is important but the customer has to come first within that. The number one consideration should always be user experience.