Why Marketers Should Be Using Attention to Drive Better Brand Performance

By Dominic Tillson, Marketing Director at Azerion

Recent times have seen advertisers respond to the biggest challenges of a generation, covid, the cost of living crisis, geopolitical instability, and decreasing attention spans, there is more pressure than ever for ad campaigns to perform. As a result, advertisers are searching for more efficient ways to deliver campaign objectives, while staying within their campaign budgets.

This pressure placed on advertisers, as well as the shift toward privacy post-cookies, have finally given attention its moment to shine. Attention has always been a key, but complex part of advertising, however, its significance within measurement strategies has previously been undervalued.

Over the last few years, attention measurement has developed and attention metrics have become an increasingly important tool for advertisers to evaluate the efficacy of their campaigns. So, how should advertisers be leveraging attention metrics to inform their ad planning and delivery to, in turn, optimise their overall advertising output?

Attention paid

For a number of years, clicks and viewability have been the standard metrics that the industry has abided by. However, it’s become clear that these are no longer fit for purpose in a world driven by achieving demonstrable outcomes.

It’s also worth considering the observer effect on attention measurement, namely as soon as you observe something you change its behaviour.  When measuring standard formats in lab conditions panellists pay up to 90% more attention to the cheaper ads than they would in a real world exposure, and conversely high impact formats like full page skins get 75% less attention compared to the real world because people look at a forced page for a lot shorter time compared to real world browsing behaviour.

Application of attention metrics and insights can both improve the performance measurement of campaigns in the privacy-first world, and help to optimise ROI. However, there are a number of elements that must be factored into an effective attention measurement strategy.

It takes a village

It’s common knowledge within the ad industry that creativity is the largest contributing factor in a successful campaign. As Nielsen’s research highlighted, creative is responsible for 47% of the sales uplift driven by ads. Furthermore, having that creative feature in relevant premium environments has been shown to drive 20 times more brand awareness and recall than standard display ads.

Historically, creativity has been sacrificed for the sake of churning ads out quickly and cheaply, often crowbarring TV ads or press imagery into a digital canvas and saying job done. But as we have alluded to, advertisers are beginning to understand the value of dedicated creative now has on driving campaign outcomes and efficiency in the longer term.

As we get more sophisticated at decoding the vast quantity of audience data and signals available to us we can begin to target and optimise campaigns more effectively, reducing waste and increasing performance.

Combined with the appropriate technology, these nuggets of insight have the potential to unlock real brand performance for advertisers, and build efficiencies across the entire campaign lifecycle. This technology should seamlessly integrate all components, offering credible measurement that demonstrates the impact of attention on performance.

Demonstrating a link between brand and performance is crucial for advertisers wanting a full funnel brand performance solution, particularly at a time of heightened scrutiny over marketing efforts.

Achieving peak brand performance

By combining creativity, messaging, placement, and high-quality environments, audiences can be targeted much more effectively and efficiently.

Attention metrics are well on their way to transforming the way the digital advertising industry not only delivers campaigns, but the way outcomes are measured and judged. However, the transformation relies on creativity, insight, technology, and independent measurement seamlessly coming together to cultivate an environment that drives both the present and future landscape of digital advertising.

All this must happen in an industry that loves a buzzword and a bandwagon, and is notorious for bad actors quickly gaming the system to their own advantage, when in reality, the focus should be on driving the long term sustainability of the industry.