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    Attention and Brand Outcomes: The Longer People Engage with Ads, the More Impactful the Results, Study Reveals

    It’s the rule of the game – brand success in advertising depends on how engaged your audience is. But what determines if individuals are truly engaged with your ads? While viewability remains device-centric rather than human-centric, it alone cannot accurately measure the true level of human attention given to advertising. This is where attention metrics come under the spotlight.

    Attention is an important driver of brand success, according to the authors of “Unveiling the Connection: Attention & Outcomes” available on IAB Europe’s website. The latest landmark attention study conducted by Lumen Research alongside programmatic digital advertising company Teads and ad effectiveness company Dynata spans 2022 and 2023 campaigns, looking at 14 different advertisers from the UK, US, Australia, and Serbia across categories.

    Ready to dive deeper into the attention game? Read on for further insights from the largest global meta-analysis of combined third-party party attention and brand lift metrics: 

    • There is a “clear and direct” correlation between attention and brand outcomes. It strengthens as people engage with ads for longer durations. While the study authors’ initial expectations were that this relationship would be observed primarily in upper-funnel metrics, such as Online Ad Recall, where the lift is 40% higher for exposures of 5+ seconds compared to 1+ second, the results have shown a consistent improvement across the entire funnel in the short term.

    The data substantiates the positive impact of attention on lower funnel objectives. It highlights thatincreased attention not only leads to greater recall metrics but also contributes to stronger mid/low funnel metrics with longer dwell times. These findings reinforce Dentsu’s attention economy outcome modelling, which utilises the connection between attention allocation and the active prediction of the “expected choice” for each individual impression. This tangible insight empowers advertisers by quantifying the potential impact on changing minds throughout a campaign, the authors of the study find.

    • Lower-funnel metrics need greater attention to shift the dial. The study further found that to generate substantial differences in lower funnel metrics, such as Consideration, it becomes increasingly crucial to prioritise attention. 

    According to the study, relying on viewability is not enough. While viewability can be stretched infinitely, human attention remains a limited resource. To accurately measure real attention, we require a metric framework that goes beyond the mere opportunity to see an ad and accurately predicts the level of genuine human engagement. The analysis finds that for upper-funnel metrics like awareness, ads need between 100ms and a second to have impact from a single exposure (repeated exposures may yield other effects). But as an ad’s objectives run further down the funnel, the attentive time needed of a single exposure increases quickly:

    For example, at least eight “attentive seconds” (i.e., seconds a user pays visual attention to an ad) are required to see significant impact in improving purchase intent. Nine seconds are needing to significantly impact consideration, while three seconds are needed to significantly impact familiarity.

    Overall, the positive impact of attention on lower funnel objectives yielded a 30% lift from exposures of 10+ seconds.

    Source: “Unveiling the Connection: Attention & Outcomes”

    • Attention is a much stronger predictor than viewability. According to the study, attention directly taps into the cognitive effects necessary for an advertisement to truly make an impact. These findings reinforce and align with numerous existing studies in this area such as those found in Dentsu’s Attention Economy studies. Attention is more likely to yield statistically significant results not just for Online Ad Recall but also for deeper-funnel measures, such as Spontaneous Brand Awareness.

    Further to this study, Dentsu’s second wave of research within their Attention Economy project, conducted in collaboration with Lumen during 2021 and 2022, specifically delved into the correlation between attention and outcomes. This study involved collaboration with various vendors, including Teads, Meta, Alphabet, Twitter, and others, to gain deeper insights into this relationship. Viewability, often used as a proxy for attention, is a relatively unreliable measure. It provided compelling metrics, such as: 81% of desktop ads considered ‘viewable’ are actually unseen. 25% of social mobile ads deemed ‘unviewable’ are actually seen. The study concluded that attention is a far superior predictor of outcomes compared to viewability, with a threefold improvement. 

    • High-attention platforms drive superior business outcomes and increase profitability. In May 2023, Dr. Karen Nelson Field, the founder of Amplified Intelligence, shared a compelling collection of case studies in her WARC column. These studies served as substantial evidence, demonstrating how attention measurement can significantly enhance business performance in various areas, including profitability. Two of the case studies presented that stood out revealed a marked improvement of sales figures and a lower cost per sale as a result of attention-based campaign adjustments as well as a remarkable 65% increase in significant business effects, such as profitability and customer acquisition, for campaigns predominantly executed on high-attention platforms. Furthermore, the research demonstrated that deploying identical creative content on high-attention platforms resulted in significantly higher attention and superior business outcomes. These findings emphasise the critical role of media selection in achieving effective advertising outcomes.

    At Novelty Media, via SmartAdd, we have created a framework that effectively holds attention and transcends mere viewability via our innovative high-attention mobile media channel. We offer video and static content delivery as an eagerly anticipated, personalized and engaging experience in a high-attention environment, thus ensuring optimal and impactful brand lift results for our global advertisers. Our human-centric approach based on utilizing peak moments of undivided attention is what makes SmartAdd stand out. Our audience consists of 100% verified mobile subscribers endorsed by Mobile Operators. If you want to harness the power of real human attention and ensure your brand success, reach out to us. Let’s find out how our solution can help you win!

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