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    Not Optimizing for Human Attention? Then Forget About Advertising (Part I) 

    Want to improve advertising effectiveness? Optimize for human attention! In a world where Web3, AI and the metaverse are the latest hype getting media coverage, we were delighted to come across this very different, thought-provoking and insightful blog by Paolo Provinciali. 

    According to Provinciali – a senior media professional calling himself an „economist by education, marketer by profession, coffee roaster by hobby“, attention is the most valuable resource in the advertising industry. It is a prerequisite for message reception, encoding, and ultimately, the ability to change perception and drive behaviour.

    Intrigued? Check out our selection of insights on the subject: 

    • Attention as a metric to maximize results. According to Provinciali, human attention can be measured and translated into a metric for the purpose of quantification. Like any metric, it should not be maximized blindly, but used to diagnose behaviour within a specific context to maximize the chance of driving the desired outcome. Furthermore, to support Provinciali’s thesis, the following metrics were reported at a recent virtual conference dedicated to attention metrics: Consumers spend 5 hours daily consuming media. Out of those 5 hours, 84 minutes are exposed to ads. Out of those 84 minutes, consumers are paying attention for only 9 minutes. According to research from the ARF, 37% would use attention metrics for planning, 56% for media optimization, and 75% for measuring ad effectiveness. High attention ads are more effective, especially in the lower funnel, and are more likely to drive outcomes. Thus, attention predicts outcomes/success three times better than viewability.
    • Developing and prioritizing high-attention environments. According to Provinciali, stronger outcomes are often driven by an improved customer experience. Because time is limited, people tune out content they deem irrelevant (i.e., little or no attention). Therefore, a message delivered in a low-attention environment will have a lower chance of influencing behaviour. In turn, content or environments that keep people engaged provide a positive consumer experience and thus are desirable environments for advertising. When given the option, consumers will choose a low-ad load environment over one where there’s significant noise or interruptions.
    • Attention measurement and media trading. Since average attention is still not factored into the price of the media, Provinciali thinks that advertisers have a short-term opportunity to secure the most valuable media by putting the price for on-target reach and average attention levels on an X-Y axis and buying high-attention, low-price environments while avoiding low-attention, high-price environments. Conversely, if the buy- and the sell-side agree on certain attentive impressions delivered (i.e. impressions at a specific average attention level), this could become a transparent transaction on effective media value based on a collaborative approach.

    Ready to delve deeper into the conversation? Stay tuned for Part II of these valuable insights on the importance of optimizing for human attention in advertising.