The concept of Attention in advertising | Articles

Revising our KPIs in the war for attention

We are overloaded with ads. According to Teads and Lumen, we consume an average of 299 minutes of media per day, of which consumers are exposed to ads for 84 minutes. How many minutes of that are spent paying attention to ads? Frankly, that's very little. Consumers spend only 9 minutes attentively watching media, according to those same figures.

So needless to say, advertisers are thus increasingly having to fight for a potential customer's attention. How do you stand out as a brand among the proliferation of advertisers? And can that attention be measured?

The remainder of this article is a summary of sources written by different researchers. These different players are both publishers and more neutral research instances, we want to be critical of the sources and therefore highlight different angles from different players.


Viewability vs. visibility vs. attention

Today, the success of an awareness campaign is often determined by the reach or number of impressions achieved. If one wants to go a step further, this then becomes looking at viewable impressions. However, this in itself says very little about the success of the campaign. 

An impression is measured when the ad is loaded on the landing page.

A viewable impression is measured when at least 50% of the ad appears on the screen for at least 1 second (IAB).

However, this does not mean that a user has seen the ad, and indeed, that it will be remembered.

Today, there are already many ways to measure the impact of a campaign. YouTube has the brand elevator studies, DPG the brand fact studies, Meta measures the Ad Recall of awareness campaigns, Ask Locala the uplift studies... In addition, there are numerous independent agencies that can question whether the user can remember an ad.

Ad recall is related to the attention users pay to an ad. And attention is more specifically defined today as being "attentive views" or "attentive seconds." Indeed, the longer a person has looked at an ad, the more likely that person will remember the ad. Studies show that attention has an 180% stronger correlation with ROI than viewability (Nielsen) and that attention to ads can predict the outcome of a campaign 3x better than viewability. These seem like logical numbers: what is the point of investing in a campaign that is seen a lot but not viewed?

So it's important to invest in ads that get attention in this world where consumers are hugely distracted by thousands of impressions a day. An important note here: it is not only important to pay attention to the ad itself, but also to the visibility of the brand. Suppose you put a very nice ad in a conspicuous place so that everyone can remember the ad, but the brand is not sufficiently in view? Users will not associate that nice ad they saw with your brand. 

For this reason, it is important to not only focus on formats and placements that catch the user's attention, but also to ensure that your brand is seen. This can mean that you strive for maximum visibility of the ad, and that, for example, 100% of the banner must be shown.

Many creative agencies will not like to hear it, but the logo and/or branding should be a crucial and eye-catching part of the ad. This will help users more quickly make the connection between ad and advertiser. 



With the cookieless world on the horizon, the challenge of measuring the impact of ads will become ever greater. Optimizing campaigns for attention rather than visible impressions may be a way to make those campaigns more impactful. To know more about how attention gets measured, you can read this article.

In this regard, attention seems to be the holy grail for a successful awareness campaign. Of course, this should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, not all attention-oriented ads lead to a sale. For one thing, much depends on the user's purchase intent. But above all, many ads fail to establish a link with the brand. Attention to an ad or brand recall is not the same thing. Proper use of branding assets such as logos and colours is crucial for this. Here you can find 10 tips to make your ads stand out more.

The effect of COVID is still reverberating: people are massively online. Let's use this moment to experiment with new metrics, channels and ad formats to capture the attention of these users.

publication auteur Janne Beke
Janne Beke

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