In an unusual team effort, Disney, BuzzFeed, Xandr and TrueX have co-authored a new white paper designed to marshal industry support for linking consumer attention metrics to campaign results, and helping advertisers drive attention.
The paper, “Driving Attention: Good Creative Is Not Enough,” is available online and is being promoted on the participants’ social media accounts.
Its stated mission is to help advertisers “stay top-of-mind for the new generation of consumers and beyond” by looking beyond creative and context, to “find and invest in new, strategic ways to understand consumers and incite action.”
Specifically, it focuses on the potential of consumer attention “to be a valuable metric when tied to an outcome, like purchases or app installs.”
The piece capsulizes recent research conducted by the four participant companies — collectively being called the Publisher Alliance — and insights gleaned about how to use ad units, ad lengths, audience segments and overall campaign planning to drive attention.
It also argues that advertisers should consider investing in and testing the relationship between consumer attention and campaign outcomes.
“Advertisers should advocate for industrywide infrastructure that supports linking consumer attention and outcomes, at scale,” it asserts. “The more we embrace the different facets of measuring attention, whether it’s with the right ad unit, length, audience or campaign plan, the more ability we will have to future-proof our businesses for the long term.”
The piece acknowledges that there is no real consensus about how attention is defined — that it “can mean something different depending on an advertiser’s goals and vertical,” for starters.
Disney, for instance, defines attention as memory recall, whether measured by self-stated recall in consumer surveys or some kind of engagement or action, explains Christopher Barton, the company’s director, emerging platforms, research and analytics.
BuzzFeed interprets attention to mean “noticing advertising in a meaningful way,” meaning considering the contributions of both attitudinal and behavioral data, as well as engagements and recall measures.
TrueX defines it in economic terms, and Xandr says it’s about evoking an emotion, as well as serving a relevant message to the right audience at the right time.
“The key is to focus on real behavior change,” concludes the paper. “It’s important to make sure that the attention metric you’re looking at is linked to the bottom-line business outcome you want to drive. This relationship between attention and your specific KPIs may vary across different placements and formats, so make sure to take a test and learn approach to validate your strategy.
“To get a full picture of consumer behavior, combine multiple dimensions. Attention is complex, so consider layering different elements to capture nuances. For example, eye tracking metrics can shed light on what elements of a creative were noticed by an audience, while ad recall measures how much the audience remembered the ad. Looking at both consumption and effectiveness measures together can help us understand how consumption patterns drive impact.”
Based on the research case studies presented, the paper offers five top tips for advertisers’ consideration:
* Tailor messaging to the editorial environment and audience because context matters.
* Use a variety of creative executions and ad lengths. This way, you can adopt a “test and learn” approach to create benchmarks.
* Understand your audience and what really inspires them. Then, you can deliver inspiring creative that speaks to them in their own language.
* One size does not fit all, there is no magic roadmap for all platforms or audiences. Be sure to think about each campaign individually, and establish specific KPIs at the start of your campaign to set yourself up for success.
* The consumer has an important position in the market, and their attention is a scarce resource. The more we embrace different ways to measure their attention, the more we will be able to future-proof our industry and our businesses.