It raised some fundamental questions for advertisers, agencies and the media regarding media and ad-campaign terms and definitions, and attempted to address what metric/s should be used as a media trading currency. Or did it?
The star of the webinar was Lumens Research Managing Director Mike Follett, who reviewed the key points of a new booklet being released about how advertising works based on its proprietary eye-tracking studies.
Lumens measures the value of attention utilizing an eyes-on-plus-associated dwell-time method, and I believe has confirmed the answers to some key industry questions. However, I am sure there will be various interpretations of his remarks.
Despite the Advertising Research Foundation’s media model (“Towards Better Media Decisions”) and its crystal-clear hierarchy of ad-campaign effects and their relative incremental values, the U.S. appears to be going in a different direction by embracing a wide variety of nebulous media “impressions” for planning, buying and selling. The impressions gutter, as I call it, includes the so-called “viewable impression” that do not even have an audience exposure component.
Follett addressed that folly by unequivocally stating that “viewable impressions” are not the same as content “viewed” by an audience and further that they are not equal, equivalent or even correlated.
He did note that in measuring attention to content on a screen it should meet the Media Rating Council's standards for content rendered on a screen, or a “viewable impression.” Perhaps this would be better termed "CRC," for content rendered counts?
Lumens, working with Ebiquity and Dentsu among other major players, has developed a new approach to campaign investment -- “aCPM” or attention cost-per-thousand. Its methodology can determine how many attentive seconds are derived per thousand impressions.
Attention measures have also been shown to relate well to desired brand effects. I suggest this impressions value conversion to “attention seconds” is like a target audience exposure adjustment for a media vehicle (i.e., looking) combined with an impact adjustment i.e., (seeing over time) for the creative execution.
The data shows a relatively small percentage of ads are viewed “with attention” as a percent of the total time media is consumed, and the Lumens data underscores that advertising is a weak but relentless force that builds effects over time. “Like a stalactite,” as Follett remarked.
Based on aCPMs, a campaign's goal should be to lower the aCPM even if traditional CPMs go higher.
TVision CEO Yan Liu echoed Lumens’ findings.
As most readers know -- or should know -- CPM is an acronym that in my opinion actually stands for “completely positively mad.”
Liu essentially confirmed this, noting that TVision has found no correlation between CPM and attention seconds. That's no surprise, as the ARF media model identifies attention as primarily creative-driven, while CPM -- especially when based on nebulous impressions -- is media-driven.
So will attention and its associated aCPM become the new media currency? I suggest that it cannot be a “media” currency, because it is primarily driven by the impact of the creative message, over which media has no control.