Same Ads On CTV/OTT Lose Viewers' Attention, Depending On Frequency

A new study from TVision says TV commercial wear-out isn’t just about too much frequency of viewing spots, but also about the time duration between when those messages run.

The report, released at the recent ARF conference this week, shows commercials on CTV/OTT streaming platforms that air multiple times less than five minutes apart only kept viewers' eyes on the screen 25% of the time -- an average of eight seconds for each TV commercial.

But viewers' attention improved -- about 14% -- when the same ad runs at least five minutes apart.

Looking more broadly, TVision says the first 10 exposures of a commercial may not be the sole cause of wear-out. In fact, it can be the opposite, especially when a TV ad grabs initial high levels of “familiarity” with viewers, with what the company calls a “mean attention” percentage.



Ten exposures can yield a 75% mean attention score -- up from a 45% number after one exposure. “Attention to TV ads increases uniformly through the first 10 attentive ad exposures,” says the TV measurement company.

The research generally says attention levels peak at 11 to 15 exposures of the advertising.

Past this level, it recommends that marketers launch new creative. Media strategy, pod placement and other factors also add to the wear-out of a TV commercial.

TVision uses “computer vision” technology -- so-called “eyes on the screen” -- to see how viewers really watch TV. The data, on a person-level, comes from an opt-in panel of 5,000 homes, looking at second-by-second TV engagement.

For this study, the University of California, San Diego examined TVision data of 248,600 ads where viewers were attentive to the same ad six to 10 times.

2 comments about "Same Ads On CTV/OTT Lose Viewers' Attention, Depending On Frequency".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 23, 2021 at 1:04 p.m.

    Another interesting stiudy from our friends at TVision, Wayne. It's limited in scope to CTV commercials and in duration in that it deals mainly with a very short time frame in repeat exposures. The report notes that when a commercial is exposed more than once within five minutes, that short messages---"15s' ---seem to perform better than longer ones---"30s" and "60s". Specifically, the "15" viewer watches 45% of the repeat ad's content while the corresponding percentages drop to only 27% for "30s" and 14% for  "60s". Which, of course, when translated into CPMs, makes the shorter message length seem more efficient. However when you project these percentges against the three message lengths, it develops that the repeat "60" gets 8.4 seconds of the viewer's attention and the repeat "30" generates about the same degree of dwell time---8.1 seconds.  In both cases these are more than the 6.8 seconds noted for 'I5s". So as with all studies of this type, new questions are raised. For example, how many seconds does it take for each commercial length to make a sale? Also, to what extent are memories of the first exposure rekindled by the second or third exposure. Finally, what happens, specifically, when an ad is repeated once, twice, three times, etc. as opposed to "multiple". times? The TVision data seems to say that attentiveness builds up  with  a number of repeat exposures, then levels off as the time between exposures is extended to an hour. Such findings make one ask what happens over the course of several days or weeks or months? Does the levelling off effect continue as the time frame is extended---or are there peaks followed by valleys? Hopefully we will get more on this from TVision. All of which is an example of the kind of thing that attentiveness research can tell advertisers over and above its use as a rating "currency" modifier for time buying and selling. There's much more to attentiveness than that.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, September 23, 2021 at 6:53 p.m.

    Ed, you raise a good point when you ask "Such findings make one ask what happens over the course of several days or weeks or months?".

    There was a great piece of research done in the UK and reported in AdMap (which you are familiar with Erwin's articles as co-writer) probably some 15-20 years ago from memory.   It focussed on FMCG/CPG advertising and using a shopper panel, andf looked at the decay rate of action rather than recall for CPG ads.   The conclusion was along the lines that up to 11 days (I think that was the cross-over point0 was the sweet spot.   That is, there was a noticable increase in product sales within those 11 days then back to regular sales patterns.

    It was a robust quantative study that I used for planning CPG ad flighting - spend less, spend smarter, more sales.   The world has changed a lot since then and it would be great to repeat it, but I think that the principles would probably still apply.

    For the life of me I can't think of the researcher's name, and I can't go back through my AdMaps and research library as I lost them all in the bushfire.

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