What's Next In Attention

Across the industry, global organizations are continuing the journey to future-proof technology and data stacks against the coming privacy changes and build out a "cookieless measurement stack."

Part of that journey includes ensuring media is properly evaluated.

Through our work with Adelaide -- a startup that measures user attention -- over the past two years, we have proven the value of measuring and optimizing to attention-based metrics.

Attention metrics have provided us with real-time data for optimization, increased media quality accountability, and proven correlation as an optimization metric for better campaign outcomes.

To prepare for a cookieless world, it’s important to heavily invest in alternatives to cookie-based targeting and attribution.

This means leveraging our own ID graph to an integration with Google’s Ads Data Hub (ADH), which allows us to link exposures on Google inventory to offline events. 

But what about the rest of the digital ecosystem? The challenges to identity management are making it harder to connect ad exposures to outcomes. This is where direct measures of media quality like attention metrics have helped.

Here are a few of the benefits that using attention metrics provides:

- Lower-funnel Outcomes – while the connection between attention metrics and upper-funnel brand outcomes has been proven, there is a growing body of evidence that connects attention given to advertisements with lower-funnel business outcomes as well. For one of our CPG clients, based on product sales data, Adelaide’s AUs were over 180% more correlated with Nielsen ROI than viewability. 

- Higher Fidelity – attention metrics provide higher resolution into media quality than viewability. For a healthcare client, we found that the variance of attention metrics was nearly three times the variance of viewability. This increased variance indicates a more accurate and more granular measure of media quality across placements and improves our ability to effectively optimize campaigns in real-time. 

- Mid-flight optimization – thanks to the predictive nature of attention metrics, we feel confident optimizing toward them, and thanks to their speed, we can do so in-flight. For a healthcare client, optimizations to attention metrics led to higher Kantar brand lift than viewability and 85% more attentive media placements.

Overall, mid-flight optimizations have resulted in higher-quality media mixes and efficiency gains across campaigns. 

As brands and agencies continue to lean into attention metrics to better assess the true value of media, increase advertising performance, and cut through clutter across channels, I believe we will see a transformational shift in the tools we use and how we transact on media.

Here are my predictions of what’s to come in the next year:

Planning tools that incorporate attention metrics – as the value of attention continues to be proven throughout the funnel and across verticals, we will see more planning tools using attention metrics to adjust reach and frequency for higher-quality media plans. 

Programmatic high-attention – the most efficient way to access high attention media will likely be through PMP deals. The benefit of leveraging PMPs is that we can rely on optimization and packaging from the SSP to make activation straightforward.

Attention guarantees – we’re beginning to see interest from advertisers in guaranteed media quality using attention metrics, so they can ensure the media they are buying captures a certain level of attentive impression. As demand increases, this will become a widely adopted practice among publishers. 

Omnichannel coverage – attention metrics will be implemented across a larger swath of channels, including CTV and audio. This will further amplify the value of these metrics by enabling advertisers to measure the true quality of media through the lens of attention across their entire media mix. 

The promise of more accurate metrics goes beyond optimizing campaigns to repairing the broken incentives that are slowing growth in digital advertising.

Once the true quality of media is understood, advertisers can justify investment in higher-quality placements, incentivizing publishers to create more effective ad formats.

This establishes a positive feedback loop between buyer and seller, fueling the digital media market and improving quality across the board.

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