Dentsu Teams With Snap: Concludes It's The Attention Economy, Stupid

New findings from Dentsu’s “Attention Economy” research show that Snapchat video ads -- six-second, non-skippable, full-screen, vertical units -- drive more user attention than other leading social media platforms.

According to a post Wednesday on Snap’s blog, the units outperformed an anonymous competitor’s platform average across all key metrics: attention, recall, and choice.  

The full-screen vertical videos generated five times the “attentive seconds” of  other comparable platforms, were 1.4 times more viewable, and were 2.1 times more likely to be viewed than the average. 

Started in 2018, Dentsu’s “Attention Economy” research program is focused on measuring the true value of attention across channels, platforms, and formats -- ultimately in an attempt to reroute the way the advertising industry judges an ad’s real success. 

After three years of research, Dentsu claims to have the capability to understand the true value of attention when someone looks at an ad -- and how much brand impact to expect from it.

“The unique aspect of our Attention Economy program is that we strive to collaborate across all areas of the industry, including brands, research and measurement companies, and media owners,” says Joanne Leong, vice president of global media partnerships at Dentsu International, adding: “We’ve built meaningful partnerships to help drive a better understanding of attention and best practices on their platforms in order to ultimately build a better consumer experience and more effective campaigns. Our partnership with Snap, Inc. brought a fresh perspective around how this could work and be put into practice in a strategic, new way on their platform.”

For this specific study, Dentsu partnered with the research firm Lumen to build a prototype of the Snapchat app to insert test ads and explore various advertising scenarios across the U.S. and the U.K.

Prototypes were also created to test five additional digital platforms. Four hundred Snapchat users exposed to ads and 500 control subjects in each country were asked to access the Snapchat Discover tab, and their baseline responses were collected.

While browsing online, each respondent was exposed to up to 6 test ads from major brands –– for a realistic experience, clutter brands were added. The study tested different ad durations, the impact of sound and congruence with content. 

Snap partnered with Dentsu on the “Attention Economy” research in order to measure the mobile, vertical video ad opportunity for various brands.

Snap hopes to offer guidance to brands on buying effective video on its platform. 

Dentsu and Lumen’s research identified new factors that work toward maximizing user attention and outcomes, all of which apply to Snapchat’s six-second, full-screen ads.

While more attention leads to increased recall and choice uplift, shorter ads were more attention-efficient and therefore did more work in a shorter period of time. Full-screen coverage was a notable factor, as well in improving attentive seconds. 

“Dentsu’s research program is uncovering industry-shifting learnings for media and advertising, and we were excited to participate,” says Heather O’Shea, global head of ad research & insights at Snap Inc. “The findings make clear that human attention is a critical indicator of whether an ad is seen and processed. It’s encouraging to see Snapchat’s immersive, full screen video ads succeed in grabbing that attention, and as a strong attention driver in a brand-safe environment, provide compelling business results for our partners.”

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