Track and capture: Getting started with attention metrics

At the heart of all advertising lies the ultimate goal: Cut through the noise and capture a potential consumer’s interest long enough for them to make a connection with the brand.

There is no single factor that determines the best possible bidding tactics for your advertising campaigns or that capturing consumer attention is analogous. There are myriad, dynamic elements needed for a consumer to interact with your brand. Viewability is no longer enough, and “attention metrics” are becoming increasingly popular in the industry.

Attention metrics are an evolution of engagement. As attention metrics tracked today are nascent, some healthy industry debate has emerged in the quest to refine and define what attention measurement should look like.

As attention metrics and measurement continue to mature, brands can learn more, develop a plan aligned with key business outcomes, start optimizing for attention, and kick-off their targeting and measurement tactics to capture consumer attention.

Defining attention metrics

Businesses should find an attention metric that resonates with the business outcomes they’re driving and incorporate that into their marketing KPIs.

Attention metrics can be measured through not only viewability or in-view duration, but the evaluation of any combination of the following: creative size and interaction, ad position, time of day, publisher/program, audibility, page clutter, frequency across devices and eye tracking. Attention metrics can provide a high-resolution view of the impact of each impression or be evaluated in aggregate.

While viewability remains an important baseline metric, it only represents the measure of an opportunity for an ad to be seen and says little or nothing about whether a viewer saw an ad. Attention, on the other hand, is a measure based on the actual viewing of ads.

At MediaMath, we “group” inventory into marketplaces designed to achieve a specific campaign goal, run on a specific channel (CTV, native or in-game) or meet specific criteria. For example, the Viewable Marketplace only contains inventory that delivers a high viewability score. Viewability numbers on the attention market vastly outperform market averages at 91% viewability (averages tend to be 60%-70%, while our viewability market averages ~80%).

Attention itself can further be divided into what might be considered proxy metrics for attention and direct measures of human attention. Proxy metrics are measures of detected engagement activity on a device that implies attention, whereas direct measures involve the direct measurement of people paying attention to screens via visual tracking, typically through opt-in panels. Both measures are useful, but it is important to understand the difference when exploring vendor offerings and methodologies while assessing outcomes.

Why attention metrics

Attention metrics are available across multiple channels, but the industry has yet to decide on a universal metric that is applicable across all channels. This is why there are different approaches being used by different parties as per the varying examples given by companies that offer attention metrics described in the POV.

Here are some examples of various terms used in the industry by different vendors. If these terms are KPIs used when evaluating attention in conjunction with one another, any combination of these terms can be used: