Fast attention facts for optimising creative and buying media

Apr 29, 2021

Reality Check 1: Humans all over the world are going about their day looking and not-looking, buying and not-buying. They just don’t love advertising the way marketers do.

Reality Check 2: Legacy metrics no longer tell a useful story. It’s time to adjust them with a more human-centred metric.

Which is why Amplified Intelligence introduced the Attention Adjusted™ range of metrics.

We could see through our research that attention adds a quality layer of information that narrows the ballpark guessing of opportunity-to-see down to a real human experience measure. With this quality layer we can reveal the platform differences that help to optimise creative and media planning.

Here are some fast attention facts we have uncovered:

Fast Fact 1: Time-in-view ≠ human attention

Time on screen tells you how long the ad was available to be looked at. It doesn’t tell you whether anyone was looking. Amplified Intelligence has been collecting attention data at a sub-second level for over 4 years now. What we have found is that viewers continually switch between non-attention, passive attention and active attention while viewing ads. We find that on average around 50% of time on screen has no attention paid at all. Some platforms get more attention than others.

Fast Fact 2: Highly emotional moments in creative gain more attention

Humans tend to wander around in a state of pre-consciousness and prediction, and it takes certain triggers to jumpstart our brains and prime us to take in new information. This is important for creative devices. According to Professor Jared Horvath Cooney, unexpectedness can break the prediction and trigger attention. We see this in our data. High emotional arousal content is an unexpected trigger that has been long noted to drive behavioural outcomes. But don’t fall into the babies and animals trap, even they can be boring. Creative devices only drive attention when they are connected to high emotional arousal.

Fast Fact 3: Branding should be placed at attention peaks

Quality branding is one of the most underrated variables of success. If you haven’t made it easy for the viewer to attribute advertising to the correct brand, you’ve wasted time and money. Remember, people are continually switching between active, passive and non-attention. Plus, human brains are trained to predict and make short-cuts. If the brand is not placed at key attention trigger points the viewer will miss it and fill in the blanks with another brand they’ve seen (most likely your largest competitor). We find that the mere presence of branding at attention peaks increases the chance of buying and that sales are amplified when attention peaks and branding are aligned.

Fast Fact 4: Attention increases with a higher percentage of pixels

Pixels matter to attention and brand choice. Anything below 100% pixels means diminished attention (and sales). We see this consistently across multiple sets of data. The performance of a platform environment in relation to ad visibility can greatly affect the amount of attention people pay to those ads. For example, the larger the ad in the platform feed the less competing stimuli there is around the ad, the more likely the ad will be noticed.

Fast Fact 5: Ad decay and attention are related

If you want to be remembered at the purchase occasion, you’re going to need your brand remembered for a reasonable amount of time.

The more attention paid to a well-branded ad, the longer the brand stays in memory. Advertising decay is the rate at which the effect of advertising erodes over time. We see consistent patterns across multiple sets of data that show that ads that gain higher attention on initial exposure stay in memory for longer. The impact of the ad is more enduring. Each attentive second, on average, leads to 3 days in memory.

Fast Fact 6: 2 seconds is not enough

If someone is telling you that 2 seconds is enough, don’t believe them. Our data show conclusively that there is a difference in advertising impact above and below the 2 second mark. This is consistent across all platforms, even TV. Less than 2 seconds of attention paid can have an effect, but there is a sizable and positive impact on brand choice above the 2 second mark.

It’s the combination of well-branded quality creative attuned to quality platform/delivery choice that increases the chance of your brand being remembered at the purchase occasion.

By focusing on the actual target of advertising (humans), attention becomes a resilient, portable and impartial measure retaining its usefulness and accuracy in the face of platform and device disruption. It inherently reflects differences across platforms making it a universal baseline for ROI.

Ultimately, attention has the capacity to change how the entire advertising ecosystem values the space upon which it trades.

For the latest attention news, sign up to attentionSOURCE monthly newsletter.