Attention Metrics – are they “primary KPI” ready?

By: Matthew Hardwick, Analytics Supervisor

Attention Metrics evaluate the delivery quality of placements and creatives.

Attention Metrics, built on a variety of data points from looser metrics around viewability to specific metrics such as eye tracking technology, seek to measure whether a user exposed to an ad will notice and ultimately understand the ad’s message. The idea is to go beyond the signals suggested by standard delivery and engagement metrics by creating indicators that more accurately assess the quality of placements and creatives.

Attention metrics are no new concept. In 2017, iSpot introduced their attention score to understand which TV ads viewers were watching. While attention measurement offerings and technology have since improved, there currently is no standard for measuring attention. Some vendors, such as Gazepoint, offer eye tracking technology. These panel-based solutions install cameras that track what aspects of digital content a user looks at. Other vendors, such as Adelaide, develop their own metrics that score the quality of placements across the vast digital landscape. These modeled solutions factor in channel delivery, behavioral data, and consumer research to predict the likelihood that a placement will help a user digest the intended message.

While Attention Metrics can provide new insights, their measurement isn’t standardized.

The concept of attention is important – always be seeking a higher quality KPI to understand your media quality and reach your campaign goals. It addresses the critical issue of uncertainty around whether current delivery and engagement metrics are actually indicators of successful campaigns. With these gaps in measurement, attention metrics can serve as great tools for better understanding media quality.

However, it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of current attention measurement solutions. Panel measurement can sometimes struggle with sampling, and modeled solutions are often black boxes. Attention metrics are still very much in development, and it will likely take for the Media Rating Council to step in and standardize attention measurement for these solutions to have meaningful impact.

MMWW recommends forgoing Attention Metrics for readily available proxy metrics.

While the digital media world awaits standardized attention solutions, proxy metrics can help gauge if placements and creatives are driving home their intended message. There is no single metric that best correlates with attention. Rather, a combination of delivery, engagement, and attitudinal metrics should be used to directionally estimate attention.

These metrics include, but are not limited to:

  • Delivery – CPM, viewability, on-target
  • Site Engagement – page views, dwell time, scroll depth, bounce rate
  • Ad Engagement – click-through rate, video completion rate, audible rate, likes, shares
  • Attitude – lifts in ad recall, awareness, consideration

Most of these metrics are already being tracked and reported on from campaigns, and clients are generally familiar with these terms. Comparing these data points can help determine which placements are seeing efficient delivery, which creatives are driving quality engagement, and which tactics are creating a lasting impression to consumers. Understanding this allows marketers to directionally determine how effective media is at driving home the intended message.

However, it’s important to evaluate these metrics differently based on the overall business and media objectives. For example, many clients rely on ROI metrics from 3rd party media mix models as their source of truth for determining media effectiveness. Unfortunately, insights from these models are usually only available 1 2x per year, thus limiting their use cases for real-time optimizations. In the meantime, we can optimize towards proxy metrics that have the strongest relationship to ROI. This approach allows us to quickly improve media efficiency while inching closer to the client’s goals.