Attention is the Remedy to Ad Overload
Joanne Leong, global head of planning at Dentsu, sat down with Realeyes to discuss Dentsu's approach to creative and media attention, advise brands just starting out, and how Dentsu research demonstrates attention is the best way to understand how ads can cut through an increasingly cluttered environment.
Why is attention so important?
Attention is really important because it gets us closer to what people are doing across all of these different platforms and different media environments. I think a lot of what we call legacy metrics within advertising, like reach, frequency, impressions, and viewability, are all based on measuring devices and are more of an optimistic exposure, e.g., we hope someone looked at the ad. But we don't necessarily know if someone consumed them. Attention gets us closer to understanding that someone saw the ad.
It's always been the core question in our industry, but, over the past couple of years, technology has advanced in such a way that we're now actually able to measure that and do so in a scalable way and can be applied [to live campaigns].
Ultimately, attention is really important, because it gets us to a truer representation of understanding whether we reached and impacted someone with the ads that we've created.
|Attention is really important because it gets us closer to what people are doing across all of these different platforms and different media environments|
So attention is having a moment, as you said. And one of the reasons we can agree on is that the technology has caught up to the theory. Is there anything else that's driving it?
It's the convergence of multiple factors. Now that this technology exists, it paints a fuller picture of what's happening around platforms and media environments and creative in a way that we're now starting to be able to apply. And regarding the broader landscape, things have gotten a lot more complex, and from a consumer standpoint, you're just bombarded with so much information daily.
The research that we've done [demonstrates] that the average consumer today sees over 5,000 ads. And so, if you just think about kind of the volume of you know, impressions and ads that the average person is exposed to daily.
That makes it hard to understand what the difference is in the attention and the impact that each of those ads will have on a person. There's just been a real interest in trying to understand that better. And as we move to a cookie-less future, things like attention will be a more important solution.
And so there's looking at the attention that creative sort of provokes in a vacuum, and there's the idea that that creative is going to run in different environments and different environments affect people in different ways. Do you think it's important to view those two in tandem?
I think it's important to understand both at the same time. Over at Dentsu, we have an initiative called the Attention Economy. We're hitting our fifth anniversary of that initiative. This year we have been doing a lot of research, looking intently looking at the attention landscape, trying to understand, like, what is the best way to apply attention technology and attention capabilities for our clients.
|we've seen that creative is the biggest driver of how hard attention works. For most media environments, there are probably typical levels of attention paid to it; there's a floor and a ceiling.|
In our research, we've seen that creative is the biggest driver of how hard attention works. For most media environments, there are probably typical levels of attention paid to it; there's a floor and a ceiling. Really excellent creative can maximize or stretch that attention and drive higher outcomes compared to creative that's not so great.
From the media perspective, we look at how we can drive that real opportunity. And then, from there, how do we stretch that attention? And so, it's important to think about what kind of capabilities you can have to start understanding how the two work together.
What's your advice for a brand just starting to understand attention measurement?
For most of our clients, the first step is working with your agency teams and the attention specialists that we have internally to start to understand the principles of attention, what it means, and how you define it. That way, you start to understand the bigger picture of how this can fit into their marketing and media plans.
Attention has become a buzzword that is also confusing because [there's a debate] on how we define it. So it can seem like this ambiguous thing. But the first step is trying to understand it, and trying to understand what exists out there and what the definitions are. And if that kind of aligns with what you're trying to do.
Many of our clients like to start with measurement, which is the easiest place to start because you don't have to change anything you're doing. You're just applying it to your measurement, so you understand your baselines and where there are opportunities to drive more attention. So there's very little risk associated with that.
That helps them get their foot in the door, and then, from there, you can leverage the insights to adjust your plans or even do some optimizations and activations.