ARF Attention Measurement Validation Initiative

Realeyes’ PreView Attention Tech Featured in ARF Attention Validation

Creative is the largest driver of business outcomes, including sales. It is responsible for 69% of success, according to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF). It is becoming even more important as advertisers continue to study how their creative attracts and sustains attention.

The ARF’s landmark, three-phase study of the validity of attention measurement, has released its second instalment on creative attention methods.  

Realeyes entered the validation alongside our partner Kantar, which has integrated Realeyes’ Attention and facial coding PreView technology into its Context Lab solution for social video and mobile ad measurement. We thank the ARF for leading this incredible validation work. 

While the report did not disclose the names or scores of providers, it discussed categories of approaches to creative attention, including surveys, slider, eye tracking, facial coding, biometrics, and neuro. Not surprising, widely diverse methods and success outcomes yielded some different outputs. Realeyes’ technology falls under the “FacialEye” category, which combines facial coding with eye-tracking.  

The evaluation used PreView and 11 leading creative attention vendors’ technologies to test 32 pieces of content, spanning eight advertisers and 20 brands. The report also cited several research papers, including our 2021 joint study with TVision, The CMO Guide: Improving Media Efficiency Through Creative Attention. 

The ARF found that different methods can yield different results, though there is greatest consistency among providers offering facial coding. The initiative proposes further exploration of how media context influences attention and delves deeper into the relationship between attention and sales, emotions, and ad length. 

Key Findings 

  • “FacialEye” - combining eye tracking with facial coding - performed much better than eye tracking alone  
  • “FacialEye” correlates best to advertiser’s perceived campaign success and has substantively more “congruence within method” than eye-tracking or neuro 
  • “FacialEye” – our attention framework, including our partner Kantar’s, is well aligned with key industry classifications 

“FacialEye” – The Secret Weapon 

The importance of creative content as a key driver of attention in advertising is well established. Strong creative elements, approaches, and technical features can significantly outperform those ads that don’t. 

And while creative attention measurement has grown into a full industry recently, advertisers must navigate different providers approaching attention in different ways, complicating matters. The ARF wisely recommends to advertises that they should ask pointed questions of their providers to better understand the attention measurement under the hood.  


“FacialEye” Showed Several Key Benefits 

One key element of creative attention measurement is pressure testing a creative teams’ perspective on what makes a good ad. Attention measurement can suggest tweaks and alternative approaches that can improve business outcomes dramatically. When deployed at scale (to thousands or tens of thousands of ads or more), attention measurement can drive enterprise creative effectiveness. 

Figure 10 - Eye Tracking vs Facial Coding

The ARF compared advertisers’ internal scoring of ad efficacy with the attention measurement companies’ scoring to see where advertisers’ perspectives aligned with actual results. Like the above, “FacialEye” demonstrated the highest correlation. That means “FacialEye” can be used with confidence to help assess whether the internal perspective on a particular creative is accurate. 

Figure 22 - Attention Correlation to Ad Success

Creative Attention Measurement for a GenAI World 

Since entering PreView into the ARF’s validation program, we’ve been hard at work deepening our commitment to our Synthetic Attention API, enabling extraordinary scale on top of the gold standard of human testing (ground truth data). As human attention data can now be supercharged with AI in the form of instant attention predictions and recommendations, we are entering a golden age of creative attention measurement. Our first Synthetic Attention validation with a large global CPG firm drove up to 5% sales lift. 

We also are expanding our API relationships to embed our signals in many other leading advertising systems, such as CreativeX, with Mars Inc our first pilot adopter.



You’ll also soon see the Synthetic Attention signal embed within modern GenAI creative tools to create, select and edit thousands of permutations of ads. 

Even more, we expect the big opportunity with Attention will be to build a common language between creative and media performance, based on a more unified metric that ties to business outcomes. 

We applaud the ARF’s efforts, and in the future we’d recommend the industry consider a much larger sample of ads, with more consistent outcome data to evaluate against, and narrower definition of approaches.  

We look forward to the third phase of the ARF’s attention series, which focuses on media attention, and we support future industry validations of attention measurement