How brands are driving better outcomes with attention-focused strategies

Sarah Martinez, senior vice president, Americas Revenue, IAS

The digital media landscape is a revolving door of content that vies for consumer attention. Between social feeds that scroll to infinity with the swipe of a finger and the state of television undergoing a digital revolution, content is everywhere — but consumer attention is fragmented and always challenging to capture.

Attention is perhaps the most critical ingredient in a successful ad campaign. It’s a key driver of brand memorability, favorability and purchase intent, all of which work together to improve campaign outcomes. At the same time, sophisticated media metrics still have room for improvement in understanding consumer behavior. In response, an increasing number of brands are turning to more nuanced audience measurement strategies.

Capturing and measuring consumer attention can be daunting for marketers. However, brands are driving better outcomes as they turn to strategies centered on media quality and contextual relevance.

Gauging consumer attention with viewability and media quality metrics

Marketers are finding viewability metrics to be some of the most critical elements for measuring consumer attention levels. After all, if an ad isn’t meeting basic viewability standards, it will most likely not achieve high ROI.

IAS recently conducted a study with a major CPG brand to determine the impact of in-view ads on attention and outcomes. After implementing nuanced ad viewability measurement via in-view ad placements, the brand tripled its return on ad spend.

Media quality metrics are essential to the end-to-end ad journey and can be used in tandem with other measurement frameworks to help drive better outcomes. Another study used these metrics to show how an increase in viewability and brand safety also increased time-in-view (with an average 57% increase in conversions).

Optimizing media quality can help increase time-in-view, but there’s a balance that marketers are looking to find in these processes. In the IAS study, ads that remained in view between three and 10 seconds over-indexed at driving incremental sales compared to shorter and longer time-in-view ranges. This suggests marketers can use an ideal time-in-view range as a benchmark for attention — while simultaneously driving incremental sales.

Holding audience attention with contextual relevance

Third-party tracking cookies will soon be entirely deprecated, leaving a gap in how brands reach their ideal consumers. Because of this, marketers are looking for solutions that draw interest from their targeted audience — making contextual relevance more important than ever.

Ad context, which is determined by the relevance of an ad to its surrounding content environment, is crucial for optimizing the time and attention a consumer gives an advertisement. Contextuality can help drive brand memorability, brand favorability and purchase intent.

In a recent ad experiment, IAS tracked user eyesight onscreen to gauge how much time consumers spent with a display ad for HP laptops in conflicting content environments. One environment was contextually aligned with the ad, and the other was not. 

After analyzing these variables, the study concluded that consumers were four times more likely to remember the HP brand in the contextually relevant scenario versus the misaligned content environment. Brand favorability toward HP also soared with a 5% increase for consumers who saw the in-context ad. 

What’s more, consumers reported being 14% more likely to purchase from HP after seeing the in-context ad as opposed to viewing the out-of-context ad. These connecting experiences played out over time are crucial to keeping these audiences engaged.

As privacy regulations are enacted, and third-party cookies fade away, more and more brands are leveraging innovative tracking technologies to ensure their campaigns align with user preferences. With contextual relevance, marketers have a significantly greater opportunity to reach an audience interested in what’s being advertised. 

Using media quality metrics to improve campaign performance and capture audience attention

As consumers demand higher-quality advertising, more marketers are optimizing media quality for time-in-view and enacting contextual targeting strategies. These processes capture consumer attention more efficiently and effectively for better engagement.

When seeking to maximize sales lift, the most successful marketers are implementing advertising solutions that improve media quality by drawing deep insights from viewability metrics. Knowing what content elements capture consumer attention makes it much easier to keep them engaged and secure their buy-in for years to come.

It’s human nature for consumers to focus the vast majority of their attention on stimuli that most interests them. Successful marketers are tapping into these instincts to fuel more powerful campaign outcomes.

Sponsored by: IAS

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