Why advertisers are adding attention metrics to content-based targeting

Roxy Ziatabari, senior vice president, strategy and client solutions, Channel Factory

The advertising industry has long relied on metrics such as click-through rates and impressions to measure campaign success. Combining these with sales from any advertising campaign allows advertisers and brands to discern their ROI. 

However, these metrics miss an essential first step. Capturing — and measuring — a viewer’s attention is now vital to driving engagement and ultimately maximizing the return on investment of any campaign. 

And, as the impending deprecation of third-party cookies draws near and the industry realizes the stumbling blocks of targeting via user data, success lies in focusing on contextual advertising and brand suitability based on the content rather than an individual’s data. 

With this idea comes the notion of using attention-based metrics to measure campaigns and create new insights that fuel stronger advertising strategies for brands and agencies.

Why attention has become essential to clicks, engagement and conversions

To truly determine the impact of an advertising campaign and then iterate to create the most impactful campaigns possible with those insights, CTR and impressions are not sufficient measurement approaches. Instead, attention is increasingly the first focus for measurement as advertisers understand attention’s role in driving clicks, engagement and conversions. 

Moreover, it’s important to note that in a world where users share devices and subscriptions, targeting ads solely based on data is becoming increasingly ineffective at captivating a viewer’s attention. A mother and her teenage son are likely to have wildly different interests — and therefore, advertising to them based on user data alone will often lead to wasted impressions on one or the other recipient.

This makes the significance of attention as a metric all the more critical, and successful brands and agencies are reframing their targeting strategies to centralize this metric. 

Content-based advertising maximized user attention in recent tests

Instead of relying on individual profile data, contextual advertising targets ads based on the content in which they appear. This content-based approach ensures that ads are relevant to the viewer’s current online experience and the audience of a particular creator — increasing the likelihood of capturing their attention. And recent case examples are proving the value of the strategy.

For example, to uncover if content-based advertising truly maximizes viewer attention, Channel Factory partnered with Playground XYZ, one of the industry’s leading attention measurement and optimization companies. The partnership confirmed that content is king, and the results were even more impressive than the teams had predicted. 

On average, contextual-driven campaigns were found to drive 28% more attention than the industry benchmarks. Additionally, attention to skippable ads increased by nearly 70%, demonstrating the value of content-based advertising in maximizing ROI as brands can adopt less-expensive ad buys. Both non-skippable and skippable ad formats consistently outperformed benchmarks, exceeding expectations 97% and 95% of the time, respectively.

Attention cuts through the noise of a complex digital landscape

The findings of the Channel Factory-Playground XYZ tests underscore a critical message for the advertising industry that both content-based targeting and attention are essential for advertisers. Ensuring that campaigns reach the right audience at the right time, alongside the right content, is integral to holding viewers’ attention and subsequently increasing engagement and maximizing ROI.

Furthermore, the study illuminated the path forward for advertisers seeking to capture and maintain viewer attention in an increasingly complex digital landscape. 

In the age of shared devices and subscriptions, the power of individual profile data is diluted. Campaigns targeted solely at personal data miss out on the tremendous potential of contextual advertising. By embracing the reality that content holds the key, brands can unlock the full potential of their advertising efforts and ensure their messages resonate with viewers.

Contextual-driven campaigns create a more effective and respectful way to engage audiences. Advertisers are achieving increased attention and improved ROI by prioritizing brand suitability and inclusivity over personal data. The message is clear: it’s time to shift focus from data to content and embrace the power of context in advertising.

Sponsored by Channel Factory


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