Australians are watching more ads than they think they are but that doesn’t mean it’s good news for marketers and advertisers.

According to new research by Kantar, Eye Square and Google, 51% of the 2,808 ads and 741 minutes of footage tracked by the study had ‘eyes on-screen’, which was double what participants self-reported as the time they spent watching ads. But though people are watching more ads than they think they are, only half of the ads attracted eyeballs.

Online video was found to have the highest percentage of eyes on screens due to changes in how people were watching video content. 

YouTube was seen to drive the most attention of all screens at 64%, with ‘Catch up’ TV accounting for 54% and Free To Air TV 49%. YouTube’s shorter and less predictable ad breaks meant people were less likely to get up during that time. 43% of YouTube viewers also claimed to take their device with them while they completed other tasks.

The findings underscored the “scarcity of attention as a commodity” – or the significant value advertisers place on the times when people are actually focused on ads.

The research used a new method of eye-tracking technology for the first time in Australia to get a clearer picture of people’s viewing habits across multiple channels and devices as they went about everyday life. Participants opted in and wore discreet, eye-tracking glasses by Eye Square.

Google Australia's head of large customer marketing Mark Wheeler said the study also shows that sustained attention is something they need to work hard for. Screen size is a much less important predictor of attention than where people are viewing, what they are choosing to watch based on their personal interests, and how creative the content is.

“The lesson here is to ensure your advertising creative is clever and engaging, and that you’re using the right mix of media,” he added.

Kantar’s executive director of media and digital, Mark Henning, said that, with the right creative in the right environment, viewers will pay attention to ads.

“Reach and exposure are important media measures, but they don’t tell the whole story,”’ he added. “Ads that are successful at gaining the attention of consumers – through great creative, and being viewed in the right environment, have the best chance of effectively impacting consumers.”

Sourced from Mumbrella, B&T Magazine, AdNews