GLOBAL: Consumer attention is an increasingly scarce commodity in a fragmented media landscape and marketers may have to look beyond simple viewability or OTS metrics to measure this aspect of consumer behaviour.

Writing in the January issue of Admap, Professor Karen Nelson-Field, University of Adelaide, and Dr Erica Riebe, Centre for Amplified Intelligence, outlined the results of a study that used gaze technology to measure the effects of attention.

This involved 2,723 viewer sessions and 20,319 test ad exposures, plus 38,745 shopping choices, and included eight individual sets of data across three different viewing platforms (TV, Facebook and YouTube) and three devices (TV screen, PC and mobile).

The authors observed a strong positive relationship between attention and sales. And when they looked more closely at the nature of that attention they found a similar pattern.

“The uplift in sales that would result from a shift in attention is greatest at the higher levels of attention. Thus, active attention drives more sales than less conscious levels of passive attention.”

Going a step further, they suggested that “paying attention precedes a heightened chance of buying, making attention a predictor of sales impact”.

But Nelson-Field and Riebe also reported that the relationship between attention and seconds on screen is a negative one.

“While having more of the ad on screen for longer will result in a higher propensity for the brand to be purchased, attention captures the boredom that sets in as the advertising plays and the tendency for audiences to avoid increases.”

In terms of media choice, therefore, “media that maximises pixels and coverage, particularly in the first few seconds of the ad airing, will be more effective than media that relies on subconscious processing of a small, partial opportunity to see the advertisement”.

The authors went on to consider whether ads that evoke high-arousal emotions deliver more attention and/or sales. Here they found that the uplift in sales and attention gained from an ad garnering a high-arousal (and positive) response was less than that gained from the ad simply being visible.

“This suggests that while the quality of the creative execution will help foster cut-through, being seen at all is far more crucial for driving sales,” they concluded.

“This is where media decisions, rather than the quality of the creative, play a more crucial role in effective advertising.”

Sourced from Admap