Mars, the food-to-petcare business, sees attention as an important metric in its digital advertising – and “peak attention” in particular as a crucial moment for delivering an emotional message.

“We’ve landed on peak attention as a KPI that that drives success in digital,” Sorin Patilinet, global consumer marketing insights director at Mars, told The Drum.

Recently, writing for The WARC Guide to Planning for Attention, Patilinet explained how Mars has been testing emerging metrics, including attention.

“We believe that an execution with a better attention score will travel across media channels better and will be a safer bet for you when you need to make a choice,” he said then.

“At the same time, Attention is fully utilised to understand the moments in your creative that are winning consumers’ minds, and those that are confusing them,” he added.

Now he defines “peak attention” as an important KPI for digital. But attention of any sort is in short supply and brands have an increasingly short time in which to operate in this channel, with digital ads reducing to 15 or 6 seconds from the traditional 30-second spot.

As Patilinet told the Drum, “Marketers would be shocked if they knew how little active attention some of their executions are getting, They think that people watch all the 15-seconds, and then they find out that in some cases, it’s only two seconds.”

Highlighting a product or brand in this narrow window is a big ask and Patilinet is realistic in his ambitions: “The only thing we can do is to elicit some polite attention within the duration that they watch.”

Mars’ work in this area includes the largest-ever CPG Neuromarketing study with Nielsen Neurosciences, which has helped it understood how Attention, Emotion and Memory Encoding works for its consumers.

“The first need is attention because we know that attention is declining,” said Patilinet. “Once you’ve gotten that attention, you can then start eliciting emotions.” And by building emotions, it’s possible to better encode a brand’s distinctive assets into the consumer’s brain – assets that can then be easily recalled.

Making an emotional ad in just six seconds is a challenge, he admitted, and he compared digital ads today to static OOH or print ads “because you basically have one shot in which to say your message and that's it”.

Despite all the constraints, Patilinet is optimistic about the use of the Attention metric and its value in generating revenue.

“Today, we feel comfortable to identify the Attention KPIs that correlate best with sales and we have a set of deep behaviourally generated creative guidelines ready to embrace to make better ads,” he wrote in The WARC Guide. 

Sourced from The Drum, The WARC Guide