Ad vs. Program Attention: Does Strong Content Keep Viewers Engaged With Ads?

Picture this: you’re sitting on the edge of the sofa watching your favorite TV show (mine is Ghosts). Suddenly, cut to the ad break. You can’t wait to see what happens next, so it stands to reason that you’ll keep your eyes glued to the screen until your show resumes…right?

This is a commonly held belief in the advertising and TV industries, and we consistently come across it on the TVision Sales Team. Certainly, it makes sense that programs with highly engaged audiences also perform better than average for their ads. However, I had yet to see an attention-driven study that looked into the matter.

Enter TVision’s person-level data.

Together with TVision’s Data & Analytics team, we analyzed program data across all linear TV networks and compared the attention captured to those of ad pods within the program. Here’s what we learned:

High-Attention Programming Typically Has High-Attention Ad Spots

The data showed that there is indeed a strong correlation between how well an audience pays attention during a program and its corresponding ad spots. In general, networks with high engagement for their content also capture high attention during commercial time. The below charts show our Attention to Visible Index at the network level. This metric reveals how likely audiences in the room are to be paying eyes-on-screen attention.

Ad vs. Program Attention Chart

I was blown away by just how conclusive the data was--a nearly 1:1 relationship between ad and program attention at the network level! This study reinforces and proves the hypothesis that more attentive programming results in more attentive ads, something long said by networks, but now conclusively shown utilizing TVision data. And as we saw in our recent study with Upwave, choosing high-attention media placements can have a tangible impact on brand KPIs.


Download the full Ad vs. Program Attention Report to see how the trend holds true for a correlation between program and ad level attention (Hint, there is a bit more variance, but the general correlation holds true over the thousands of programs, and millions of impressions captured in this study) and across key demographics.

Next Steps: Evaluate Any TV Network With Ad Scoreboard

TVision makes it easy to keep a pulse on which linear TV opportunities deliver the most engaged viewers so you can optimize for attention. Network Scoreboard, one of three dashboards within TVision’s new Ad Scoreboard, provides insight into audience engagement on any linear TV network. See how often people are in the room when the ads are shown and how likely these audiences are to pay attention. The dashboard ranks each network’s best-performing programs so that you can prioritize them in your media plans. Learn more or request a demo today.

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