Everyone is Paying Attention to... Attention

"Everyone is paying attention to…. Attention. "

'It’s a cliche those of us who work in attention measurement are using very frequently these days; but it’s true. Industry momentum for attention has picked up! 

This week alone we saw two major events happen in-person in New York City - ARF’s Attention 2022 and The Attention Council’s Programmatic Summit. At TVision we were happy to sponsor both of these events and help bring together industry practitioners from across the advertising ecosystem to advance the conversation on attention measurement. 

Here are our five key take-aways from the events this week:

  1. The industry wants to put attention into practice - Earlier research pointed to a disconnect between the value the industry recognized in attention as a measurement tool and the implementation of attention metrics in campaign planning and decision making. But the industry has come a long way in a short time, and is now eager to implement. In concert with Monday’s Attention 2022 event, Scott MacDonald, CEO of ARF announced a new committee to move attention metrics from the lab to field applications. “The ARF Attention Validation Project has goals to define attention as measured by neurometric response technology and determine if that predicts the performance of ads and content; to test the validity and replicability of measure of attention-based ads on artificial intelligence and machine learning; and to see if measuring attention is good for evaluating where to place ads,” explains Jon Lafayette in NextTV.

  2. Capturing attention is a team effort - As Parvati Vaish of Havas Media explained at the ARF event, the formula for attention is media x audiences x creative. Good media strategies deliver the opportunity to capture attention from appropriate audience. But it’s up to the creative to keep that attention, and ensure the ad makes an impact. The creative must be contextually relevant and compelling in order to retain the attention that the media placement lends.

  3. Push for Quality Metrics - As Laurel Van Tassel, Senior Media Director, Global Marketing at Anheuser Busch explained, the push to use attention as a currency will require behavioral changes across the ad buying ecosystem. Marketers need to battle procurement and convince them of the need to pay for quality, whereas currently inventory is sold based on quantity. Buying on quantity alone can result in a “race to the bottom” looking for the cheapest inventory, that may deliver impressions or ratings, but little value in terms of actual audience engagement.  Attention is a quality metric and if marketers can use aCPM (attentive CPM) when buying placements they are able to extract more value from their campaigns as more people interact with the ad. Here we provide tips on how to make aCPM a component of your media buying strategy.   
    Screen Shot 2022-09-15 at 8.57.15 PM
  4. Attention Should Not Be Directly Correlated to Sales Lift - Attention is a metric to measure the impact of media placement and creative. While attention does directly correlate to down funnel metrics like brand recall and aided awareness, it is not necessarily an indicator of sales lift  for  all industries and brands. Brands have long identified their own correlations between upper funnel metrics like awareness and ad recall and down funnel metrics like purchase intent and conversion. We like to think of Attention as a mid-campaign indicator. It can help marketers gauge the level of audience engagement during the campaign, but ultimately sales lift is dependent on many additional factors.

  5. When You Use Attention as an Input, You Are More Likely to Gain Attention as an Output, too - As the folks at MediaHub Worldwide explained at The Attention Council event on Wednesday, their team uses attention metrics to inform media planning. It is one of the factors that contributes to media investments. Of course, when you create media plans with attention in mind, the result is usually a more engaged and attentive audience. 


State of CTV 2022