New Study Helps Quantify the Impact of TV Ad Attention on Key Sales and Marketing Metrics

One of the questions we frequently get here at TVision is "does attention matter?" As industry leader Paolo Provinciali pointed out in "The Critical Importance of Optimizing for Human Attention in Advertising”, you cannot expect a message to influence behavior if no attention is given to it. 

In other words, if an ad comes across your living room TV while you are in the kitchen making a sandwich, does that ad have any chance of influencing your behavior? The answer is no. If you are in the room with the TV, hear that familiar jingle, or a celebrity’s distinctive voice, and look up to the screen, the ad has officially captured your attention. That brand and those selling points are more likely to linger in your brain space for a while and maybe accompany you to the market when you have to choose between, for example, Jif, Skippy, or that bland, flavorless generic peanut butter.  

So, if attention clearly influences behavior more than distraction does, how should we measure its impact? 

The joint study published last week by TVision and Upwave provides a helpful framework for correlating Attention’s impact on key brand metrics that advertisers are already tracking. The study compared TVision’s ad attention data compiled from our national in-home viewing panel, to Upwave’s brand lift data, which combines predictive analytics with the largest set of consumer data available. The study looked at the performance of over 40 brands, and found a clear correlation between Attention and Brand Lift. Here are some of the main findings from The Impact of Attention on Brand Lift.



  • There is a 1:1 correlation between TV Viewer Attention and Brand Lift. For every percentage point increase in Viewer Attention to high-frequency ads, there is close to a 1% corresponding lift in Aided Awareness. 
  • This means a campaign reaching 100M people, earning 38% Attention instead of 34% Attention, will result in nearly 4M additional people who think of the brand when thinking about the industry.
  • The study also reports a similar correlation between Ad Attention and Ad Recall. 


As you can see, optimizing for attention will drive brand health and upper funnel metrics that brands consistently seek to improve, because they are tied directly to both long and short-term sales. Our customers and partners know using our data moves the needle both up and down the funnel, but this study aggregating results from multiple brands and industries quantifies Attention’s significant impact. 

When considering Ad Attention’s influence on key metrics, it is important to note that the impact is not limited to brand awareness. Other upper funnel metrics are also closely tied to attention. Upon reviewing the results of the TVision and Upwave study, I was reminded of this powerful academic study that was published earlier this year, “How Viewer Tuning, Presence, and Attention Respond to Ad Content and Predict Brand Search Lift.”  

In this study, researchers evaluated TVision's second-by-second Tuning, Viewability, and Attention data for 180 national television ads that aired during two NFL football playoff games. This data was compared to Google search volume data. The analysis shows that viewer attention, at 0.106 is significantly more indicative of brand search lift than if they were present in the room but not paying attention (0.013) or simply tuned to the content, but not necessarily in the room (0.006). 


This is not rocket science, of course, but it is significant. People don't just randomly search some over-syllabic drug name out of the blue. People don't just suddenly get the urge to visit websites they have never heard of before.  This study helps to prove that if you see an ad, it is more likely to influence behavior than an ad that is just delivered to your TV screen.  In fact, brand search is 20X more likely after an attentive impression than an impression that no one paid attention to. 

So, in closing, attention clearly matters. It is a critical ingredient to any successful campaign. TVision's goal is to help media buyers reach attentive viewers. In parallel, we help creative teams better understand what ads are working, with what audiences, and why, so that they can engage the captive audience that the media team delivered. 

Whether improving upper funnel awareness or increasing brand search/website visits is the goal, optimizing towards attention moves the needle (and a lot). It is exciting to see the evidence mounting and to increasingly be able to affirmatively answer the question of “does attention matter?” It does. 

Download "The Impact of Attention on Brand Lift" today.

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