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March 5, 2024
5 min read

How to Measure the Value of Attention in Banner Ads

In today’s article I will address a topic that never ceases to pique my interest – attention validation in the realm of advertising. Before we go any further, there's a gem I must share with you. It's a white paper by Adnami, aptly titled "Unveiling the Metric That Matters," which has a deep impact on the entire advertising industry. The findings of the study resonate deeply with us over at Smartico, as the metric in question is a pillar of our analytical strategy.

Christian Scherbel
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Attention as the Primary Advertising Metric

This comprehensive study kicks off with a statement that, frankly, I couldn't agree with more: if an ad goes unnoticed, everything else is purely academic. It resonates, doesn't it? After all, an ad that gets clicked on by mistake or is viewed by a bot is the equivalent of a billboard in the desert – present, but not impactful.

Let's dig a little deeper into why this sentiment holds true. Adnami begins with a fascinating etymological reminder: the term 'advert' traces its roots back to the 1400s from the Latin word 'advertere,' which means 'to turn one's attention.' Intriguing how we've circled back to the foundational element of advertising – gathering attention.

Now, here's the kicker. We're bombarded with over 5000 ads every single day! With such a number of ads competing for our hard-earned money, it's a legitimate puzzle determining where our attention truly lies. The answer, according to the paper, is that attention is a whopping seven times more potent than mere viewability when forecasting a campaign's recall and awareness.

The Core KPIs We Focus On

And what we've adopted at Smartico aligns perfectly – weighing the significance of the time an ad is actually in view:

  1. Time in View: Getting down to brass tacks, how long is the ad grabbing eyeballs? While social media often only holds our gaze for less than a second, ads on publisher sites linger for three to ten seconds, a window deemed ideal for effective message transmission.
  2. Viewability: An ad out of sight might as well be out of mind. The bar is set at having at least 10% of the ad in view. At Smartico, we take no half measures – 100% viewability is our gold standard.
  3. Engagement Beyond Clicks: A click is nothing but a fleeting gesture in the world of engagement. We delve deeper, tracking interactions like carousel swipes or time spent actively viewing an ad.

With these measures, we pivot the conversation surrounding display ads – from click-centric evaluation to recognizing their intrinsic value in securing precious consumer attention.

                                                                   The Attention Economy – balancing CPM and Attention.

Attention Economy and Attention CPM

Now, let's chat about something really insightful - the "Attention Economy" as coined by the paper. It's a benchmark for scouting value: comparing the cost of a thousand impressions (CPM) against the price you pay for a thousand seconds of attention. Surprisingly, traditional display ads present a compelling value proposition, sometimes overshadowing heavyweight players like Facebook and Instagram.

All right, picture high-impact ads for a moment. These are the vibrant carousels, the dynamic swipe ads – that's where the magic happens. They dial up the engagement and drive down the 'thousands of seconds of attention' price, without inflating the CPM.

Reports That Make Sense to Advertisers

Let's zoom out and focus on local advertisers. When it comes to showcasing their ad's triumphs, we can't just throw around complex graphs and perplexing metrics. They need a narrative that speaks to them, one that captures genuine human interaction with their brand:

"Your ad wasn't just viewed 5546 times. It captivated audiences for a total of 295 minutes in plain sight. It drew in 17 potential customers who devoted nearly 15 minutes interacting with your content."

Doesn't this approach hold more water than a measly click-through rate? For local advertisers, this conveys a tangible return on investment – minutes of genuine attention rather than an impersonal percentage.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, we're proposing a paradigm shift for evaluating display ads – from an outdated click rate yardstick to a new, attention-centric CPM standard. Let's give the modest display ad its due respect, harnessing its latent power to effectively reach audiences both vast and specific.

Bear in mind that success in engaging local and key account advertisers hinges on convincing, relatable storytelling tailored to their unique needs. With Smartico, that's precisely what we thrive on.

Thank you for your own precious attention. Here's to championing attention CPM as our go-to metric and bidding farewell to the obsolete click rate. Let’s craft ads that not only click but resonate!

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