Eye don’t believe it: ads needn’t be seen to be effective

video_watchingThose who believe the current online measurement metrics are laughable might want to look away; the latest research now claims consumers do not even have to be watching video ads for them to be effective.
Critics have long lambasted the IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation that an online ad is considered viewable if 50% of it is in view for at least one second. One 2016 study even claimed that an online ad needs to be on the screen for at least 14 seconds to have any chance of being looked at.
But according to The Attention Economy initiative, a 15-month study led by advertising giant Dentsu Aegis Network, consumers do not actually have to actively watch video ads for them to sink in; ads played in a viewer’s peripheral vision potentially have almost as much value as those watched “full on”.
Even so, the finer details – such as whether jingles (or “sonic devices”) play a major role in recall or even how many times each ad had to be played for it to register – have not been released.
The research project has been carried out in partnership with Australia’s Centre for Amplified Intelligence at the University of Adelaide. It involved 3,400 panel members in the UK, US and Australia, and analysed over 17,000 video views.
Backed by broadcasters, social media and video-sharing platforms, who are no doubt desperate to prove the effectiveness of video ads, it aims to establish new ways to measure and trade media based on the concept of attention.
It found that attention works differently on different platforms, with TV ads being the most ignored but delivering the highest impact.
The study combined screen data (viewability/time on screen) with eye-gaze tracking and short-time advertising strength measures to create a new definition of attention and assess whether a measure can be found that works consistently across platforms.
Dentsu Aegis Network head of global media partnerships Clive Record said: “As an industry, we’ve been slow to react as an explosion in media choice has created a real scarcity of audience attention. In that context, metrics such as impressions, reach and ‘opportunities to see’ are increasingly problematic, as there can be huge differences in the value of those currencies across platforms and devices.
“These are just first steps, but the results strongly suggest we can use attention to rethink the way media is measured, planned and traded. Already, our increased understanding of attention can fuel better client strategies at a time when people are avoiding commercial messages more and more.”

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