Data: All attention is equal, but some is more equal than others

Optimal attention level for engagement and conversion differs wildly for each brand, according to the latest research data from attention measurement and optimisation platform Playground xyz.

According to the study – which saw the platform analyse eye-tracking data from approximately 20,000 participants who were exposed to 55 ads across Instagram, Facebook and YouTube – it takes 1.4 seconds of consumer engagement to drive a 10% lift in brand awareness.

However, for mid-funnel results a longer attention threshold of 1.6 seconds is needed for consideration, while 3.9 seconds is needed for prompted recall.

Overall, Playground xyz’s research revealed that consumer awareness, recall and consideration were all strongly influenced by core attention metrics, with increases in the majority of outcomes typically occurring within the first 10% of an ad being watched.

During the study, which highlighted that not all attention is equal, each participant was presented with a newsfeed featuring ads on a single social media platform and asked to use it as they usually would for a three to five minute period.

Participants then completed a short survey on brand outcomes including awareness, recall, consideration and purchase intent. The results were then explored in conjunction with neuroscientific analysis.

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Brand size is crucial

Larger brands with a baseline awareness above 75% are almost 1.5 times more likely to get a lift in these circumstances, with an optimal attention threshold below two seconds.

This is probably the consequence of pre-existing brand recognition and the use of distinctive assets (e.g. strong visuals, unique colours and audio jingles). All of these require less attention to jog the mind and so provoked strong responses.

However, for mid-funnel results, a longer attention threshold is needed of 1.6 seconds for consideration and 3.9 seconds for prompted recall. The level of lift achieved also differs significantly per outcome.

The role of creative execution

In 94% of the ads analysed in the study, the thresholds for optimal attention were different depending on what creative was used versus the platform, which had less impact on performance.

In addition, results from over 150 lab sessions revealed that creative content significantly impacts memory encoding, which in turn impacts marketing goals like brand loyalty and sales.

“Our new dataset is the best evidence we have, to date, that explicitly  shows that different brand outcomes and creative executions ‘convert’ attention differently” said Yahoo’s Rob Hall.

Brands can be empowered to craft more impactful campaigns by understanding how exactly attention affects customers at different stages of the marketing funnel. This, along with greater investment in strong creative development, can powerfully influence specific consumer behaviours, and help amplify measurable results.”

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