Advertisers need to move away from duration-based measures of attention and adopt a practical, three-step framework that can measure it more effectively, according to a Facebook executive.
Writing in the current issue of Admap, Pete Buckley, communications planner at the social network, notes that while attention is currently a hot topic in the advertising industry, there is little practical advice on how to measure it beyond proxies such as duration or approaches such as EEG monitoring which often require a lab setting.
The problem with duration-based proxy measures such as time spent or the length of the ad, he says, is simply that the duration of an ad and the attention it receives aren’t the same thing.
Advertisers who buy longer duration are not necessarily getting greater attention and optimizing investment based on duration metrics can result in unintended consequences which can limit effectiveness.
For example, it can reduce the number of people reached: those users who view longer content more frequently cost more than the shortest viewer, he says. And this approach can also bias a campaign towards older audiences who scroll more slowly and towards the desktop format since people scroll far more quickly on mobile.
Marketers should shift from proxy measures, Buckley contends, and instead look to measure the impact on business and brand outcomes that the activity is driving.
“The more effective your marketing activity is at driving outcomes, the more effective the attention it has captured,” he says.
Buckley advocates a test and learn approach, to determine what works for a particular brand, category, and market, in reaching its audience. More specifically, he favors incrementality measurement, which uses a test vs. control format to compare different variables in ad campaigns, as one of the best signals for increasing ROI.
Advertisers can calculate a lift in ad performance by comparing differences in outcomes between a group of people shown advertising and a comparable control group that wasn’t shown the ad, with the only variation being the differences in ad impressions shown.
Industry leaders including Netflix, Airbnb, eBay, and Booking.com have all seen success from using incrementality to measure ad effectiveness, evaluate tactics and channels, and adapt their marketing strategies to maximise ROI, Buckley reports.