May 4, 2017

Attention is Crucial for Ad Success

With the proliferation of devices, screens and platforms, it is much easier in this day and age to reach the right audience with video ads. But how effective is the reach if the attention is lacking? And if the attention is lacking, how likely is the inattentive consumer to consider making a purchase?

According to Nielson research, the attention that consumers pay to a video directly corresponds with the ad recall. This is not groundbreaking news, however. How often have you been watching a program on television and get distracted? Suddenly your mind goes to the source of distraction and your attention to the program is gone!

Ad recall is essential to a marketing platform. And while this is no surprise, video platforms such as YouTube have discovered that the consumer who both hears, and sees ads is much more likely to recall and consider accepting a call to action than those who only see, or only hear an ad. In addition, they have produced evidence that users who watch a video ad for more than three seconds experience a much higher ad recall, as well as a higher consideration factor.

So, while reach is extremely vital for marketers, there must be another ingredient to make the recipe complete: Attention!

Attention, by the way, is defined as participants looking at the ad, looking at another part of the screen or at the countdown or skip button while the ad is playing. It does not include looking at other screens or devices, interacting with other people or pets, leaving the room to grab a snack, etc. Attention also does not mean changing the channel, clicking on a different video or link, minimizing the ad or closing the video share site altogether. Lastly, it certainly does not mean skipping or fast-forwarding the ad.

While a marketer may find the right crowd to market to, and find the medium to get the word to that audience, it’s all for naught if that audience isn’t intrigued enough to pay attention to the ad.

Video share platforms such as YouTube have been found to demand more attention by the viewer than television advertising.

Global market and opinion research specialists, Ipsos, conducted a series of tests to determine the level of attention given to advertisements on various platforms using special eye-tracking technology, which is a tool commonly used to help brands gain a better understanding of consumer behavior. Two groups participated in the study; one wore the eye-tracking glasses while they went about their routine television watching at home, while the other group wore the glasses as they viewed their favorite video sharing platform. The participants were in the 18-54 age bracket, and watched at least five hours of TV per week. The other group were in the same age bracket, but watched YouTube or other video sharing platforms at least monthly. This provided for a comfortable environment in their home, which made for an accurate measure of visual attention paid to ads on television compared to those on video share sites.

Here are some of the other factors besides attention that were observed:

Multitasking: Involves viewers looking at other screens or devices, as well as interacting with other people or pets, or even leaving the room for one reason or another. Switching: Means changing the channel, clicking on another link, minimizing the ad or closing the video share application. Skipping: Means to simply skip over the ad or fast-forward through it.

The results of the “attention testing” through the use of eye-tracking data revealed that 55% of the television advertising was NOT paid attention to. That’s because 26% of the viewers were multitasking, 15% skipped the ads and 14% switched channels or videos. So, at the end of the day, only 45% of the television ads actually received any attention.

When the video viewers were tested, it was found that 62% of them paid attention to the ads. The attention factor increases even greater when viewers watched video sharing sites, such as YouTube. Only 12% of them had a tendency to multitask, and only 1% would switch channels. Only 15% of them were likely to skip the ads.

The takeaway from this is that:

When seeking an explanation for the vast difference in the viewing factors, it was hypothesized that because television commercials are grouped together, people may be more likely to turn their attention away from them, whereas video site video ads are presented one at a time, between videos, which many find more tolerable. In fact, according to recent surveys, 73% of television viewers find the number of commercials run during their favorite programs is annoying. Viewers tend to feel less “confined” to the screen on the video sites, as they have the option to skip through should they wish.

Perhaps the difference in the screens’ appeal to viewers may be that viewers have a tendency to multitask. As an example, two thirds (66%) of the viewers surveyed admitted to the fact that they pick up another device during television commercials. Only 6% of video site watchers do the same. These multitasking behaviors include grabbing a snack, using the restroom or leaving the room altogether, while 98% the YouTuber crowd sticks to the screen. One of the factors that most likely play a key role in the different figures is that when someone is viewing ads on their mobile device, they can take their phones or tablets with them into whatever room they go into, which is not an option for TV viewers.

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