NEWS15 March 2023

Attention ‘super important’ metric but laced with complexity

Data analytics Insight Alchemy Media News UK

Attention metrics are a “super important” measurement of a campaign’s effectiveness but are filled with complexity, according to a panel of media executives.

MRS panel session at Insight Alchemy 2023

There has been an increased buzz around attention metrics, which measure an advertising campaign’s success based on audience engagement and utilise data such as attention, engagement and retention numbers.

Speaking on a panel discussing the upsides and downsides of attention as a measurement metric at the Market Research Society (MRS) conference Insight Alchemy,  Peter Wallace, general manager Europe, Middle East and Africa, Gum Gum, said attention was “super important” but still presented unanswered questions.

Wallace said: “It’s significantly important, it’s a very new space. There is no standardisation around attention. 

“But I mean in terms of a metric of measurement I think it’s super, super important and I think it creates a new framework that certainly right now for digital works extremely well if you are using the right methodologies and understand and analyse it. 

“I would still like to see how it embodies a broader spectrum of digital media channels and can become a bit of a unifying metric.”

However, Wallace said that while attention had many pluses, attention data does not yet inform whether it leads to improved business outcomes.

Neil Mortensen, director of audiences at ITV, noted that attention as a measurement metric was “trickier for TV” with other metrics, such as audio data, to consider in television measurement.

Mortensen said: “I read a lot about attention and I agree it’s massively important for the digital market. 

“I think we have also known in TV you have got to be crazy to think that everyone is glued to the TV all the time. You are just not. But we know TV works and we know there are incredible outcomes from advertising on TV. 

“If we measured it in a kind of reachable eyes-on-the-screen way, I just think it doesn’t make sense, there is too much going on.”

Adding to the debate, Kate Rutter, head of commercial insight at Global Radio, said: “It’s not really just one metric. It would be really nice to just be able to say ‘tick, that’s attention’”.

She added: “I think we really need to start pulling apart some of this focus around attention because there isn’t one metric that you can just tick that box because each media is so nuanced in what it can deliver.”

Speaking more broadly about today’s media landscape, Louise Twycross-Lewis, head of insight at PHD Media, said: “When you have got channels like broadcast which can now be on your mobile, on your laptop, in out-of-home, as well as on your TV, there is a lot more overlap between the different media channels. 

“The benefits that each of those mediums brings are bleeding together and not as separate as they once were.”