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Attention Metrics Gain Steam With New Research From OMD.

The attention consumers pay to ads has emerged as an important metric for marketers to measure the value of their media investment. Omnicom's media agency OMD and technology platform Teads are expected to announce the results of a neuroscience study devoted to understanding how attention metrics are used in the ad industry. The study, conducted in March 2023 with RK Neuroconsulting and Latin America market research firm Offerwise, includes a new set of measurement tools for analyzing ad attention, according to MediaPost.

The study analyzed video ads in Latin America with Kimberly-Clark participating as one of the marketers in the research.

“Attention is not just a technical metric. It’s a human metric,” Juan Nino, CEO at OMD LATAM, told the publication.

The study used neuroscience to examine how the environment of different platforms, such as news websites and social media platforms, influenced levels of attention in viewers.

Other measurements studied included the quality of attention paid to an ad, differentiating between focused attention and distraction caused by the environment. Another metric in the study was scroll speed, suggesting that slow scroll speeds resulted in more attention paid to an ad.

OMD is conducting pilot studies across various campaigns to determine how to use attention in media and campaigns.

The new research is part of a growing effort to better understand how Americans process the thousands of advertising messages they are bombarded with daily across multiple platforms, devices, and channels.

Recognizing the need for brands to better understand the value of their media investment, dentsu in 2018 set out to define a new value system and challenge the way the ad industry trades. Working with Lumen Research, it developed the Attention Economy Project to measure which ads were actually being seen and which were being blocked. Audio wasn’t included until this year when dentsu and Lumen worked with some of the nation’s largest audio companies to expand its attention metric to include radio, podcasting, and streaming. As earlier reported by Inside Radio, the first-of-its-kind study found that audio performs better than video in grabbing people’s attention and generating brand recall.

In the dentsu-Lumen online study, participants selected audio content of their choice and were served 15 ads interspersed randomly throughout the hour-long listening session. In addition to measuring listen-through rates, Lumen sent a set of brand-related questions to participants that dentsu has been tracking across its other Attention Economy studies. This provided an apples-to-apples view “of how audio attention stacks up against other media and insights on how attention given to audio connects with brand KPIs,” Idil Cakim, Senior VP and Head of Research & Insights at Audacy said in a recent webinar presented by Ad Age. “That's how we're able to see, for instance, that audio drives more attention than TV and digital.”

The study found that, on average, 41% of audio ads generated correct brand recall compared to the 38% norm for other advertising studied by dentsu. Brand choice uplift for audio ads was 10%, nearly double dentsu norms of 6%.

Lumen and dentsu concluded that that each audio channel has its own unique strength in driving attention and brand impact.

Podcasts drove the highest attentive seconds per thousand impressions compared to other digital, social and TV benchmarks. In addition, the researchers found that brand choice uplift was higher for host-read ads compared to traditional audio ads within podcasts.

Radio, meanwhile, was found to be the most cost-efficient media platform in driving attention cost per thousand impressions (aCPM). Compared to the average online video ads measured through dentsu’s Attention Economy, the aCPM for radio is a whopping 10-times more efficient.

Music streaming was found to drive key branding metrics. Brand recall was highest for ad-supported streaming music played on Alexa-enabled devices and drove even higher brand choice uplift for 30-second ads compared to those same ads listened to through a desktop/mobile device.

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