Thoughts & Opinions 

Why the shift to attention spells good things for publishers

Playground xyz
September 27, 2021

The age of attention is here and the worlds of media and advertising are destined to be changed forever…

That may sound a touch dramatic but it’s true. Attention-based advertising technologies are rapidly being adopted by agencies and advertisers, and swathes of tech vendors are considering whether to shift their product strategies to capitalise on the momentum. The benefits are clear; from more accurate measurement of ad effectiveness to more intelligent optimisation of ad delivery, incorporating attention into advertising delivers results. But the benefits aren’t just for those parties running the ads.

At a time when third-party cookies are dying a laborious, painful death, and an increasing percentage of ad budgets are getting pushed towards social media or video platforms, publishers have never been more concerned about building and maintaining demand for their inventory. Will demand drop if cookies can’t be used? Will the quality of ad/advertiser filling inventory need to be lowered? How else can demand be generated?

Attention may hold the key.

Audience insight

Publishers need to know their audiences. Not only do they need demographic and behavioural information, they also need to build a thorough picture of what advertising messages their audience/s respond to so that they can more effectively leverage the potential. Attention metrics allow them to do just that.

Attention Time is a next-generation, quality-based metric that accurately measures how long an ad is looked at. Because it captures the consumer’s interest in the ad, it kickstarts hugely powerful feedback loop on ad relevance and resonance, and provides publishers with an unrivalled indication of what ads their audience is most receptive to.

In the long term, this can be incredibly powerful, allowing publishers to explore new ways to market their audience to different types of advertisers.

Inventory scoring

Using attention metrics to score inventory holds a whole host of potential upsides for savvy publishers, especially those with multiple titles or content categories.

As well as providing an ongoing record of general advertising health, having an accurate view of the Attention Time being achieved by different categories, pages, sections and ad spaces grants publishers the ability to optimise their offering. MPUs outperforming banners? Incorporate more into the page. Have a hunch header banners will do well? Test them out.

Content steering

Similarly to inventory scoring, measuring the advertising “attractiveness” of on-page content can be hugely helpful for publishers. Alongside more traditional content-led metrics – dwell time, bounce rate etc. – determining how the advertising appearing next to that content is imperative for publishers looking to better monetise their sites.

If you know longer-form content, or perhaps shorter articles on particular topics are securing better Attention Time for the ads appearing on those pages, your content strategy can take that into account.