The Pursuit Of Consumer Attention

The Pursuit Of Consumer Attention
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The future is bright when it comes to gaining audience attention, writes Maxus business executive Luke Maher. Soon, we’ll be able to follow a user across multiple devices, closing the path-to-purchase loop quicker for advertisers.

TARPs. Impressions. Both metrics measure the reach potential of an ad.

But the most important metric for advertisers is yet to be measured – what level of attention these ads actually receive from a consumer. While the industry debates how to accurately measure this, the onus remains with the publisher to provide the most engaging and relevant platforms to capture their audience’s attention.

A few weeks back I headed off on the GroupM Tech Planet trip to Silicon Valley. We visited the likes of Facebook, Pandora, Adap.tv and Yahoo, tasked with the mission of finding out what these companies were doing next to capture consumers’ attention.

Improving the user experience was the universal theme. At the top of the agenda of these tech giants is the task of creating more engaging platforms for their user base through greater targeting capabilities and customisation of content.

We know that people have a lot of distractions while watching video content, with studies suggesting, more than 50 per cent are multi-screening across devices while watching TV. This makes it increasingly important for publishers to adapt and go beyond just a linear experience, simplifying the ecosystem between TV and digital to become platform agnostic regardless of channel. We are starting to see this now in the Australian market through the TV networks fronting as entertainment solutions beyond just the one screen.

The likes of Adap.tv showed that TV TARPs will soon be an outdated metric, and we will move to a conversation around a fuller cross-device experience that will back out to real return on investment. Soon we will have the ability to create user segments across both TV and digital, following a user across the device through the day, and in essence closing the path-to-purchase loop quicker for advertisers. This is already beginning in Australia through MCN’s Landmark platform.

In this new age of data-driven targeting, the power of audience databases is also paramount to the success of all publishers and advertisers. Studies show that consumers are receptive to seeing ads, but they must be relevant.

Facebook showed the power of combining its super-rich database with that of a brand’s database, meshing data together to both minimise waste for the advertiser, and in turn creating an enhanced and relevant experience for Facebook’s user base. A sound example was an automotive client using its CRM database to inform when a user was due for a new car, and finding these people through tailored messaging on Facebook.

The second key takeout from Tech Planet was that platforms must be adaptable to a user’s preferences – creating a deeper understanding through personalisation. Pandora has been the king of customisation since its inception in 2003 in the US, and Yahoo has followed a similar path through its digital magazine content, remembering a user’s interests and behaviour and feeding them more of this content throughout their journey.

The same goes for Facebook, which is using products such as Instant Articles, publishers housing nws content on their platform, to give consumers the content they actually want to read. This not only leads to a richer experience for the customer, but importantly for the publishers it leads to more time and attention spent within their platform.

A switch to attention metrics won’t happen overnight, but it is reassuring to find all roads lead to a fuller and more personalised user experience for consumers.

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