Skip to main content

Attention is an important currency for brands to consider, as it focuses on whether a consumer actually sees an ad, as well as their level of engagement. By connecting this kind of data to sales metrics, marketers can determine the short- and long-term impacts of attention on key performance metrics.

Eighty-five percent of ads fail to reach the “attention threshold” that is needed to make an enduring impact from a brand-building perspective, according to recent research examining 130,000 ads.

The analysis found that the “attention threshold” for advertising that has an enduring impact in terms of building brands came in at 2.5 seconds. When this critical benchmark is not reached, this harms the ad’s capacity to enhance mental availability or the likelihood of a brand coming to mind in a purchase situation.

Threats to attention can be summed up as a “triple jeopardy” as brands fall short on a trio of criteria related to consumer attention:

  1. Short-term strategies (driven by increased allocation of budgets towards performance marketing) emphasize instant returns and short-term sales activations/promotions. These strategies do not foster mental availability and do not connect with consumers for long-term brand building.
  2. Media investments do not reflect real-life attention – metrics that measure metadata and device data instead of actual human behavior are widely used. These metrics cannot tell us if the consumer is actively or passively viewing ads.
  3. Creative strategies that employ “left-brain” tactics (factual, literal, close-ups of the products, words overlaid on a screen, voiceovers, monologues, repetitive visuals, and soundtracks) only secure a narrow, temporary, fleeting mode of attention. “Right-brain” creative techniques that use storytelling, character development, humor, dialogue, melodic music, and emotion have been shown to be more likely to capture attention, engage consumers emotionally, and transferred to long-term memory.