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Carat Views | Attention Economy

April 2, 2023

We are living in a time of more and more media content, and as a result, people are getting exposed to more and more media, especially advertising.  

Realistically people cannot take in all the messages they are shown, so we wanted to understand the true value of attention.  We have been conducting studies over the past 5 years to be able to plan against attention as a metric, which will ultimately drive better business results for our clients. 

In our research we have also seen a strong correlation between planning for attention, and reducing the carbon impact of campaigns, so brands should be thinking holistically about both.

An agency’s role should not be about buying the cheapest media to get the most reach or clicks, but working out how to deliver the most attention, and by extension, better business results for the brand.

Q: What is attention economy all about?

A: We know from the last 50 years, media consumption has exploded. Consumers are getting exposed to more and more messages throughout the day. For example, over 5,000 ads per day, which is a crazy amount for the human brain to comprehend. So, we took a journey with our trusted research partners as well as our trusted media partners, to understand the true value of attention, what drives it, and how we can plan for more impact for media. Through this process, we are now able to calibrate and plan against attention as a true human metric, and allow us to ultimately drive better business results.

Q: Why should advertisers care about attention in their marketing and business approach? 

A: Well, it's simple. Over the last few years, when we did our research, but as well as activating our multiple campaigns in this field, we see that attention is a key driver to drive brand metrics and business results. So, when you are planning efficient media, you need to put attention at the heart of it, because this is the only true human metric which allows us to see what can drive real impact in the future.

In addition, we've seen, from working in this sphere, there's a strong correlation between planning for attention to reducing your carbon impact. When you want to think about planning for the future, you have to holistically think about attention and carbon impact together to make sure you make the right choices in your media approach.

Q: How can you make your media more attention focused? 

A: First, we always recommend to take stock in what you're currently doing. By analyzing and monitoring your existing campaigns and strategies and setting a benchmark for the future. Then next, think about planning for attentive reach, or think about choosing your partners by how much attention we think we could generate by working with them.

Last but not least, not only media has an impact on attention. We know from our studies, for example, that short form video has a much higher impact on attention than maybe a long form video does, given people are paying more attention to the first few critical moments of your ads. And also, creative and creative placements are big driver for attention, which cannot be overlooked.

But don't just look at media metrics when you think about planning for attention. Always link back your attention media to what business outcome it drives for you and your brands. It's not just about getting the cheapest reach. It's not about getting the cheapest cost per click anymore. It's really about what drives attention for my business, and what therefore drives ultimately results for my brand.