Caught in the Attention Storm: How Brands are Fighting to Stand out

For brands looking to resonate, attention is a goldmine, making it an increasingly scarce resource writes Amrita de la Peña.

Image by Luke Barky

If I were to ask you to recall all the ads that you’d seen in a day, would you be able to name more than five?

If your answer is uncertain, you are not alone. We’re all seeing more and more ads than ever before, and quite naturally, blocking out most of it.

The problem for marketers then becomes – how on earth do you capture your audience’s attention – their real, conscious attention? And from there – what can you possibly do with it?


 

Attention is now a top priority for brands, and has become a scarce resource in which marketers must explore. It is a crucial step for any brand to not only spark interest, but to help establish a strong brand presence across multiple platforms.

Professor Mark Ritson penned a piece last year in Marketing Week, which revealed that consumers who look at an ad for just two seconds have only a 5% increase in brand choice, compared to those who did not see the ad at all. But if the audience dwells on that same ad for longer, that uplift increases significantly, with 14 seconds dwell time delivering a 9% uplift in choice.

“As we can expect the attention economy to continue to shape the marketing landscape, all marketers need to compile an arsenal of tools they can use to spark attention and transform it into action.”

Attention can also make contextual targeting even more effective, something all marketers should take heed of as this solution is one of the most popular post-cookie tools.


 

Research from DoubleVerify found 69% of consumers are more likely to engage with ads contextually relevant to the content they are viewing. So if you’re looking for attention, it’s worth considering how contextual targeting may help increase eyes on your campaign.

As we can expect the attention economy to continue to shape the marketing landscape, all marketers need to compile an arsenal of tools they can use to spark attention and transform it into action.

Strengthening the bonds between attention and technology

Attention and technology are two forces that go hand in hand, and it’s technological advancements that are powering the attention economy to new heights.

Where before attention would have been some measure of guesswork, marketers now have an array of technological tools to help perfect the science behind the art. It’s key to explore emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and interactive experiences that can help businesses capture audiences in innovative and immersive ways. Embracing these technologies are also important for creating seamless experiences across multiple platforms or formats.

Video is just one example of how innovative new technologies can be in cutting through the clutter and capturing attention. The ongoing evolution of video to be more immersive, collaborative and engaging has seen this medium become one of the most effective for advertisers. To take it a step further, consider the power of Click-to-Watch video ads rather than those where consumers can skip – and understand that done badly, videos can be more disruptive than intended.

“Attention and technology are two forces that go hand in hand, and it’s technological advancements that are powering the attention economy to new heights.”

It is also worth considering the ways in which AI can be leveraged in order to better understand the nature of your audience’s attention. AI-powered technologies can detect eye-tracking data, process massive amounts of information and generate nuanced and precise media scores.

With new tech tools, marketers can be more certain about the levels of attention they’re attracting, and also the nature of it. Professor Karen Nelson-Field of Amplified Intelligence has written at length about the differences between active, passive and non-attention. These are all nuances to take note of, as the difference between active and non-attention can define the kind of action you can expect your consumers to take.

Adelaide Metrics is another example of this. The attention measurement company also recently launched an “attention marketplace”, where advertisers can purchase high-attention media that drive better environment outcomes.

Create content that counts

In a sea of content that can, at first glance, be seen as generic, marketer’s can’t underestimate the power of being unique online. By leveraging consumer data and advanced analytics, businesses can tailor their messaging to specific individuals, delivering relevant content that resonates with their interests and needs.

Digging deep into this data will help you understand who your audience truly is, and how they like to spend their time across the open web. Don’t be afraid to leverage AI-powered engines to parse through this data more effectively – these are tools so powerful due to their ability to analyse user behaviour and preferences at a much larger scale than a human could individually.

This makes whichever subsequent insights on interests, preferences and habits the engine creates much more impactful and actionable for marketers. These insights can build the foundation for content that counts – content that is more direct and useful for your audience. This makes it much more memorable in turn for consumers, who are much more likely to remember something that helps them in their lives.

This approach not only sparks attention, but also enhances the overall user experience, fostering deeper engagement and increasing the likelihood of conversions.

In a world where attention is scarce, businesses must adapt their strategies to thrive in the attention economy. Leveraging new technologies, looking more closely at the differences of attention your brand evokes, and thinking more creatively about data-driven content are essential tactics for capturing and retaining attention.

By understanding the true dynamism of attention and by implementing these strategies effectively, brands can forge meaningful connections with their audiences and stand out amidst the noise.

Amrita de la Peña

Amrita de la Peña

Amrita is Outbrain's Managing Director for APAC

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