In this exclusive article, Jessica Miles (pictured), Country Manager ANZ at Integral Ad Science, discusses how quality of media can be the key to unlocking better retention, quality attention and stronger data overall.
The entire digital advertising ecosystem exists to support brands and their efforts to reach and influence consumers. Not long ago, viewability rates of 50% were the industry norm, but rates are on the rise. According to our H2 2021 Media Quality Report, Australia has been a global leader when it comes to embracing quality, consistently producing viewability rates over 70% for the past couple of years across all devices reported.
Viewability, brand safety and fraud remain the bedrock of media quality assurance, however, in today’s digital landscape, advertisers need more sophisticated measurements to capture consumer attention and measure advertising effectiveness to drive better business outcomes.
The shift from binary viewability metric towards quality attention
We are broaching a fork in the road when it comes to the acceptance of “attention metrics” and marketers now have to decide what measurement is right for them and what metrics drive real-world outcomes, like growth and profitability. Currently, there is a chasm between media and business outcomes that attention-based measurement is aiming to bridge and in return, measurement companies are clamouring to offer solutions. From “on the page” measurement that includes Viewability and Time-in-View to interaction or engagement metrics like Pause/Unpause, User Scroll, Volume Up/Down/Mute. We are seeing some measurement vendors blend metrics to create a ‘proprietary’ attention metric and other new-to-market vendors leverage panel-based measurement, combined with machine learning to measure and target attention.
What is clear is that marketers will need to use multiple metrics when it comes to measuring the success of their campaigns, requiring the flexibility to focus on the metrics that matter to them. It’s important for brands and their agencies to determine their media quality based on a number of criteria such as attention, viewability, time-in-view, engagement, and more. Attention metrics are important as part of a broader framework of media quality signals, but attention alone doesn’t equal results or bridge the chasm between media and actual business outcomes.
With the upcoming deprecation of third party cookies, contextual approaches and attention metrics will become even more critical. This approach is marketing by mindset. Measuring what resonates with audiences based on multiple data points will be essential. Focusing on an outcomes-based approach to developing metrics and insights will be critical for measuring true attention. Simply pulling together a random assortment of metrics and slapping an ‘attention’ label or only focusing on one to the exclusion of all others does not provide real value.
Time spent is an important media currency for engagement
In 2021, Australian digital online advertising grew to almost $13 billion and achieved 35.8% growth according to data from the IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER) prepared by PwC. As digital ad spending grows, today more than ever, advertisers are asked to prove their return on investment (ROI) and the added value it produces for their organisations. This need to demonstrate impact is driving a shift in how they seek to measure the quality of their digital investments.
At the moment, the mechanism to buy or sell media is not tied to attention. In its most wasteful form, media is bought based on models that can promote fraudulent behaviour, such as click fraud. Alternatively, marketers rely on performance-based models tied to an outcome such as acquisitions. However, this scenario also has challenges which are increasing as we face increasing privacy regulations. Marketers could benefit from using attention-based metrics, as a unit of the trade when buying media. One attention-based metric that can be universally applied across all forms of digital media, is time. Trading on time can be applied to multiple forms of digital media from online display and video to DOOH and CTV. It is a measurement and potential trading currency that is uniquely positioned to transcend platforms offering a singular buying mechanism across a fragmented market.
Bringing time to the forefront gives advertisers the opportunity to optimise their campaigns toward a dynamic metric rather than a binary condition. Ads are either viewable, or not viewable, but time exists on a continuum. Optimal time in view can vary by brand, creativity, or platform giving marketers a wider range of dials to turn when optimizing campaigns for maximum impact. Time-based metrics would open the door to a host of new specialised benchmarks customised by industry vertical, platform, and even specific creative types.
Driving media quality also drives media outcomes
To understand how our partners could leverage IAS technology to capture greater attention, our research team analysed data to understand correlations between quality, suitability and time in view. The research uncovered that viewability and time in view have a medium correlation.
As an example, when we analyzed the automotive vertical we saw that when the context was relevant and optimized for viewability, there was an 8.3-second increase in Time-in-View for every 10% increase in Viewability Rates. This was 2.4x higher than in a non-optimized context.
Why does this matter? It matters because our analysis also showed that when media quality (and therefore attention) increases, media outcomes increase as well. The research optimising for higher Time-in-view led to a 171% lift in the conversion rate.
Creative, contextual and privacy-compliant advertising
While attention and time-in-view can drive media and business outcomes, it’s important that it is being leveraged in conjunction with other metrics for targeting and optimisation. One very important consideration is how relevant the ads are to the consumers. It’s human nature to engage with information that we find interesting — whether that’s through engaging in creative or contextual relevance. IAS research showed that ad Context increases memorability by up to 40%. Brands can harness the dual power of contextual targeting and high-quality placements to drive greater brand engagement. It’s also vital to acknowledge that placing ads beside low-quality content can have significant consequences, including a high risk of damaging brand reputation. To ensure online ads drive the right attention and outcome, aligning with suitable contexts must be a top priority.
As our industry prepares for a cookieless future and increasingly moves a\way from third-party audience targeting, advertisers have a significant opportunity to be intentional with contextual tools. While many brands will focus on building and investing in first-party and second-party data, marketers will start blending this expensive and highly targeted approach with scalable advertising that can be achieved via environments that are contextually relevant, using contextual as a proxy for third party audiences. Ultimately, a shift to contextual advertising is also good news for the industry because it aligns with the preferences of privacy-conscious consumers while achieving the brand’s goals for engagement.
Optimising quality attention by combining metrics such as time-in-view (or even trading on time!), contextual alignment and hygiene media quality metrics ensures that advertisers are investing and rewarding publishers that have quality, engaging content that gives their ads the opportunity to be effective. Going one step further, advertisers and buyers can leverage programmatic prebid targeting to ensure they have the control to pick and choose the right environments, improving attention and outcomes.
This article was first published on B&T.