Social Media Shifts Advertising Metrics from Impressions to Attention

Social Media Shifts Advertising Metrics from Impressions to Attention

Since its inception in the 90’s, web advertising has seen phenomenal growth.  Last year it reached a landmark record of over $27B (IAB,).  And, in this fast growing space, the term ‘impression’ has become the standard metric for measuring ad efforts.

But, should we be placing so much importance on the impression?  

Most digital impressions are driven by interruptions, like pop-up or drop down ads. When these interruptive ads were new, their very nature caught the attention of consumers.

Today, consumers are looking past those interruptive ads and tuning them out. In fact, they hate them. 70% of Americans say pop-up ads are annoying. So, they see your ad, but they hate it. I would be willing to guess that sentiment trickles down to your brand over time.

Rather than continuing along this disruptive, and potentially discrediting, path, brands should put more emphasis on the attention their ad content captures.

Consumer ad attention is at an all time premium.

Go to where the consumers are spending their time and get to know them. This will allow you to create content that is geared toward their likes and values. This, in turn, will garner trust in your brand and more attention toward your ads.

So, where are they?


The Platform: Mobile

Americans, on whole, check their mobile phones 8 billion times a day.

My phone goes everywhere with me.

When an ad comes on, whether it’s on TV, pre roll, desktop, etc., I typically pick up my phone, see what’s there, and place my attention on what I want.

I devote my attention to consuming content I’m actually interested in, which for me (like 78% of Americans) comes in the form of user-generated content on social media. Platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram allow me to connect with my friends and family at any time, and see content they’ve created or curated for me personally.


The Medium: Video

The content that seems to be increasingly gathering the attention of mobile consumers is video.

At the end of 2015 viewers were watching 8 Billion videos a day on Facebook Live (an 800% increase over the previous year) and the disappearing vertical video based platform Snapchat now has 150 Million daily users.

Brands that immerse themselves in understanding these platforms and their users will discover a sense of loyalty that is inherent. But, the content must be authentic and create some kind of value for the audience.

Branded, disruptive content will not fly with this savvy audience.

Advertisers that get this will score big with the video viewing, mobile audience.

NBC is set to take a stab at relevance on social platforms this Summer by hosting the Rio Summer Olympic highlights on Snapchat.


Native Tactics

By immersing themselves in these mobile platforms, advertisers will also gain an understanding for the look, feel, and functions of these highly popular mobile spaces. This will allow them to create content that is representative of the platform they are on.

Currently, user-generated content is king.

According to new Ipsos MediaCT research, millennials are spending 30% of their media time (5 hours/day) engaged with user-generated content. This trumps all traditional media types combined (print, radio, and television.)  

Not only that, but they view UGC as 50% more trusted than other forms of media.

One major reason Snapchat is winning more media consumption and was able to surpass Twitter in daily users is its video format that is comprised mainly of UGC that applies its native features.

For example, you’ve seen the Snapchat dog filter. No matter how silly we look when making a dog filter video (*sticks out tongue*), our friends will eat it up.

Brands that can properly take advantage of these native tactics, and do it with authenticity, can capture user attention (see Shonduras and Taco Bell).


The Future

In the next 5 years, or 2 months, or weeks, brands will start prioritizing attention over traditional metrics like impressions and clicks.

I saw this first hand the other day when Vice released a new, full length episode on their Facebook.

I watched the whole thing on my phone.

Perhaps we’ll start to see full length shows/series on Snapchat, with regular release times. Maybe Jimmy Fallon will start releasing his lip syncing contests on in addition to TV and Youtube.

When this happens, brands need to be ready to capitalize on all of the attention these platforms are getting from consumers. They must already know what the users value, and what they could reject.

With so much content on the mobile space, it becomes increasingly valuable for your ads to blend in with the surroundings and have a native feel (while remaining FTC compliant, of course). This will not only get your brand seen (impressions), but will get you noticed (attention) all while gaining engagement and brand loyalty in the fastest growing media market on the planet.

About Author: Chico

Experienced sales and marketing professional, managing programs across the United States and Internationally. Chief Revenue Officer at Gnack. With a strong passion for programmatic ad technology and how to leverage it to maximize ROI.

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