Here’s When Consumers Pay More Attention to Online Ads

The digital ad industry has grown tremendously over the past decade or so, but in spite of the fact that this is the case many consumers have started to zone out of any ads that they see online. Ignoring ads has become commonplace among a rather wide range of consumers, and Yahoo has collaborated with OMG to ascertain when they might not pay attention and in what situations they would be more likely to with all things having been considered and taken into account.

According to this research, while 53% of ads meet the minimum standards required for viewability, they weren’t able to acquire even a single second of active engagement. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that there is a big difference between an ad being viewable and it actually commanding active attention from consumers.

This research involved analyzing around 128,000 ads, and they were sorted into three different rankings. The highest ranking involved active consumption with eyes fixed on the ad in question, followed by passive attention wherein the eyes are on the screen but not focused on the ad itself, and finally non-eyes ads that make it so that users don’t pay attention to the screen at all.

Interestingly, active attention doesn’t seem to be impacted by what time of day the ad gets posted. Ads got an average of 1.6 seconds of attention regardless of time of day, and what's more is that the day of the week didn’t have a huge impact on active attention either. Passive attention is influenced somewhat by these factors, but the differences aren’t significant enough to be worthwhile.

1.6 seconds of active attention are not enough to allow marketers to get good results from their advertising campaigns. They need to aim for a minimum of 2.5 seconds of active attention because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up increasing their click through rate.

However, since changing up post timings is not going to have an appreciable effect on active engagement, what then can marketers do? One suggestion that was made is that marketers could go for shorter ads. Video based ads that are 15 seconds long or shorter facilitated a whopping 280% increase in active attention. That is a huge uptick that marketers should be cognizant of when they are planning their campaigns out.

Another factor that can be influential in this arena is that of the age of the target consumer. Active attention tends to decrease among younger users, with baby boomers giving about 2.1 seconds of active attention on average which is far higher than the 1.3 seconds that is commonplace among Gen Z respondents who are between the ages of 18 and 24.

Conversely, gender has been found to be somewhat inconsequential since active attention remains consistent regardless of the gender identity of the users being targeted. All of these things are essential for marketers to keep in mind if they want actual engagement instead of impressions. Such factors must be accounted for, otherwise digital marketing would become virtually worthless which is concerning given how expensive it has become as of late.


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