Metric analysis

Excessive focus on attention measurement for TV could lead to a ‘race to the bottom’, analyst warns

“We are seeing an attention [as a metric] come to TV and I’m excited but terrified,” said Matt Hill, director of research and planning at Thinkbox, during a panel discussion at TV in Focus: 2022, in London.

He continued, “Attention is measured by where people are looking, but it lacks audio power and storytelling. It lacks the low attention processing – where people do more than hum along to a jingle. If we go too far, it could be a race to the bottom.

Despite his concerns, Hill noted that in general focusing on attention as a metric is positive and he believes there is significant evidence to support the relationship between attention and efficiency. advertising. He argues that the real need for attention measurement came from the online world where exposure to an advertisement is not an adequate indicator of effectiveness. While currency data from the JIC (Joint Industry Committee) is useful for the purposes of TV advertisers, integration with the online world requires additional measures.

Hill also raised questions about the value of digital targeted advertising in any case, and whether it can still justify the higher costs associated with digital channels compared to traditional channels.

He said: “When you look at the raw costs of these channels – the new digital equivalents of older, more traditional media channels – the raw CPM cost is very high. In some cases, you should assess whether the targeting or creative personalization offered [on digital] which is not offered on traditional channels, in fact allows you to overcome the digital divide, in terms of cost. »

He was joined on the panel by Kate Waters, Director of Client Strategy and Planning at ITV, Richard Kirk, Director of Strategy at Zenith and Gareth George, Head of Media Group at RVU (, Uswitch, Zoopla).

Waters noted that advertisers should beware of the waste that can occur when campaigns are targeted “incredibly precisely” so that ads appear to viewers who were already close to buying from the brand.

She said, “When you get incredibly targeted campaigns, what extra value do you add? That’s the balance we’re trying to strike. We look for appropriate extra value and we’re hard on ourselves when we measure that. impact. “

George described the mindset change that advertisers used to driving performance data must go through when they begin to integrate television into their media plan.

He noted that proper measurement is an important step in this process: “Measurement is key. As soon as you can start building this capital with [a brand’s] c-suite and saying “that’s what’s been done historically and so that’s what we’re going to model going forward” it becomes a much more collaborative relationship and they’re much more willing to invest money in the recommendations you make. ”

George also spoke about the pressure on some media owners to develop new, innovative advertising formats. He said, “Some media owners get a kick out when attention data is out and their formats don’t perform well.”

Despite the demand for new, innovative ad formats, George pointed to the difficulties of executing them at scale and the associated costs. He said: “If something costs four times as much, it has to work four times as hard. There is always a demand to do innovative things and reach the public, but it is a question of whether you can afford to do it or not.

He expressed his belief that the QR code (single screen) advertising format could potentially become widespread.