London based research company Lumen is an attention technology company that uses eye tracking cameras to measure the actual visual engagement readers have with various media types.
In ongoing, large sample studies over the past two years, Lumen has conclusively proved that the actual viewing of, as opposed to potential exposure to adverts (no matter the reading platform of digital or print), leads to almost nine times more sales.
Just because consumers can see an ad, does not mean that they will look at it. Advertising typically gets looked at for very short periods of time – regardless of how much detail advertisers include.
‘The technology is brilliant, and by using existing web cams in computers drastically reduces costs and eliminates the biggest problem in all research, that of claimed vs. actual behaviour,’ said Peter Langschmidt, research consultant to the Publisher Research Council. The software passively monitors the respondent’s web browsing as well as eye movement on every page and plots a ‘heat map’ of whatever content and advertising is being viewed.’
While print adverts are more viewable and achieve longer dwell times than their online counterparts, this is not the entire story, as quality content plays an important role as well.
There are wide variations in how different media perform, some sites and ad formats perform far better than others. The best sites do a much better job of delivering attention for advertisers than the average, with as much as 56% of viewable impressions being noticed.
The fundamental to any advertising message working is first, actually seeing the advert and secondly, dwell time that allows for cognition to impart the message. The longer consumers look at ads, the more likely they are to remember the message and act upon it.
Anyone who has ever studied for an exam or test, knows that reading is the best way to learn, and that the longer one studies the more familiar one becomes with the course material. Does this also apply to advertising and brand recall? Well there’s a simple way to find out. Just like exams, respondents can be prompted to do an advertising recall test.
These results, gleaned from many studies over several years, conclusively prove the theory of dwell times precisely linking back to recall.
The final, and most important step that advertising must accomplish is to encourage purchase, for it is here that the advertiser receives their Return on Investment (ROI). To complete the purchase journey and prove this, Lumen installed their eye-tracking technology onto a sub sample of an existing FMCG consumer panel belonging to Nectar in the UK.
By linking the initial online advertising interaction of the panel with their subsequent offline shopping behaviour, the dramatic effect that actual viewing of advertising has can be seen.
Media planning is traditionally based on possible exposure, an opportunity to see, but this metric is becoming more and more irrelevant, because if consumers don’t even view an advert, how can it possibly change behaviour? With this new measure, the technology can track the difference in sales between those who actually looked at the advert and those who did not.
The Lumen data shows that the best ad inventory facilitates communication with consumers when they are in the right mood to be receptive to advertising messages, and then creates the time and space to enable advertisers to get their messages across.
To summarise, no matter the reading platform, to maximise advertising exposure, the advert must firstly be seen for a period of time. Different platforms perform differently, the media environment affects a reader’s attention and finally, context matters.’