How to measure consumer attention on mobile

June 12, 2020 | 3 minute read
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In the busy world of online advertising, consumer attention runs at a premium. Between the proliferation of devices, the abundance of channels, and the tidal wave of content, marketers are hard-pressed reaching real people, getting their attention, and, more importantly, keeping it.

The hyper-competitive landscape means digital measurement has never been more important. It allows marketers to look under the hood of their marketing campaigns, find out what messages and channels are effective, and determine what improvements and adjustments they need to make to achieve their goals.

One of the challenges with measuring online campaigns—and there are many—is that traditionally, marketers have focused solely on viewability, and subsequently optimizing campaigns for it. While viewability is a critical component of digital measurement, it is the first step in the measurement journey, and only tells part of the story. Viewability informs us that our advertising is in-view and has a chance to make an impact on someone, but it shouldn’t be the endgame.

What we really want to focus on measuring is far more elusive—consumer attention. Understanding whether people pay attention to ads, how they engaged with them, and what action, if any, they took, is the best way to develop repeated success online. But it’s easier said than done, so in this post, we’re going to reveal how to measure attention on mobile using Moat analytics and the benefits this affords marketers.

Defining attention

It’s all well and good to recommend measuring attention, but what do we mean by “attention”? In the digital marketing sense, attention is quantified through engagement with advertising—it’s the best proxy we have for determining if and how people interacted with an ad, and if the ad left an impression.

Generally speaking, attention is measured by assessing the length of time people spend with the advertising and the content on the page and how they engaged with it. Did they dwell on the page? Did they scroll quickly and skim the content? Did they click through on the ad? Or click to learn more? The answers to these questions are all signals of attention.

Thankfully, there are specific metrics available in the Moat dashboard you can use to measure these signals across channels such as display, mobile, video, and branded content. Let’s focus on the mobile environment.

How to measure consumer attention on mobile

Audience attention is most fragmented in mobile environments, which means a brand message has to work hard to make an impact. To measure attention in mobile, we need to analyze the time spent with the content on the page, in addition to the length of time the advertising was in-view. In mobile environments, it’s important to measure the rate of impressions that were touched by a user and use that as a proxy for interaction and engagement. Touch rate is measured as clicks and hovers on desktop, whereas on mobile it refers to when impressions are touched on mobile devices.

So for measuring attention on mobile, we use the following metrics:

  • Active Page Dwell Time—The same as on desktop, this metric tracks the average time spent with the content in the foreground tab of the web browser.
  • In-View Time—This is a baseline attention metric that measures the average amount of time people spend with an ad once 50 percent of pixels are in-view for at least one continuous second.
  • Touch Rate—As on desktop, we can also measure whether people interact with ads on mobile devices. This metric measures the percentage of impressions touched on a mobile device.

Allan Stormon

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