The Rules of Attention: five ways to maximise ad attention online


IAB UK has teamed-up with eye tracking specialist Lumen and IPSOS MORI to show how environment, ad position, clutter, format and targeting can significantly affect the attention digital ads generate

With previous research proving the link between attention, brand recall and short-term sales growth, IAB UK and Lumen set out to explore how advertisers can maximise the attention their digital ads receive.

The study, which spans desktop and mobile, shows that there are five key ways to boost advertising attention online:

  1. Quality matters: Being in a premium content environment (aka, a quality news brand or magazine site) is the single biggest driver of ad attention, generating three times more attention for advertising than task sites such as Rightmove and National Rail.

  2. Think about location: Where an ad appears on the page has a significant impact on the attention it receives – but not always in expected ways. While above the fold ads at the top of a page are more likely to be seen than below the fold ads, the latter generate 29% more attention. This is because people that scroll down a page are likely to be engaged with the content and the surrounding context.

  3. Clean up clutter: While the number of ads on a web page has a negligible impact on the attention ads receive, the number of ads visible on a single screen at any one time is crucial. More than two ads per screen and the attention advertising receives plummets, falling by over half vs one or two ads.

  4. Tap into smart targeting: Quality targeting of relevant ads at people that are in the market boosts attention scores by 107%. Not only are these ads more likely to be noticed and for longer, but they are six times more likely to be remembered.

  5. Be creatively fit for purpose: Mobile ads that have been optimised for the format receive 89% more attention than those that haven’t and are 36% more likely to be recalled when prompted. Considering the amount of investment currently going into mobile, it’s definitely worth optimising for the platform.


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