In the never-ending search to better optimize media buying and planning, many new tools have come and gone. One that seems to be sticking around is attention metrics, which aims to measure the attention paid to advertising as a means of determining business outcomes.
One attention metrics firm, Adelaide, has made headway into getting its AU attention metric incorporated into the flow of programmatic vendors, which are responsible for more and more investment in media by the year.
Adelaide CEO Marc Guldimann said work with agencies like IPG’s Mediahub, has helped the AU metric get folded into several DSPs, including Google’s DV360. “The challenges have largely been around inertia and prioritization, so getting enough momentum going with enough clients that are concentrated on a specific DSP to make it worth the DSP’s time to prioritize is what’s really turned the tide in the past two or three months,” he said.
“Ultimately, all our customers and agencies and partners want to do in this space is come up with some definition of impression quality and attention … can impact an optimization algorithm to ultimately drive real business outcomes,” added Casper Verhoofstad, senior product manager at Google.
Mediahub has been one of the more active media agencies in using attention as a means of improving business outcomes for clients, including the NBA, with which it’s been testing AU. Ed McElvain, executive vp of Mediahub’s P3 unit, which oversees digital platforms and data-driven buying, said an NBA campaign promoting this past playoffs season delivered a 20 percent bump in attention score while also having 20 percent lower cost per attention in online video when purchased through automated bidding.
He also said having attention metrics folded into the automated process has saved hours of time each week. “It allows the traders to focus on other attributes of the campaign that we want to look at, like contextual alignment, supply path, and bid pricing,” said McElvain. “Because we’re pushing towards an [automated path] towards the attention, rather than having to dig through a report to make those changes. The other time factor is that because it’s now automated, [the analysis and optimization] is happening daily rather than weekly.”
Larisa Johnson, NBA’s vp of paid and CRM media strategy, agreed the time-saving element is crucial, reducing time to optimize campaign tactics. “We now prioritize channels, partners and tactics that have strong attention scores. Given the strong correlation between ‘attention’ and tune-in, we prefer to only spend with partners who have integrated attention score into their accepted tracking measurement.”
Johnson said attention metrics are neither easily absorbed nor understood, but they’re worth putting in the time. “It’s a complex measurement, but it’s invaluable to reaching your target audiences,” she said. “Once companies see it’s more accurate at gauging performance than the front-end or viewability metrics they’re most likely accustomed to, they will adapt to the integration.”
While Adelaide and others continue to push attention metrics forward, industry trade organizations are making efforts to raise awareness and bring standardization to the discipline.
On Wednesday, the Advertising Research Foundation rolled out the Attention Validation Project at an event in Brooklyn, which aims to understand the differing approaches to determining attention “and their validity as tools for creative evaluation and as predictors of market performance of ads or content,” as its announcement detailed. The project also is looking to examine the validity of synthetic forms of determining attention, including artificial intelligence tools, and formed an advisory committee made up of buyers, sellers, measurement experts, AI pros and cognitive psychologists.
“Will the next step be that it’s just a checked box in the UI?” asked McElvain. “That could be something that comes as the industry bodies like the ARF get involved, and we start pushing to something that looks a little bit more standardized in terms of the definition of attention.”
NASA Says Hurricane Didn’t Hurt Artemis I Hardware, Sets New Launch Window
NASA’s Artemis I moon mission launch, stalled by Hurricane Ian, has a new target for takeoff. The launch window for step one of NASA’s bold plan to return humans to the lunar surface now opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 27, the space agency said Friday.
The news comes after the pending storm caused NASA to scrub the latest Artemis I Iaunch, which had been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2. As Hurricane Ian threatened to travel north across Cuba and into Florida, bringing rain and extreme winds to the launch pad’s vicinity, NASA on Monday rolled its monster Space Launch System rocket, and the Orion spacecraft it’ll propel, back indoors to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The hurricane made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, bringing with it a catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding that left dozens of people dead, caused widespread power outages and ripped buildings from their foundations. Hurricane Ian is “likely to rank among the worst in the nation’s history,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday, adding that it will take “months, years, to rebuild.”
Initial inspections Friday to assess potential impacts of the devastating storm to Artemis I flight hardware showed no damage, NASA said. “Facilities are in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations,” the agency said in a statement.
Next up, teams will complete post-storm recovery operations, which will include further inspections and retests of the flight termination system before a more specific launch date can be set. The new November launch window, NASA said, will also give Kennedy employees time to address what their families and homes need post-storm.
Artemis I is set to send instruments to lunar orbit to gather vital information for Artemis II, a crewed mission targeted for 2024 that will carry astronauts around the moon and hopefully pave the way for Artemis III in 2025. Astronauts on that high-stakes mission will, if all goes according to plan, put boots on the lunar ground, collect samples and study the water ice that’s been confirmed at the moon’s South Pole.
The hurricane-related Artemis I rollback follows two other launch delays, the first due to an engine problem and the second because of a hydrogen leak.
Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone but is still bringing heavy rains and gusty winds to the Mid-Atlantic region and the New England coast.
What You Get in McDonalds’ New Happy-Meal-Inspired Box for Adults
You’ve pulled up to McDonald’s as a full-on adult. You absolutely do not need a toy with your meal, right? Joking. Of course you do.
The fast-food chain will soon sell boxed meals geared toward adults, and each one has a cool, odd-looking figurine inside.
The meal has an odd name — the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box — that’s based on the fashion brand collaborating with McDonald’s on this promotion.
According to McDonald’s, the box is inspired by the memory of enjoying a Happy Meal as a kid. The outside of the box is multicolored and features the chain’s familiar golden arches.
The first day you can get a Cactus Plant Flea Market Box will be Monday, Oct. 3. Pricing is set by individual restaurants and may vary, according to McDonald’s. It’ll be available in the drive-thru, in-restaurant, by delivery or on the McDonald’s app, while supplies last.
You can choose between a Big Mac or 10-piece Chicken McNuggets. It will also come with fries and a drink.
Now about those toys. The boxes will pack in one of four figurines. Three of the four appear to be artsy takes on the classic McDonald’s characters Grimace, Hamburglar and Birdie the Early Bird, while the fourth is a little yellow guy sporting a McDonald’s shirt called Cactus Buddy.
In other McD news, Halloween buckets could be returning to the chain this fall. So leave some room in your stomach for a return trip.
Why companies like iHeartMedia, NBCU rely on homegrown IP to build metaverse engagements
To avoid potential blowback from a skeptical audience, retailers as well as media and entertainment companies are learning to invest in their homegrown intellectual properties while building virtual brand activations inside Roblox or Fortnite.
Take, for instance, when they get it wrong.
Earlier this week, Walmart launched its own Roblox world — called Walmart Land — and was roundly mocked for it across social media given the announcement’s disjointed brand message and apparent lack of life. In one viral tweet, a Twitter user described a clip of Walmart CMO William White introducing the Roblox space as “one of the saddest videos ever created.”
To some extent, this sort of criticism is to be expected during the early days of the metaverse.
“Walmart is an iconic brand; when you see them coming into a platform like Roblox, people are going to be 10 times more critical of what is being launched,” said Yonatan Raz-Fridman, CEO of the Roblox developer studio Supersocial.
But Walmart’s size is not its only disadvantage as it dips its toes into Roblox. Although Walmart has a widely recognizable brand, it owns few intellectual properties that users are actually interested in experiencing virtually — a shortcoming reflected by the somewhat cavernous emptiness of Roblox’s Walmart Land.
The success of other recent brand activations is evidence that media and entertainment brands are better equipped to build metaverse spaces that can dodge online skepticism, thanks to their wealth of owned IP.
“They are having to reinvent themselves, to a certain degree, but that is in their DNA,” said Jesse Streb, global svp of technology and engineering at the agency DEPT. “So they have a unique advantage over, say, some kludgy company that sells lumber, or a construction company.”
For example, iHeartMedia’s Roblox and Fortnite spaces were inspired by the mass media corporation’s wealth of popular real-life events, such as the Jingle Ball Tour and iHeartRadio Music Festival, with virtual versions of musicians like Charlie Puth performing pre-recorded concerts that allow real-time audience interaction.
“There’s a strong brand association with the IP, down to a station level — you’re in the New York area, you probably know Z100,” said iHeartMedia evp of business development and partnerships Jess Jerrick. “The same is true for the event IP, or the IP that we now have in the podcasting space, and of course our radio broadcast talent. So there’s no shortage of really strong IP we can bring into these spaces.”
Translating real-life properties into the metaverse is also an enticing prospect for brands that view metaverse platforms as an experimental marketing channel, allowing them to bring tried-and-true IP into their virtual activations instead of designing them from the ground level. This was part of the strategy behind the recent Tonight Show activation in Fortnite Creative, which was designed in collaboration between NBCUniversal and Samsung. “We’re looking at it holistically — how do we find fans in new ways, and use IP that fans love in new ways?” said NBCU president of advertising and client partnerships Mark Markshall.
Since opening on Sept. 14, iHeartLand has already enticed over 1.5 million Roblox users to visit. The company aims to retain that attention with a schedule of virtual programming featuring popular musicians and personalities.
“At our core, we are essentially an influencer network; our broadcast talent are some of the most connected, most engaging influencers at work in media today,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeart Digital Audio Group. “That gives us this sort of superpower, to be able to go into new-ish platforms, like Roblox or Fortnite, because we talk to our listeners through those influencers.”
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