Experimenting with Attention Metrics

Financial Times
How do we spend attention? Clicks, page views, then shares — they all have taken turns, alone or in combination, as metrics for advertisers to tell whether to invest in one platform over another.

Digital body language can indeed be measured. Can it be measured more accurately? For example, are we closing the gap between media dollars spent and efficiency? More importantly, are we learning better ways to close the intention-action gap? Because attention without action is only half the equation.

Experimenting with Attention Metrics

The Financial Times is experimenting with time on site. In an interview with Sam Petulla#, commercial director of digital advertising for the FT Jon Slade said Financial Times readers are spending six times more time with the site than on other business news sites.

The media organization is experimenting with its content inventory to figure out how to deliver it efficiently and with impact for the brand.

We’re working from a hypothesis that one hour is our currency, with a minimum of five seconds of exposure.

The FT In addition works with Chartbeat, a web analytics firm, and WebSpectator, a company that sells ads based on time spent and counts Univision, Coca-Cola, and Sephora among its customers.

All in an effort to define what "engagement" translates into online now that we know that even shares occur with partial or no content consumption and/or individual attention.

Engagement, the new (media) frontier

We've been around this block before. With more advanced platforms and some experience of how people view content online and pass it on,we now have a better (read: more accurate) measure.

Upworthy, which provides a steady stream of important and irresistibly shareable stuff, has come up with the best way to answer the question and is now ready to share the code # (follow the link to view a dynamic demo of how it works):

Clicks and page views, long the industry standards, are drastically ill-equipped for the job. […] It’s in everyone’s interest — from publishers to readers to advertisers — to move to a metric that more fully measures attention spent consuming content.

[…] Attention Minutes measures everything from video player signals about whether a video is currently playing to a user’s mouse movements to which browser tab is currently open — all to determine whether the user is still engaged.

Marketers want to make sure they are stretching their ad dollar. While powerful analytics provide plenty of data, the sweet spot is figuring out the pieces that matter, those that move the needle for the business.

Publishers may soon be able to go from suggesting how to spend it (editorially) to how to spend it (in ad dollars value).

Related: Spectrum of Attention


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.