Why is attention important?

1. People want to learn and interact

In this Ad Age study with Google, consumers were asked “how important are ad features in getting you to interact with online ads?”

The results are encouraging: people want aesthetically pleasing ads, from recognisable brands, in noticeable placements, and preferably with video.

However, they also want “information on a product or service that I want to learn about” and “the ability to interact”. So it’s not just about online video but about interactive video, which can look great and have emotional impact but can also provide other marketing solutions. 

2. It improves brand health

Many case studies show brands that foster engagement and captivate attention through interactive video enjoy better brand-customer relationships – as measured by brand influence, favourability and consideration – than more linear ad experiences.

My favourite is this study from Microsoft. It’s from 2010 but hasn’t aged in terms of insight, showing that users who’ve spent time interacting with ads make 34% more branded search terms and are 70% more likely to visit the brand site. 

3. It drives sales

Irrespective of what else is going on in a campaign, or in peoples’ lives, people that see your ads should buy more than people who don’t.

The same Ad Age/Google study shows that 94% of people who engage with ads frequently make their buying decisions based on online advertising and 40% who engage buy online often or daily. Brands: people that engage with interactive ads buy stuff.

How does interactive video deliver attention?

1. By cutting-through 

Once your brand is in front of the right person you need it to illicit an emotional, cognitive, or physical response. This requires an ad to cut through the noise of daily life and deliver an experience that is unique, interesting, and/or involving.

A study from Millward Brown revealed that’s exactly what you get when using interactive video – in-banner, in-stream and mobile – versus ‘plain’ video only.

2. Respects the consumer journey

Why is the average click through rate on standard display units around 0.07%? One argument is that clicking on an ad is a disruptive experience.

It relies on a consumer taking time from whatever online activity they’re doing, clicking away to your brand site, and then somehow finding their way back to their original activity. If you want people to spend time with your brand then give them an experience that respects their journey.

Interactive video allows you tease a person into an initial interaction with your ad and, if you have set expectations right, gives an opportunity for them spend time in your brand experience but be returned gently to their original journey.

3. Targets the right user

A colleague says: “Engagement acts as a natural filter, allowing users that are interested to raise their hands and allowing those that are not to enjoy only light impact”.

If you get the initial creative, the media, and the audience optimisation right it gives you the opportunity to expose your brand to the right people. However, interactive video then self-determines for people interested at that moment, draws in new prospects by offering the chance to capture emotional attention whilst also offering rational exploration, and protects your brand equity from forced experiences.

So that’s why attention is important and how interactive video works to deliver it. However, but let me close by asking the counter question: what happens to a brand when no one is paying attention?