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Market Voice 20 Jun 2022 - 2 min read

Are you paying active attention? No smoke screens, vanity metrics – quality attention in cinema towers above other publishers, platforms

By Paul Butler – Director of Insights and Analytics - Val Morgan Cinema | Partner Content

It’s time to move beyond a ‘chance to view’ to a quality-based ‘attention view’, and in that area cinema towers above other platforms.

Planning campaigns based on active attention, and not just smoke screens of publisher vanity metrics, will improve brand returns on investment – and cinema is set to be a big winner, Val Morgan Cinema’s Paul Butler writes. It’s time to move beyond a ‘chance to view’ to a quality-based ‘attention view’, and in that area cinema towers above other platforms.

Blockbusters busting

In case there was ever any doubt, recent weeks have proved cinema is back – and back with a vengeance. Blockbuster movies, like Top Gun: Maverick and the larger-than-life Jurassic World: Dominion are generating huge returns at the box-office. What’s more, these premium, collectively watched, must-see, entertainment events are delivering an unmatched connection and lasting impact on audiences.

First-run movies create a sense of anticipation and occasion, but when combined with the wonder of the big screen and the immersive environment, things double-down for advertisers and this is where cinema truly shines.

From inception, cinemas were purposely designed to deliver an experience that commands attention and a physical environment that ensures cut-through.

The rapidly growing evolution towards Attention planning is welcome news to a channel that has always had impact and engagement front and centre to validate and argue for its place in the channel mix.

Attention soaring

Working with Amplified Intelligence we recently concluded pilot work to capture Cinema attention data for the attentionPLAN platform, the first measurement of its kind globally.

Data collection was conducted in real-life cinema sessions, using equipment that was imperceptible to the audience, reflecting a natural cinema experience, without the need for personal devices to worn. And no surprises, initial results show Cinema sets a new benchmark for ‘active attention’, towering above all other platforms.

The study also showed that attention levels were sustained right throughout the ad, irrespective of length, and that attention was sustained throughout the entire pre-show. After a successful pilot, the next phase of data collection is now underway. When concluded over the coming weeks it will provide the first cinema data for the Amplified Intelligence platform.

Using qualified attention metrics to create a more even playing field across channels is a no brainer. Advertising works by creating and refreshing memories and the evidence is clear; attention is significantly and positively linked to business outcomes. The more eyes of (active) attention paid, the longer the brand stays in memory, so there’s plenty at stake.

Moving from a ‘chance to view’ towards a quality based ‘attentive view’ has deep and profound implications, not only in understanding relative value across channels – but to also get closer to campaign outcomes and shape the direction of effectiveness measurement.

We’re look forward to the evolving debate about what quality means in media, and how agencies and brands apply this thinking. It opens fascinating opportunities to explore channel selection for optimised active attention and channel sequencing. The scene will then be set to go deeper still and explore how attention and the shape of attention, sits alongside other factors such as receptivity, format and (dare I say) screen size to affect the processing of ad messaging which will only get closer still to understanding true value across channels.

Cinema is a both a personal yet shared and collective occasion, and in today’s fragmented landscape those times and places of guaranteed collective engagement that do still exist are highly valuable.

More than ever, they are cultural moments – real-time events that captivate and galvanize an audience. Small windows of time where people are collectively turned-on, tuned-in, open-minded, and socially connected.

Lean-back, lean-forward

People think differently about ads in cinema. It’s a lean-back environment that delivers lean-forward outcomes. Audiences are in a different mindset, happier, more relaxed and more engaged than when watching lesser screen experiences – we describe them as being ‘mentally primed’ for attention.

This perhaps helps explain why cinema has been consistently rated by Kantar as having the highest ad equity of all channels globally. From a consumer’s perspective it’s where they are most accepting of and most receptive to advertising.

With this new focus the channels and formats that deliver receptive, engaged, attentive audiences are the ones that will prevail. Whilst no one has the answers at this stage, the scene is set for a new dimension of understanding of how brands and marketers build new baselines for evaluation and effectiveness.

Moving away from the smoke screen of publisher vanity metrics to the application of independent measurement, the influence of attention marks just the beginning of perhaps the advertising media landscapes’ most exciting time to date.

So sit back, grab the popcorn and stay tuned for what will be the cinema medium’s most significant journey as we continue to validate impact and attention for marketers and brands alike.

 

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