The uphill battle for user attention

Ogury recently participated in another episode of The Programmatic Society, the theme of which was user attention and how to create a more respectful advertising experience for users in an increasingly saturated market. 

The Programmatic Society gathered a unique group of panelists, each representing key categories in the advertising ecosystem. Olivier Marty, Sales Managing Director France at Ogury, represented the technology side, Jérôme Perissel, Partner and Chief Digital Officer at Arena Media (Havas Group), represented media agencies, and Yacine Touileb, Head of Media, Social Media & Sponsoring at SFR, represented advertisers.

Advertising is commonly described as intrusive and invasive, often decried by users seeking a more private experience online. In fact, 44% of users utilize an adblocker. Yet despite these grievances, the digital market experienced double-digit growth of 24% in 2021 and represented half of all advertising investments. Because of these contrasting facts, panelists were asked to explain their positioning on user attention in their respective industry roles.

Perissel asserts that there is an evolution in the advertiser’s expectations. The first expectation is to work on more useful media experiences by connecting with the right target audience, in the right context, and with the right content and formats. “The second expectation is on a more responsible approach, both on the social impact, the corporate social responsibility, the environmental impact, as well as the respect of the users through the protection of their data,” he explained.

Touileb agrees, noting two staggering figures that could be referenced in any discussion around user attention:

1)    Consumers are faced with 1,200 advertisements a day.

2)    The average consumer’s thumb travels 90 meters a day to scroll through their device.

Though almost unimaginable, these facts, Touileb points out, make it very complicated for advertisers and brands in the ecosystem to emerge. How does one generate and retain user attention when they are highly active, over-solicited and yet paying little mind to content that is being pushed toward them?

With these questions in mind, advertisers like SFR must consider the entire advertising cycle, from point A to point Z, when anticipating the user experience. What is the relationship between the content and the target audience? On what device will the advertisement be displayed? In what format will it be distributed? Is there context? These parameters all impact the quality of its reception.

From Marty’s perspective, the digital advertising ecosystem has evolved from what used to be very intrusive in the early 2000s, to more respectful and engaging today ­– a choice made at Ogury since its inception. He said, anecdotally, that consumers will naturally feel disturbed by a commercial presented in the middle of their movie or program. However, that same consumer is more inclined to appreciate a commercial that is placed between the news and the weather. At Ogury, advertisements are triggered by an interaction to give a user choice in their ad experience, which ultimately generates performance for brands and media agencies while respecting user data and privacy.

Yacine cites the importance of a collaborative effort in mutual success. When working together and utilizing integrated solutions, advertisers can offer a respectful experience to users while delivering performance for the brands. Between regulatory associations monitoring digital practices and brands equipping themselves with brand safety solutions and tools, the entire advertising chain is equipped to adhere to a more responsible approach.

“The digital market needs us to focus on quality to maintain the trust of users and our customers,” Perissel explained. “The way we work with our clients today is to understand their expectations, their needs, and their behavior, because you don’t talk the same way to a 35-year-old woman as to an 18-year-old boy.” Instead, a communication architecture must be constructed to control the exposure users experience. He defined a key point being the need to collaborate more, choosing the right tools and partners who can offer formats that are adapted to any particular experience.

User attention – the new indicator

Marty explained that Ogury packages unique audience interest data into formats that respect the user while providing a superior performance for brands. Ogury’s 100% on-screen formats generate  user attention and offer a dynamic and interactive experience.

“At Ogury, we think digital advertising should be respectful of users’ privacy, but also of their advertising experience. And the future of digital advertising must be non-intrusive, without collecting personal data, and with formats that are precisely intelligent, and therefore non-intrusive,” Marty remarked. “We need to go further than simply measuring visibility. We need to make attention the new indicator, for media agencies and for brands. And make brands aware of the ROI of their video branding campaigns.” 

Touileb furthered this point by emphasizing the importance of attention. “A person, an internet user, who doesn’t pay attention to advertising messages, has little chance of remembering them. So, attention is key,” he said. “Today, it is the evolution of technology that makes it possible to go much further in this attention process. Attention is a key subject in a saturated media landscape.”

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