Eyes on the high impact prize: High impact formats drive 72x more attention than display ads

Eye-tracking panel study opens the doors to understanding the “new metric of attention”.

High impact digital ad formats retain the attention of users more effectively than standard display equivalents, new research has revealed.

An eye-tracking panel measured the impact on attention and brand lift of high impact advertising against standard display formats. 

The research by high impact ad platform Adnami and attention technology specialist Lumen Research found that:

  • High impact formats were typically viewed for between two and four times as long as almost any other ad unit;
  • Adnami’s Topscroll ad unit was viewed for seven times longer than a standard display unit on desktop and more than twice the average display unit on mobile;
  • High impact formats drive up to 72 times more attention than standard display units; and
  • Attention is directly linked to prompted and unprompted brand recall.

The eye-tracking study was conducted in the UK and Nordic markets and used Lumen’s eye-tracking-based attention measurement metrics to measure the attention driven by Adnami formats versus standard display. It also studied the impact of attention on brand recall and potential attention drivers like placement, size and format. 

Attention! High impact drives more attentive seconds 

Adnami’s best-performing high impact format was its desktop Topscroll - which delivered an average 5,476 seconds of attention per 1,000 impressions delivered. Its Skins format resulted in 2,181 seconds of attention – 10 times more that of a display banner, the data showed. 

Adnami’s CEO, Simon Kvist Gaulshøj , said: “Our industry is still getting used to working with the new metric of attention. Here we have yet more proof of how important attention is to the planning, buying and measurement of media, and how high impact formats are crucial in gaining it.” 

Avoid overload: four visual clusters or less

The research found that attention-demanding ads kept visuals simple, limiting the number of what it termed “visual clusters”. It found that four visual clusters is the maximum number the brain can easily process and individuals were less likely to recall a brand if overloaded.

Mike Follett, Managing Director of Lumen said: “Advertisers often say that they are in the business of buying ‘eyeballs’. This is why we use eye-tracking technology – to help brands measure, buy and amplify genuine attention to their marketing efforts.

“But it’s also critical to consider how people are viewing content alongside an ad, and to align the format with the content, to ensure maximum engagement. The findings of this study emphasise the importance of high impact formats and the need to design ads which are clear and uncluttered.”