We’ve got an attention problem. Did you know this? Probably not. Probably because you weren’t paying attention.
Luckily for you, Andy Headington - CEO of Adido - is paying attention. At last week’s Digital Gaggle, Andy enlightened us all with a fascinating insight into the future of Analytics – asking, how can we analyse numbers if we aren’t analysing attention? In fact, Andy’s so keen for us to ask this question that Adido have recently rebranded from an online marketing company to an attention agency. If you didn't make it to Gaggle, or if you're in need of a refresher, here's the monkey guide to what we learned.
Adido’s aim is to work with brands in developing immersive digital experiences that are attention worthy, rather than just attention grabbing. Because after all, the media world has changed radically over the past few decades, and even more drastically since the introduction of the smartphone. The humble smartphone has turned us all into publishers, capable of creating and consuming content in – literally – the click of a button.
We’ve gone from a scarcity of media to an obesity, and there’s now more content floating around in the world than we could ever possibly consume. What’s more, it’s non-stop! Can you believe that as little as 30 years ago TV stations had a stop time? When it got too late at night, the TV station staff would go home and so TV would just… Stop. Literally just stop! Can you imagine?!
The times, they have certainly a-changed. We now live in a 24 hour world, where it’s possible to connect to anything (and anyone) at any time. Ready for some stats? 58% of smartphone users don’t go an hour without checking their phones, and the average user checks their phone 150 times a day. And that ain’t just the youth, either (with their snapchats and their instagrams) – it’s across the board.
Have you heard that phrase, ‘the attention span of a goldfish’? Goldfish reportedly have a 9 second attention span, but did you know that ours is now 8? That’s halved from 16 seconds 15 years ago. We have literally become less than goldfish. Soz.
All of this presents a pretty big challenge for us as marketers. All this time we’ve spent trying to get people’s attention – now it turns out we have to hold it, too?! When will the madness end!
One of the successful digital marketer’s key tools is, obvs, Analytics. Errybody love the Analytics. It’s an amazing resource for tracking what’s working and what’s not, and how people are interacting with the kind of content we create.
But, with the knowledge that we’re not necessarily paying attention to what we see, how useful are Analytics, really? For example – when you watch TV in the evenings, are you really watching it, or is it just on in the background?
Along with our newfound goldfish superpowers, we’re also now guilty of a thing called inattentional blindness – which is basically a fancy way of saying that we’ve developed a way of literally not seeing what we don’t want to pay attention to. Check out this video for a great example of what this means.
So, analytics info remains useful, but it’s really only telling part of the story. Sure, your advert may have been seen a million times, but has anyone really paid attention to it?
“But what about clicks!”, I hear you cry. Well, fair enough – at the moment, click through rate is the marketer’s holy grail, and does offer a pretty good indication that the content we’re creating has been deemed attention worthy by at least those people.
We’ve got a couple of other ways of measuring attention, too. Heat maps, for instance, follow the mouse around the page – but again, are they really measuring attention, or just the half-hearted mouse-playing of somebody bored in the office?
Videos, we know, do a great job of getting people’s attention – which probably explains why they’ve only gone from strength to strength whilst other marketing mediums have dawdled. Pro tip – if our attention spans are now only 8 seconds, make your video advert 7. You’re welcome.
But again, how can we measure engagement for these things – even if they are “successful”? What are the analytics of the future?
Eye tracking is one potential medium of future analytics. Like the Google glass, prototypes of contact lenses are currently being created which will seamlessly measure the way we look at what we see. It’ll capture everything you’ve ever seen, so marketer’s will know exactly what you’re looking at, and – here’s the rub – how long you’ve paid attention.
Touch tracking is another option – perhaps best suited to external marketing items (print leaflets, billboards, etc), but it could also be applied to our laptop trackpads. Through this, we’ll be able to measure things like heart rate and raises in blood temperature, to test the users emotional reaction to what they see.
Because ultimately, it’s emotions – rather than actions – that will be the crucial element in the Analytics of the future. Andy broke this down into three crucial points during his talk:
- Share of viewability. Of all the ads and digital marketing content out there, how many people are actually seeing your work?
- Brand emotion score. What do people feel when they see your stuff? What’s their body reaction? What is your ‘feeling rank’?
- Long term recall index. Among all of the brands out there, where is yours? Are you memorable?
So – if these are the Analytics of the future, how are we going to make sure we’re prepared?
It all comes back to emotions. Like Andy and the Adido gang, it’s time to start thinking about connecting emotionally with our audiences, making sure we’re attention worthy rather than attention grabbing. Ask yourself what you stand for, and how you really want people to connect to you, and then start acting accordingly. This media saturated age means that people are savvy, and they’ll know if you’re talking bullshit. So, don’t.
Identify the emotional core of your brand, and use that to connect to your audience. Because the future is coming, people, and it might look a little bit different to what we’re used to.