New study – how you should design your digital ads

Erik Modig, a researcher at the Stockholm School of Economics Institute for Research, has conducted the “Schibsted Attention Study” together with Karolina Nilvang from Schibsted, examining the attention various types of advertising receive.

From an impression all the way to brand lift. What drives effectiveness? What factors matter? How do the variations look? This and much more have been explored in the “Schibsted Attention Study”, a research study based on a year of collecting effects on observation, sender identification, and brand impact – across a total of 17 brands.

There is a need for a shift in how advertisers design ads, driven in part by an increasing share of media budgets being allocated to digital channels compared to a few years ago. This clashes with the knowledge gap that exists around attention (metrics).

The study will be fully launched in early 2024, but for now, we can draw three conclusions:

  1. News sites perform significantly better compared to other contexts in display advertising.
    Large actors often do not show this in their attention data as they tend to combine news media with all types of display. While the average attention for desktop display is often said to be 10-15 percent, the Schibsted Attention Study shows it to be 25-30 percent for Schibsted’s sites.
  2. The variation across the eye-tracking metric ‘fixation’ is significant
    In other words, how many people actually look at the ad. It is influenced partly by the product’s popularity and partly by how relevant the steering is. In summary, if you want high fixation, you need to reach people interested in your type of ad.
  3. The amount of attention you get correlates with the value of observations
    People remember the ads they have actually looked at. Despite this, the quality of the ad is still crucial for it to have any effects.

– If you deviate from the sender perspective, the effects drop drastically, due to the extremely short exposure times we see today. On average, people look at ads for 1.5–2 seconds, so the ad’s sender must be almost overly clear. If not, the value drops significantly, says Erik Modig.

As mentioned earlier, the study will be launched in early 2024, but we will continue to share other insights until then. Stay tuned!