Lumen partners with Ipsos to understand the power of creativity

Unseen is unsold, as the old adage has it. Most digital ads – 82%, to be precise – go unseen. We worked with Ipsos MORI to understand what makes the ads that buck this trend special. What does it take to get a ‘disproportionate share of attention’?

Download our joint report, Attention 2.0, to understand the reality of attention and how you can apply simple tips to earn the interest of your audience.


Nick Watson (Research Director, IPSOS MORI), Hayley Millard (Innovation Manager, IPSOS) and our very own Mike Follett will be sharing our learnings at Ad:Tech later this year, but if you can’t wait until then, please do get in touch and we will be more than happy to give you a preview and show you how you can boost your creative to drive attention and sales.

Attention on both sides of the Atlantic

We were speaking in both the ARF in New York and the MRS in London this week, talking through how we have been helping British Gas ‘buy attention’.

The complexities of ad tech mean that British Gas were finding it hard to distinguish the signal from the noise in their digital marketing. Often, they would find that just because an ad was technically viewable did not mean that it was any more likely to convert to a sale. British Gas asked us to use our attention models to identify which ads were most likely to be viewed – not just viewable – and see if this predicted sales better.

And it does.

The ads that we predict were most likely to be viewed are also the ads that are most likely to convert to sales.

We’re now working with British Gas and Mediacom to use this data to identify the sites and formats that drive attention most cost effectively – an ‘attention CPM’ - to make sure that they get more bang for their buck.

And thanks so much to Patrick Smith of British Gas for getting up on stage with us to tell the story. 

Is attention equal across media?


What unites a massive poster and a tiny mobile ad, a pop up ad and a cinema showpiece? They are all competing for your attention. But are they equally good at it?

This week, we have published two piece of research that address is this question in different ways.

On Thursday, we spoke at the FEPE conference with our friends from JC Decaux. We have been working with them to understand the relative impact of out-of-home, desktop display and mobile advertising. Instead of just applying the same viewability metrics across media, we have gone further, and conducted eye tracking tests across all three media to understand the ‘real reach’ of each. You can download the paper here.

One of the most interesting findings is about the relative dwell time with advertising across media. Loyal followers of Lumen will know that because dwell times with advertising are so short, we often advise our print and digital clients to ‘think like a poster’. This research confirms this finding in spades: advertising in all formats has more to learn from poster design than direct marketing.

The day before, we launched our ‘attention CPM’ initiative with Brightfish, the Belgian cinema marketing agency. They had conducted some eye tracking on TV and Cinema ads with a local supplier and wanted to compare their results to our data on print and digital advertising in the UK.

Working with local media agencies, they have gone one step further, and started to put a price on the attention that different media produce – a cost per thousand seconds of attention, or ‘aCPM’. When you look at how different channels produce attention to advertising, cheap media starts to look very expensive, and ‘expensive’ media starts to look like a bargain. They have even put together a handy ‘cost of attention’ calculator, which you can play around with here.

This is an approach that we have been championing within digital media for some time. If you want to buy attention, rather than just impressions, then check out our friends and partners Avocet and Parsec, or get in touch with us direct.

The Age of Attention


At Lumen, we have known for some time that not all ads are created equal: your likelihood to look at an ad on some sites is much greater than on others. But what about audiences? Is everyone equally likely to notice or spend time with advertising?

We have analysed two years’ worth of attention data from the Lumen panel and it seems that there are large differences by audience. One of the biggest factors influencing attention to advertising. Younger consumers are much better at avoiding advertising than their parents (are we still allowed to call these people ‘silver surfers’?).

The much sought after 18-34 demographic has a 16% chance of looking at viewable ad. whereas consumers aimed 55+ are twice as likely to notice the ads that are served to them, noticing 32% of the viewable ads that they are served. Larger formats such as Billboards are noticed by 22% of younger consumers, but a whopping 48% of older consumers.

Viewable ads seen graph.png

Interestingly, while older consumers are more likely to notice the ads, they are no more likely to spend time with the advertising that they notice than their younger brethren. Dwell time across age groups is remarkably consistent – and consistently short.

dwell time by age graph.png

Why might this be? You might argue that ‘digital natives’ have been online so long that they have developed a preternatural ability to avoid advertising. Maybe. But perhaps another reason is down to the sites they visit. Older consumers are more likely to spend time on newsbrand sites, which are well laid out and consumed slowly, giving the advertising they host the best possible chance of being seen. Younger consumers may be visiting sites for shorter bursts of activity, meaning that ads have shorter amounts of viewable time available to get viewed. And the sites they visit may not be as elegantly laid out as newsbrand sites.

So, while audience is important, context remains king.