Attention measurement is essential for privacy protecting advertising

2024 is bringing the end of digital advertising as the industry’s known it for decades: largely reliant on third-party, privacy-invading tracking cookies.


A new era is here, one that has privacy protection at its core, and this era is in no small part defined by attention measurement.


Third-party cookie tracking technology is finally ending with its total phaseout from Google Chrome. The loss of this technology means something bigger than advertisers simply needing to look for other solutions: it means that the domination of performance-based advertising is over, and a new approach that prioritizes privacy and brand recognition is necessary.


There’s no going back to understanding each individual advertising campaign’s performance using third-party cookies. But success in the industry won’t be found by looking backward – advertisers need to look forward and understand their campaigns in terms of brand recognition and uplift.


So, are you paying attention? Let’s get into it!



Privacy is the first, second, and third issue with third-party cookies. Laws are progressively more restrictive and public perception is increasingly against tracking across sites.


It’s why major internet browsers such as Safari and Mozilla block third-party cookies by default. Google Chrome is the last major player to jump ship. With over three billion users worldwide, that’s a big jump to make.


Attention measurement at first glance sounds even more privacy invading. To the uninitiated, it brings to mind eye-tracking and facial recognition done without permission to millions of people. At scale, we of course can’t be asking millions of users whether we can track their eyeball movements. However, that doesn’t mean that smaller-scale, consensual eye-tracking aren’t used for attention metrics, which are predictive models and totally privacy-protecting.


Attention metrics are ways of calculating an estimate of how much attention was paid based on easily measurable factors and sometimes bolstered with eye-tracking such as what’s provided by ShowHeroes partner Lumen Research.


They can be relatively simple, like what the IAB proposes: a simple formula based on view time and the percentage of people who looked at an ad.


Or they can be more in-depth, like that provided by the ShowHeroes Attention Index, which takes into account a range of parameters including player size, device type, audibility, contextual alignment, and much more.


At scale, attention measurement isn’t exact but the estimates are based off extensive data and thorough formulae to provide extremely valuable insights, which are much more informative than typical benchmarks for performance marketing such as viewability or click rates.


But why is it that an estimate can be more valuable than exact numbers like click-through? To understand that we have to look at the wider role attention measurement takes in cookieless advertising.


In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about attention metrics, check out ShowHeroes ShowHow: Attention Metrics series! 👇



Advertising isn’t going back to how it was. Audience verification is never going back to the third-party verification days.


While we have solutions like Google Topics available to us, they’re just not the same. But advertisers should see this as an opportunity to try something better.


Attention measurement helps advertisers gauge brand recognition and brand lift. Effective advertising is never solely about immediate sales – an ad out on the street doesn’t have its effectiveness gauged by how many people interrupt their routine to dip into a shop and buy something (some exceptions, like fast food, exist!) Online advertising should be seen, in large part, the same way. Attention-grabbing advertising online is valuable for more than just a click or purchase.


When users are paying attention to a brand rather than glazing over or outright ignoring it, there’s a great chance that they’re remembering what they saw. They may not click immediately, but perhaps they’ll dip into a shop or click on the next one.


It’s also helpful for reducing campaign spend: with a better idea of what’s effective, marketers can spend less on inventory and focus on what’s actually grabbing attention.


That doesn’t mean performance marketing shouldn’t be considered, and effective performance marketing is something we talked about in our cookieless targeting blog post.


But it does mean that a string in a good advertiser’s bow should be measuring brand recognition and understanding its value.


If you’d like to learn more about how digital video advertising could help your brand, fill out the form below and you’ll have our full attention!

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