As consumer attention spans decrease in favour of rapid online scrolling, metrics such as impressions and engagement alone to measure the efficacy of communications content are being scrutinised.

In this edition of Muse, we’re exploring the emerging attention-centric communication landscape and what it means for brands.

Attention vs Impression vs Engagement

Attention refers to whether people actually process or digest any external communication stimuli they’re exposed to.

This vastly differs from impressions, which indicate the number of online users who see or scroll through a particular piece of promoted digital content.

Conversely, engagement is measured by interactions such as likes, comments, and views.

Why is attention in the communication spotlight?

Attention and impression can measure ROIs in terms of quality and quantity respectively; a high number of impressions means that many have come across your message.

However, recording a high level of attention among your targets indicates that they are not just seeing your content but consuming it. Attention indicates that your brand occupies a place in their mind, helping establish top-of-mind awareness. This, in turn, helps create market share gain and growth opportunities.

New ways of measuring KPIs

As attention grows in importance, such impression-focused measurements as reach, cost per thousand impressions (CPM), and views may no longer be the best means of evaluating future campaigns. Instead, for a more holistic evaluation, they are likely to be superseded by other metrics such as real reach (the percentages of a target group you can actually reach on a particular channel), attentive CPM (a measurement combining viewers’ average attentive seconds per thousand impressions and CPM), and completion rates (the percentages of users who finish consuming your text or video content, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.) respectively.

This doesn’t mean conventional metrics will become obsolete because measurements differ depending on the campaign’s objective. For example,

if you’re trying to raise mass awareness in a new market, then reach would be a valuable metric because it counts the total number of those who have seen your content regardless of their demographics, psychographics, or behaviours.

As industry changes are underway, Brand Managers and PR pros must react correspondingly to keep their brands on stakeholders’ radars. Continue reading our next article to find out how.