When it comes to capturing an audience’s attention, brands have more channels available than ever. But this will do them little good if they fail to adapt to the different ways in which human attention works on each.

The most effective campaigns are those that capture prolonged attention, delivering continued gains in awareness whilst creating stronger memories that have more potential to build equity and influence future behaviour. Marketing campaigns that can achieve this deliver more lasting results – and they are often the campaigns that make most effective use of different platforms.

capturing the audience's attention in brand channels

Human attention works very differently when watching TV or walking down the street than when engaged in a task online. In many offline situations, novelty, humour and emotion prove powerful strategies for engaging attention, but the capacity for prolonged attention is limited.

Digital media can deliver prolonged attention through on-going interactivity – but marketers must adapt their creative approach if they are to engage their audience’s attention in the first place. The focused nature of much online activity screens out many campaigns that fail to make this adjustment, resulting in rapidly diminishing returns from their online spend.

For marketers to adapt their creative approach to different channels, they need robust, comparable data of effectiveness across these platforms. Traditional memory-dependent metrics have hindered efficient media planning by blurring the relative effectiveness of different channels – and this is why Kantar TNS prioritises Opportunity to See (OTS) as the key measure of campaign effectiveness.

Key action points for marketers:

  • Adapt creative approaches to different platforms, seeking fresh consistency throughout
  • Novelty, humour and emotion are effective strategies for many offline contexts, but interactivity and alignment with online tasks become vital on digital platforms
  • Use OTS metrics for a meaningful view of campaign effectiveness across different touchpoints
  • Ensure that campaign spend and frequency reflects the ability of each platform to deliver prolonged attention
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