Exposure time: the time-based metric digital advertising desperately needs?

Jess Thompson
Jess ThompsonCommunications ManagerMore about Jess

[This is an overview of insights from industry professionals on the effects of time-based metrics in advertising. This is a summarized version, download the full version here]

For advertising to hold attention and be effective, it has to be relevant to the consumer. That means using data and technology to learn about your ideal audience and show them your ad at the best time and place. Interesting, informative ads that are in-view for long enough to get your message across are much more likely to trigger consumers’ interest and persuade them to choose your brand than ads that are only briefly viewable.

Exposure time: the metric advertising needs

The general consensus from academics, researchers, advertisers and publishers alike is that exposure time could be one of the most valuable insights in advertising. We compiled the most interesting insights from across the industry into one overview.

An ad requires attention to be effective
Despite what you may have heard about subliminal advertising (advertising that appeals to your subconscious mind, impacting decision-making), academics, such as Thales S. Teixeira of Harvard Business School, agree that a consumer must be paying at least some attention to an advertisement for it to be effective. This pulls into question how effective a 100% viewable impression is if it is in-view for a short duration (one or two seconds).

Research shows higher brand recall aided and unaided
In their paper, The Effects of Exposure Time on Memory of Display Advertisements, Yahoo! Researchers, Goldstein, McAfee and Siddarth, report a strong correlation between exposure time and brand recall and recognition. Their study required participants to read a piece of text with an in-view banner ad on the page. Participants were then tested on what they read and how much attention they paid to the page. The test was split into endogenous (self-determined by reading time) exposure time, and exogenous (the ad was in-view for a determined amount of time). The results for both tests showed that the longer the exposure time, the better participants performed in the brand recall and recognition tests, most notably between 0-60 seconds.

Publishers have reported success using exposure time
The Economist and The Financial Times have begun testing the time-based pricing structure on their sites and have reported success for their advertisers who have embraced it. Advertisers are only charged for viewable impressions that reach five seconds or longer of exposure time, which is capped at 30 seconds. In The Economist’s trial of the cost-per-hour (CPH) ad campaign they reported a 10.6% brand-awareness uplift for the advertiser (compared to the usual 2.1% with CPM-based campaigns). Both The Economist and The Financial Times said that ads actively viewed for five to 30 seconds had a 50% higher CTR than the same ads bought on CPM.

Our research shows that exposure time can influence consumer behaviour
How the duration of a viewable impression can influence consumer behavior is of great interest to Bannerconnect. As it stands, a guaranteed viewable impression only needs to be in-view for one second. Our own research found that as exposure time increases, CTR increases with it. In-view impressions with short exposure time contribute less to the success of a campaign than those with a longer exposure time, leading CPA to decrease with exposure time.

How exposure time will get better performance on your campaign.
Exposure time is the natural progression from the viewable impression. Ensuring that an impression is in-view for enough time to make an impact is a crucial next step to making advertising effective Twitter icon With Bannerconnect, you can see how long each unique consumer is exposed to your campaign across several touchpoints (for example, consumer A has seen your ads for 31 seconds through display, 5 seconds on social and 23 seconds of video), allowing you to optimise your campaign and bring your consumer closer towards your campaign’s KPIs. The preoccupation with superficial metrics that fail to indicate how to influence consumer behavior is over. The industry has spoken and we’re making the shift to exposure time.

If you’re interested in finding out how exposure time can amplify the value of your campaign, talk to Bannerconnect about optimising the exposure time of your campaign on unique consumer level!

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