IAB Hosts First Measurement Leadership Summit to Standardize Attention Metrics in Advertising Industry

IAB Hosts First Measurement Leadership Summit to Standardize Attention Metrics in Advertising Industry

In the last half-year, there has been a rise in focus on “attention” within the industry, with numerous members of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) naming it a crucial subject for 2023. In response, IAB hosted its first Measurement Leadership Summit, titled “Undivided Attention”, at the Annual Leadership Meeting in Marco Island, Florida this past January. The summit brought together over 80 executives from advertising agencies, brands, publishers, ad tech, and measurement companies with the aim of working to establish a path forward to standardize the measurement of attention. During the event, executives participated in peer-to-peer discussions and roundtables, sharing their perspectives and ideas for a future that includes attention as a standard measurement metric.

The summit opened with a clear call to action, emphasizing the need to establish the necessary business and technical standards for measuring attention, while being mindful of any potential impacts on the industry. The participants delved into the crucial metrics, data points and approaches being considered by advertisers and ad agencies, and explored the question of whether attention metrics should serve as a currency or as a tool for optimization and measurement.

The discussions at the summit were reminiscent of the early days of IAB’s ad verification and viewability meetings, when the industry recognized the need to provide better transparency and inventory quality for the benefit of consumers, advertisers, and publishers. At that time, the market was still new and dynamic, with many new solutions and methodologies emerging. There was demand from buyers and some hesitation from sellers, much like the current situation regarding attention metrics today.

The attendees were highly engaged, with lively discussions and a diverse range of opinions. The atmosphere was energetic and collaborative, and everyone seemed eager to work together towards a common goal.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the event:

  1. Lack of Unity. There was no clear agreement on what constitutes “attention,” due to factors such as subjectivity, differences in media channels and devices, and varying methodologies. There was clearly a need to consider how attention metrics may differ across various channels such as video, audio, gaming, and methods of measuring attention such as biometric, device signals and cognitive methodologies.
  2. Not Yet a Currency. While attendees acknowledged that attention metrics are still in the early stages of development and require further work and education, there was a desire from buyers and solution providers in the room for a future where it could be used as a transactable metric…but we’re not there yet.
  3. Financial Implications and User Experience. Attention metrics have the potential to significantly impact revenue, inventory, and user experience. Publishers are keen to understand the short- and long-term effects of attention metrics on their business as advertisers use these metrics to gauge the effectiveness of different media properties and placements.
  4. Importance of Creative. The participants emphasized that the focus on attention should not solely be on the publisher, as the creative aspect of an advertisement also plays a crucial role in attention. The evaluation of attention should consider the advertisement’s creative content, separate from the device, media channel, media property, media placement or ad format.

The IAB Measurement Leadership Summit provided a valuable platform for industry leaders to come together and discuss the future of attention metrics in advertising. With a diverse range of perspectives and opinions, the summit highlighted the need for further research and education to establish well-defined measurement standards and define the role of attention metrics in the industry. As attention metrics have the potential to significantly impact revenue, inventory, and user experience, the industry must work together to advance the understanding and implementation of these metrics.

If you are interested in IAB’s attention initiative, email [email protected] for more information.


Angelina Eng
Vice President, Measurement, Attribution & Data Center
at IAB