How to make your TV ads more effective

  • by Tobii
  • 5 min
Audience attention measurement with eye tracking

Eye tracking research discloses true audience engagement with television commercials and reveals key tactics to get your message across.

In days gone by, channel surfing was the biggest barrier to audience engagement with TV commercials, today, advertisers are competing with phones, tablets, and laptops for visual attention. But is TV advertising really a waste of money? Definitely not! But that's not to say the same formula that worked a decade ago will still resonate.

Our research team, Tobii Insight, conducted an eye tracking study examining the natural viewing behavior of people in 150 homes across 7 U.S. cities. The results from this research are designed to help advertisers and marketers understand the changing way viewers interact with TV ads and other content so they can create successful and effecting advertising campaigns which give greater returns on investment.

Participants across multiple demographics were exposed to more than 3,000 television commercials while wearing eye tracking glasses. Unlike other research methods, eye tracking provides clear and accurate answers on exactly what viewers are looking at, which ads they see, how long they watch them and what elements visually appeal to them. As an advertiser you can harness this information to guide not only when and where to buy your ad space, but also how to produce your commercial for maximum impact.

Audience attention measurement with eye tracking

Some key takeaways from the downloadable report are:

  • Viewers pay less attention to ads towards the end of the ad break BUT
  • They pay more attention overall towards the end of the program they're watching
  • People watch a greater percentage of a short ad compared to a long one
  • Millennials DO watch TV...even the ads! A little less than their older counterparts but not by a huge margin.
  • Jingles are off-putting but music is not.
  • Ads are more engaging when they relate to products and services which are easily accessible

Navigating the current TV landscape

There's no denying TV habits are in the midst of rapid changes – from 2016 to 2018 around 11-million people cut the cord on their traditional network TV service in the U.S. alone. TV ad spending over the same period dropped 3 percent, with another 4 percent decline forecast for the next three years – however TV advertising still accounts for the majority of all advertising dollars spent – in the U.S. that's 33% of all ad spending.


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