How you can predict advertising success

  • by Tobii
  • 5 min

Online advertising research

The challenge of online advertising is not just getting people to notice your ad, but to engage with it. Purchasing ad space doesn’t guarantee people will see it, and it can be hard to know what gets received and what gets lost. Using the most advanced developments in eye tracking technology, we empower your brand to track and evaluate visual attention data to determine what ad formats, placements, and creatives are not just viewable, but engaging too. 

Viewability does not equal noticeability 

Viewability is a key metric in determining the effectiveness of an ad. Depending on the format, an ad is generally considered viewable if 50% of its pixels are in view on the screen for at least 1 second.  

But does viewability guarantee noticeability? Studies show that a third of ads achieve a gaze time (time spent looking at the ad) of less than a second, while only 42% are looked at for over one second. This means that your ads are likely to go completely unnoticed by over a quarter of the population. Essentially, just because an ad CAN be seen, does not mean it WILL be seen. Content, design, and placement play a major role in overall effectiveness.  

Look at the image below; check out how a 100% viewable ad is only seen by 6% of visitors to this website. 

heatmap of disney advertising using Tobii Pro Sticky

An ad does need to be viewable to be seen, but to ensure actual consumer engagement, it’s important to use tracking methods that can measure what is actually consumed. Online eye tracking platform Sticky by Tobii does the job by measuring details of consumers’ visual attention. These implicit insights empower you to improve discoverability and length of attention on your ads.

Engagement can cost you recognition

We want to drive ad engagement, but could ad imagery be too engaging? Yes! Imagery that is too effective in holding consumer attention can kill brand recognition. Why is that? Well, if the image is grabbing all the attention, consumers will miss key messaging or branding elsewhere on the ad.

As can be seen in the image below, when branding is placed in the corner of an ad, especially the bottom right, it is easily missed.

Heat map testing with Tobii Pro Sticky - ESPN
Heatmap shows consumers focused on the athlete’s face and missed the ESPN logo in the bottom right corner

Ads perform significantly better when they link the branding directly to the core element of the image. Alternatively, a well-designed image can direct attention deliberately to the brand logo or message. In short, connect that logo to your most engaging element. 

Predicting the emotional impact of your ad 

Your ad has been seen and branding is noticed – you have engagement! Now the goal is to increase the impact of that engagement. How can you make it stay with the consumer and have it become part of their communication with others? Emotion influences where we decide to direct our attention and the degree to which we engage. And an emotional experience sticks. Consumers are more likely to recall what they react emotionally to and are more likely to share this experience with others. Video ads that elicit strong emotions— positive or negative— are far more likely to be shared than videos that have a weak emotional response. 

Using facial coding technology included with the Sticky platform, it is possible to measure people’s emotions through facial expressions. So, while watching a video ad it is possible to determine in real time how people are feeling and where they are looking. Combining emotions with eye tracking data can predict if your video is skippable, has brand value, or is otherwise engaging. By looking at the emotional signature of the video, you can predict how it will perform once it is released.  

 Key Takeaways 

  • A visible ad does not mean the ad is being seen. 

  • For better brand recognition, connect your logo to the ad’s most engaging element. 

  • Evaluating the emotion an ad provokes can increase effective communication. 

Read more about the insights that eye tracking can bring for advertising research, and how you can get started. 

Related content

Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to our stories about how people are using eye tracking and attention computing.