How to Use TV Attention Data to Increase ROI

By Tristan Webster

Despite the tremendous growth of digital marketing over the past decade, television remains a medium of choice for many advertisers—including financial services.

With its wide-reaching audiences, television gives banks a tremendous opportunity to reach potential customers and drive upper-funnel metrics. According to a recent Magna Global report, financial services brands still spend 25 percent of their budgets on television.

But for all that television brings to the table, consumer banking brands have historically lacked crucial data on whether their TV advertising is really making an impression on viewers. Sure, they have a rough estimate of how many people “tuned in” to a show they advertised on—as well as a broad demographic outline of that audience. But how accurate is this data? When it comes to insight into how a given audience responded—or even whether they actually saw the ad at all—TV has lagged far behind digital channels.

Recently, some financial services brands have begun to close this gap by using attention data to better measure their TV advertising.

Attention data providers use a variety of methods, from simply tracking channel changes to using computer vision technology to passively measure whether opt-in panelists are in the room and looking at the screen when a given commercial or program is on TV. When broken down on a second-by-second basis, this data can provide a host of valuable insights into which ads, shows and creative elements are resonating with target audience.

With this information in hand, banks can enhance their creative messaging, find new, engaged audiences and more accurately assess the value of their sponsorships.

Finding highly engaged audiences.

One of the biggest benefits of eyes-on-screen data is that it allows brands to buy TV ads based on the likelihood that viewers will be looking at the screen when the commercial airs. After all, if you buy an ad during a popular TV show, but everyone is out of the room grabbing a snack when it airs, you won’t end up getting your message across.

With passively-collected attention data, bank brands can seek out the most engaged audiences and buy ads during those programs. When a show has a small, but highly engaged audience, brands can often find highly valuable TV ad space and make the most of their advertising dollars.

Applying attention data to creative decisions.

By understanding which ads—and even which parts of an ad—resonate with a given audience, bank brands are able to craft creative messaging that’s increasingly more effective.

For instance, eyes-on-screen data shows that in a recent Discover Card ad, attention spiked during a dramatic moment in which the ad’s protagonist realized that she had accidentally dialed an ex. Smartly, Discover introduced its branding just after this attention peak, taking advantage of the maximum level of eyes-on-screen. For future campaigns, the brand can use these insights to infuse its ads with a similar dramatic element of surprise.

Attention data tells brands when their sponsorships are really worth it.

Many financial services companies invest heavily in major sponsorships of big tentpole programming—sports leagues, big games, award shows and other live events.

For example, this past summer, Mastercard was a sponsor of the MLB All-Star weekend. According to attention data gleaned during the programming, viewers of the MLB All-Star Game and Home Run Derby paid 32 percent more attention to ads for the weekend’s official sponsors—which also included T-Mobile, Chevrolet and Lincoln—than to other brands that advertised during the events.

Crucial information leads to better results.                

For financial services brands advertising on television, TV attention data can provide the deep behavioral insights that advertisers have come to expect from digital marketing—and use them to drive top-of-funnel metrics. With these two components combined, financial services brands are making their media investments more efficient and effective.

Tristan Webster is VP of Client Solutions at TVision, a company that measures how people actually watch TV, providing advertisers, agencies and television networks with the second-by-second data required to understand the effectiveness of television advertising and programming.