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ARF to Define Attention and Validate its Measurement

September 12 2022

In New York, trade body the Advertising Research Foundation has launched a new initiative called the ARF Attention Validation Project, which aims to 'inform the market' about the workings of different attention measurement solutions and the extent of their replicability and 'convergent validity'.

Scott McDonaldThe association, which has more than 400 members from advertisers, agencies, research firms and media tech specialists, unveiled the project during its Attention 2022 event in Brooklyn, NY, which is focused on 'moving attention metrics from the laboratory into field applications'. Initially an Advisory Group, comprising buyers of attention / emotion measurement solutions and independent experts in subjects including media measurement and cognitive psychology, will help to design and scope the project and decide on the questions to be posed to participating vendors.

In this second stage, companies offering attention and emotion measurement will be asked to analyze a common set of ad or program content, and the ARF will compare the results with those from classic lab-based neurometric measures. Its output will include a final report with best practice recommendations, proposed standards for adoption by auditing organizations such as the MRC, and a list of key questions to help buyers assess prospective vendors.

Three specific areas to be addressed are:

  1. Differing definitions of attention and emotion, their relationship to direct measures of neurometric response, and their validity as tools for creative evaluation and as predictors of market performance of ads or content
  2. The validity, reliability and replicability of synthetic measures of attention, based on AI and machine learning approaches, and
  3. The validity of attention measures (conventional or AI-based) for comparative evaluation of media as vehicles for ad placements.

ARF CEO and President Scott McDonald (pictured) comments: 'Recent years have seen increasing interest in direct measures of cognitive and emotional response to advertising. As a result, a number of new services have entered the marketplace with different approaches to the measurement of attention and/or emotional responses to ads. This excitement has caused some to push for incorporating these measures into next-generation currencies for media buying. But, we still don't know enough about the reliability and validity of these measures and their rightful application to advertising and media evaluation. It is the ARF's view that these discussions of attention-based currencies are premature in the absence of better information on the validity, reliability and predictive power of these measures. That's what this study seeks to address'.

Web site: www.thearf.org .

All articles 2006-22 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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