Mobile Mastery: Four Key Drivers of Attention

In today’s mobile advertising landscape, tracking impressions and reach isn’t enough. Capturing the attention of consumers by creating an engaging mobile ad experience is the priority.

However, capturing consumer attention is easier said than done. People are using their mobile devices more than ever before, but their attention continues to dwindle.

Mastering attention-based advertising is the best way to ensure your mobile ads stand out against the rest. Read on for a deeper dive on the four key drivers of attention, so you can be on your way to mobile mastery.

Competing For Consumer Attention

The mobile web is a top attention-driving channel. In fact, the experts at eMarketer reported that mobile advertising is by far the preferred destination for digital ad spending in the U.S. On average, businesses spend almost 68% of their digital advertising budget on mobile and this trend will continue for years to come.

However, many mobile ad campaigns fail to capture consumer attention. Viewability is no doubt important because it gives marketers the base knowledge that their message can be seen by consumers and measures the number of times their ad is visible to users. What it doesn’t address is the attention the consumer is paying to the actual content.

Just because an ad is viewable and takes up ample screen real estate doesn’t mean it will be actively viewed by consumers. One joint study conducted by Lumen found that only 18% of viewable digital ads actually get looked at. This is why to truly master mobile advertising, brands must understand the basics of the attention economy.

ONLY 18% of viewable digital ads actually get looked at

Attention Advertising 101

Consumers see thousands of ads a day across different channels. It would be impossible to engage with every ad they see, so they don’t. They have become experts at ignoring the irrelevant so they can give selective attention to what they see as important - or what breaks through the noise to capture their attention.

Attention is a new currency for advertisers. Ensuring consumers not only view ads, but actually absorb the messaging leads to other outcomes such as conversions and sales. Attention analytics can also empower marketers to optimize their outcome-based media buying. Rather than purchasing media on impressions or reach, marketers can make a buy based on the attention an ad campaign generates. This is often calculated as attentive seconds per 1,000 impressions.

Capitalizing on the attention economy starts with understanding the four key drivers of attention.

Four Key Drivers of Attention

Attention is tangible. Attention-based metrics can calculate the likelihood a consumer will respond to an ad. Advertisers can use these analytics to connect with consumers and enhance the performance of their campaigns.

Rather than spending money on campaigns and ad placements with the potential to be viewed, attention advertising focuses on creating and placing ads consumers can and want to engage with.

Here are four key drivers of attention to consider in today’s attention economy.


It likely comes as no surprise that larger mobile ads are more likely to win attention. A small banner ad at the top of the screen is easily overlooked when compared to a full-screen ad. Additionally, a dynamic video format is more eye-catching than a static image.

When it comes to attention advertising, the first thing marketers should consider is screen real estate. This is the average percentage of pixels that the ad fills on the user’s screen.

Advertisers often choose between different ad formats. Mid-page units (MPUs) are a popular form of banner ads that is 300 pixels wide and 250 pixels high. This type of banner ad usually appears on either side of a webpage, and, as the name suggests, mid-page.

These types of ads have the potential to capture consumer attention as they scroll, but viewers are likely to be engaging with the surrounding content instead of the advertising. Whereas full-page ads are virtually unmissable.

Full-Screen Interscroller Ads

The appearance of a sudden static, full-screen ad can be jarring on a web page. Interscroller ads, however, capitalize on size without drastically disrupting the consumer’s mobile experience. These ads reveal the ad content as the reader scrolls down the visited page. When the user scrolls to reveal 85% of the placement, it can snap to take over the entire screen.

The user can opt-out of the screen simply by scrolling to dismiss the ad, but a consumer is more likely to engage with it because it takes up the entire screen – especially if the creative is well designed and compelling.


Similarly, it makes sense that the longer an ad is in view, the more likely it is to be seen by consumers. Research from Microsoft found that today’s consumer attention span is only eight seconds. However, the same Lumen study as previously mentioned found that the average engagement with a digital ad is only 1.2 seconds, across both static and video formats.

In the attention economy, advertisers have little over a second to capture a consumer’s already short attention span.

the average engagement with a digital ad is only 1.2 seconds

Not only does the time an ad is in view matter, but so does attentive time. Again, just because an ad is in view for a certain amount of seconds doesn’t mean a consumer is paying attention to it. Eye tracking technology is a great way to measure this important attention metric, also known as eyes-on view time.

Attention advertising focuses on making the most of consumer attention span by designing creative campaigns and ensuring they take up the right amount of space and time.


Context is key when it comes to media planning, but is especially important for mobile advertising.

An advertiser can place hundreds of ads across different websites, but if they’re not relevant to the brand, they won’t perform well. They must be strategic about placing ads on pages or within articles that make sense. For instance, an ad for athletic shoes would perform better on a news article about running rather than on a blog about home renovations.

In a broader sense, it’s also important to meet consumers where they are more likely to engage with ads. An MPU on The Times would garner much more attention than one served on eBay. Simply put, consumers are more willing to engage with ads on a trusted news source while they scroll than while they’re navigating through the wild west of online shopping space.


Finally, we can’t overlook possibly the most important driver of attention: the creative. An advertiser can craft a perfect media strategy, but without strong creative, the ad is unlikely to make a big impact.

With size, time, and context in mind, it’s essential to invest in cutting-edge creative to stand out against other ads. Video or moving ads are often more engaging than a static image. With advancements in technology, advertisers can also utilize augmented reality, virtual reality, gamification, and other interactive elements to get a user’s attention.

By focusing on all four drivers of attention, advertisers can enhance how consumers interact with mobile ads.

Tale of Two Brands

When brands take an attention-based approach to mobile advertising, they see results.

In a small-scale study with Lumen Research, MOBKOI found how attention advertising with these best practices in mind benefitted a Luxury Retailer and a Multinational Energy Company.

Lumen uses eye tracking to understand the reality of attention to advertising across media. Lumen eye tracking works by logging eye movement and periods of “fixation” to create a consistent measurement of consumer attention and campaign results.

By utilizing eye-tracking and surveying of opted-in panel participants, Lumen evaluated how much attention and brand recall Mobkoi formats generated for these brands and how performance compared to benchmarks.

Here are the results.

Unmissable Ads Increase Eyes-On View Time

Mobkoi’s approach to mobile advertising keeps the four drivers of attention in mind. The mobile ads Mobkoi created for these brands were integrated within contextually targeted articles and took over the entire screen. The ads for the Luxury Retailer and Multinational Energy Company were unmissable and were available to be seen for at least 5.4 seconds.

With Mobkoi’s full-screen ads, the Luxury Retailer and Multinational Energy Company both had a majority of individuals view their ads for at least 1 second. That’s 2.4 - 3x more than the norm for a standard mobile display ad.

That’s 2.4 - 3x more than the norm for a
standard mobile display ad.

Mobkoi mobile ads take over a larger percentage of screen real estate, so there is less chance of viewers being engaged with anything else while the ad is in view. With a focus on size and time, both creatives kept viewers interested for nearly double what would be expected from an outstream video or mobile display ad.

Premium Mobile Formats Raise Brand Awareness

Both brands achieved significantly higher recall scores than the norm with Mobkoi mobile ads. The Multinational Energy Company even generated brand recall amongst individuals who were not aware of the brand before the study.

When consumers are able to recall a brand after viewing an ad, we know it captured their attention. Within brand recall, there are two categories:

Spontaneous brand recall is the ability of a respondent in advertising research to remember without the prompt of any audio or visual stimuli.
Prompted brand recall is the ability of a respondent in advertising research to remember when prompted with audio or visual stimuli.

Brand recall is the best way to validate attention measurement. Both types of recall are good news for brands, but spontaneous brand recall is the most impactful.

With Mobkoi mobile ads, the Multinational Energy Company experienced 2.7x better spontaneous recall when compared to traditional mobile ad displays. The Luxury Retailer performed even better, with 3.5x the average spontaneous recall.

Prompted recall results were even more promising. The Multinational Energy Company and Luxury Retailer outperformed mobile display norms by 2.5x and 4.2x respectively.

These results show how Mobkoi formats are extremely effective at raising brand awareness across industries.

Compelling Creative Improves Brand Lift

The Mobkoi formats also minimized noticeable levels of spontaneous or prompted brand misattribution to competitors. Mobkoi ads focused on engaging creative, with the Luxury Retailer emphasizing imagery rather than text to capture consumers attention for longer.

By using a mix of compelling creative, sizing, and contextual alignment, Mobkoi formats advertised the two brands very effectively. This contributed to an improved brand lift. Rather than focusing on traditional metrics such as clicks or views, brand lift is an attention metric that measures an ads’ impact on the perception of the brand.

The combination of longer active viewing and enhanced brand recall make it clear these ads were effective at connecting with consumers.

Master Attention Advertising with Mobkoi

It’s clear that premium mobile formats that focus on attention metrics are top performers – even compared to ads in other channels, such as social media. When it comes to attentive seconds per 1,000 impressions, Mobkoi’s full-screen formats significantly outperformed Facebook mobile infeed ads, Instagram mobile infeed, and Outstream video mobile norm.

Attention measurement of MOBKOI ads vs ads in other channels

With these insights in mind, marketers should consider the attention-driving potential of the mobile web before shifting more budget into other channels. While it’s undeniable that social media can help brands reach a wider audience, it’s still difficult to capture the attention of users as they mindlessly scroll through their newsfeed. Investing in premium ads on the mobile web is a sure-fire way to reach consumers in engaging environments where they are reading articles or searching for information.

With a firm understanding of attention drivers, cutting-edge creative, and granular reporting, Mobkoi has the trifecta needed to help brands master attention advertising.

Make your mobile ads stand out and capitalize on the attention economy with MOBKOI.

Get in touch with the team today to learn more about how our
approach to attention advertising works.