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So you’ve tweaked every word in your ads, split tested possible placement options, tapped into influencers and even invested serious cash into competitive keywords. You’ve taken the time to integrate analytics to make it easy to track the progress of your efforts.

It’s time to go live.

Fast forward and you’re checking out your data. This is awesome! Impressions are through the roof.

But wait a minute.

Conversion rates are still stagnant. Your email lists aren’t seeing any more love than usual. You’ve covered every angle you could think of and any guru would call your campaign a beautiful thing.

What’s missing? Engagement.

These days, it takes far more than keyword research and proper placement to ensure marketing success.

Yet, you still find blogs and articles touting the importance of impressions. What’s far more important is attention. Without your audience’s attention, impressions are empty and useless.

Big businesses are noticing this trend too. A great example is the recent ad-meets-tribute video from Arby’s. On one side, it said goodbye to a pop culture icon—Jon Stewart. On the other, it served the brand image and their tongue-in-cheek style of humor up to audiences in a way generated results.

They didn’t just show customers an advertisement; they pulled them in, offered a story, related to their interests and captured their attention.

What is a View Worth?

social media impressionsThe problem with gauging marketing success using impressions is that the measurement gives no idea what occurred after the ad was displayed.

You might see in your reports that an ad racked up 500,000 impressions. This counts the number of times the ad was displayed. This doesn’t mean 500,000 people viewed the ad at all.

Many of them probably clicked away to something else while the video played or the timer counted down. Others simply scrolled past and ignored it.

TV advertising faces a similar issue. While Nielsen ratings can indicate what shows people are watching, the advertising space scattered throughout is an analytics black hole. Although it’s hard to pin down numbers, you can relate to jumping up and grabbing a snack or checking your social media the moment the commercials start yourself. Watching a show has zero relevance when considering ad views.

Online viewers are no different. If you hope to achieve significant results in your advertising campaigns, you have to be sure that your ads are not seen as a snack break. You need to excited viewers, drive their behaviors and captivate their attention.

Three Tips for Capturing Your Audience’s Attention

The example from Arby’s above offers simple ways you can optimize your campaigns to be attention grabbers instead of impression farms.

  1. Follow Trends. Sure—Arby’s might have wanted to pay tribute to Jon Stewart. But they were also using the opportunity to ride the wave of buzz generated by his departure. Just the topic alone primed the ad to generate added buzz, create conversations and place the brand in front audiences without over promotion or sales-y tactics.
  2. Use Multiple Platforms. Most of what Arby’s did was stellar. But they missed one key opportunity in their effort. They created a golden opportunity to take the trend online and didn’t act. Producing video content for YouTube and other online streaming hubs is magnitudes cheaper than TV ads and would offer other entry points into the sales funnel created by the campaign.
  3. Be Yourself. Everything about the video spot oozed with the voice and tone of Arby’s. The self-deprecating jokes and witty banter kept the ad consistent with both the audience of Jon Stewart and Arby’s. This created a convergence of interests that pushed the ad every further into the memories of viewers. When you can align trends and brand image in this way, you create a powerful experience.

Your Turn

Switching your focus from impressions to attention pays off for everyone. You build a better connection with your audience and they are more likely to follow through to your desired action.

Do you feel that current marketing trends emphasize impressions too much? How do you determine the attention potential of your marketing efforts? Did this article spark any new ideas for ways to draw your viewers’ attention? Let us know in the comments below!

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