Eye-tracking technology proves TV ads more effective than social ads

Longer adverts on linear television and BVOD provide a significantly longer window of active attention from viewers compared to equivalent length ads on social platforms, an advanced study into attention to advertising in Australia has found.

The scientific study by attention measurement company Amplified Intelligence and commissioned by Nine, used cutting-edge eye-tracking technology in 200 households to capture the real attention they were – or weren’t – paying to their screens, across Nine’s linear channels, 9Now on Connected Televisions (CTV) and 9Now on mobile.

The study collected and analysed 11,500 viewing occasions from across Nine’s news, reality and lifestyle programming at various times of the day. It measured three levels of attention – active (looking directly at the ad), passive (in the room but not looking at ad) and non-attention across Nine’s programming, advertising, integration and promotional content.

It looked at the length of time viewers paid attention, whether the length of an advertisement affected attention and how attention levels changed by time of day.

The eye-tracking technology – which captures where the human eye is looking five times every second – was used to map how many seconds of active attention was paid to 15- and 30-second adverts during Nine-screened content. The research found 9Now on mobile achieved the highest level of active attention.

Amplified Intelligence has also previously released a data collection into active attention of ads on Meta’s platforms. A 30-second 9Now ad on mobile attracts on average an astounding 21.1 seconds of active attention, almost four times longer than Meta’s best performing video ad format [using identical methodology].

But not all active attention seconds are equal. Amplified Intelligence have previously shared it takes three seconds of active attention to an ad to access memory, and for every additional second, that brand lasts in memory for a further three days.

The research also looked at the Short Term Advertising Strength (STAS) – which compares purchase after ad exposure with purchase after no ad exposure – finding a bigger uplift in brand choice from those exposed to television or BVOD, than those exposed to social ads.

Based on the author of the study and CEO of Amplified Intelligence, Dr Karen Nelson-Field’s work and the results, the research found Nine’s video assets are three-to-four times more effective in delivering a short term sales impact over Facebook, rising to a massive six times more effective on CTV.*

Nelson-Field, said: “Nine’s Linear TV and 9Now deliver long periods of active attention for advertisers. Based on the link between attention and memory, this keeps brands in consumers’ minds for longer.”

Liana Dubios, Nine’s director of Powered, said the research shows the power of television and BVOD of being able to place brands front and centre in viewers’ minds.

“Social media sounds seductive but total television is where brands influence sales, and we have the numbers to prove it,” she said. “When it comes to attention, more is more. A longer period of sustained attention delivers demonstrably better business results and that’s why our clients will continue to seek our premium inventory, where more Australians are quite simply, actively engaged.”

We are also delighted that the Seven Network is following our lead and implementing a study with Amplified Intelligence. This is a time for collaboration, where television comes together to once again prove its power and influence on consumer purchase behaviour as a direct result of active attention.”

*Think TV established a benchmark in 2017 using Amplified Intelligence to arrive at a core STAS of 144 for linear TV and 161 for BVOD. Using the same methodology and independent research, Nine in 2021 is proven to deliver 166 for linear TV and 170 for BVOD.


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