Disney, BuzzFeed, TrueX and Xandr Team Up to Help TV Marketers Drive Consumer Attention

New research aims to build more strategic and effective campaigns

a group of people watching tv
Having great creative is not enough to keep consumers engaged, according to new research from Disney Ad Sales, Xandr, BuzzFeed and TrueX. Getty Images
Headshot of Jason Lynch

As marketers are having a harder time than ever getting their messaging to consumers in the Peak TV landscape, several publishers have teamed up to help them drive consumer attention.

Disney Advertising Sales worked with video ad-tech firm TrueX (which Disney sold to mobile and location ad-tech company Gimbal on Monday), BuzzFeed and AT&T’s Xandr on a new white paper to discuss how advertisers can use attention to learn more about consumer behavior across ad units, ad lengths, audience segments and overall campaign planning.

“As consumer behavior continues to evolve, we must understand how people engage with our media to create products and ad experiences that benefit customers and advertisers alike,” said Chris Barton, executive director of advertiser insights at Disney Advertising Sales, told Adweek. “Attention is the foundation of good advertising, and the learnings that we’re sharing in collaboration with BuzzFeed, Rovio, TrueX and Xandr can be used to build more strategic and effective campaigns.”

In this environment, “advertisers need to think about their ad campaigns beyond just the individual aspects of targeting, creative and ad units. By bringing the focus to consumer attention, publishers and advertisers can better partner to create campaigns that make a real impact on our audience,” said Ken Blom, svp of ad strategy and partnerships at BuzzFeed.

Focusing on ad units, BuzzFeed’s audience research showed that ads in its online show content help consumers make purchase decisions. The branded integrations needed to drive brand messaging while feeling organic to viewers.

TrueX, meanwhile, found that giving viewers the option to opt in with brands significantly increases attention and impact.

As for ad length, Disney tested the viewer impact of 6-, 15- and 30-second spots on various ESPN platforms, and found that 6-second ads can be just as, or more, effective than longer formats on TV and digital. Advertisers who tailor creative to the shorter format can drive better attention and ad engagement.

On the audience segment front, Disney research determined that consumers ages 18-24 preferred 6-second spots, while those above 55 were more impacted by 15-second spots. And a RevJet study found that younger consumers are 80% more likely to buy items on their smartphones, which is something that advertisers should keep in mind.

As for overall campaign planning, Xandr’s research found that most participants genuinely enjoy ads that are for something they are interested in, make them laugh or provide them with new information. Ads should go beyond simply conveying a message to evoke emotion or influence viewers to take action.

“Earning attention through relevance matters. Our studies have shown that ads that represent something the consumer is interested in perform nearly 75% better than non-targeted ads,” said Elsa Blumberg, vp of product marketing, media and market research/analysis at Xandr.

The white paper, titled Driving Attention: Good Creative Is Not Enough, left marketers with five tips to consider:

  • Context matters, so messaging should be tailored to the editorial environment and audience.
  • Use several different creative executions and ad lengths for a test-and-learn approach and create benchmarks.
  • Understand their audience and what inspires them to deliver creative that speaks to them in their own language.
  • Because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to platform or audiences, they should think about each campaign individually, and establish specific KPIs at the start.
  • Embrace different ways to measure consumer attention for the long-term health of their business and the industry overall.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.