Conversation by Asa Aarons Smith

Success in anything in a digital experience is the slice-and-dice of the analytics. Without a call to action and metrics that really craft the user experience, we’re left with digital content without opportunity.

So it begs the question: Are impressions alone a valid measurement of digital success? We think you’d be hard-pressed to find a “yes” to that one.

So we asked in our latest Discussion Point.

The Question

Should CMOs give priority to attention over impressions?

The Answers

Eric Krattenstein, CMO, Mailify

eric krattenstein

Eric Krattenstein is the US CMO for Mailify, an email marketing app designed to help small businesses send email marketing campaigns. Formerly VP of Internet marketing for a digital agency in NYC, he specializes in helping businesses create and implement digital marketing strategies. Tweet to Eric Krattenstein.

Has the time come to prioritize attention over impressions? Yes, and this should not be news to CMOs. The digital and social climate of today’s marketing landscape allows for a plethora of behavioral and conversion tracking, and an impression without attention is an impression without action. This begs the question: Why care about impressions when you should be caring about attention and actions?  

As marketers, especially digital marketers with a limited budget, the goal is action. The traditional marketing concept of simply putting eyeballs on a product no longer allows us to optimize our digital marketing processes resulting in revenue.

In today’s marketing world, you’re competing with every single piece of information, including entertainment. We see it all the time with our email marketing clients. A high open rate (impressions) is great, but what really counts are the clicks or recipients that are paying attention. Our users prove time and time again that a small list of highly engaged email recipients that are paying attention is undeniably more powerful than a larger list of passive or disinterested contacts.

The market for consumer attention (or “eyeballs”) has become so competitive that attention can be regarded as a currency. As the value of attention rises, marketers need to become better managers of attention.

Kaveh Rostampor, Exec. Director, Meltwater

kaveh rostampor

Rostampor is the executive director of Meltwater’s Americas division. He oversees operations, client acquisition, enterprise sales and marketing for 14 offices in North and South America. Rostampor has worked in various management positions in Scandinavia and the US, where he helped grow the business in several new markets. He has also helped build out Meltwater’s renewal and global client success business. Tweet to Kaveh Rostampor. 

Many Meltwater users express their frustration for being judged only against impressions. They know that their work is making a greater impact, but they have a hard time proving it. This is also an issue for publishers and journalists who seem to resent measuring their success by impressions.

It’s not that impressions are useless. They measure opportunity, but not quality. CMOs, like publishers and journalists, should be measuring both page impressions and attention or what marketers call awareness. We believe that attention or awareness metrics have shifted the way marketers and communicators are evaluating their success. Executives appreciate awareness metrics. It gives them tangible results to work with.

Brian Rigney, CEO, Zmags

brian rigney

Rigney has more than 20 years’ experience leading entrepreneurial teams in launching new businesses and bringing new products to market. Tweet to Brian Rigney.

Consumers spend more and more time online, and marketers have responded by generating more and more content in pursuit of a page impression, which all too often is the short-term aim of any given campaign.

Modern marketers realize that measuring the success of their online endeavors is less about if people visit a website and far more about how long they visit and what they do during that visit. It isn’t about measuring clicks. It is about measuring attention -- the time people spend with digital experiences and the ways they interact with them.

Measuring that attention and providing a basis for optimization is the tricky part. In practice, there are a few moving parts:

  1. Time Spent. How long does a consumer spend on your digital experience? The first 10 seconds are critical; how does that figure drop away after 20 seconds … 30 seconds? The first minute? Standard analytics will tell you this. They won’t, however, tell you how to improve the time spent. That is where marketers truly earn their (creative) keep.
  2. Actions. How are consumers engaging? Are they just staying in one spot, or are they moving around your site? How do their actions change over time during a visit? This requires measuring “signs of life” — the clicks, scrolls, mouse movements, page views, etc. that people perform on or around an experience in a specified period of time.
  3. Reactions. What did consumers think about the experience? What was the call to action? Have you converted them as loyal brand advocates or gained a new public critic? In this metric, marketers need to measure if their efforts are generating positive or negative attention for their brand through social listening.

Taken together, these three metrics and the interplay between them provide a useful measure of attention with critical focus points for improvement. The longer a consumer spends on your site -- softened, wowed and rewarded by great creative -- the more likely they are to move effortlessly to the checkout. Having the right insights and success metrics along every step of this path enables today’s marketers to rapidly fill any gaps where they may be losing people’s attention.