With ever-growing levels of content to consume, it’s becoming increasingly important to stand out from the crowd in order to engage consumers, to attract and maintain their attention. Creative marketing agency Energize and the VU University Amsterdam recently published their research into the phenomenon, investigating ‘attention triggers’; scientifically proven tools which can be used to grow the amount of attention people are willing to give to an advertisement.
Their study first investigated literature in order to identify six triggers which can influence the attention of consumers:
- Generating emotion:
- Humour is one of the most effective ways to gain attention, but admiration and more complex emotions can also be triggers.
- Making customers’ lives easier:
- Offering a solution to a problem or a new way to do something will get people’s attention. I imagine everyone has seen the TikTok tortilla wrap hack by now, if not, it’s pretty lifechanging!
- Showing them something new:
- Innovation will have the added benefit of gaining both unconscious and conscious attention.
- Making a customer feel included:
- Giving consumers a social group to engage with will increase their attention and retention.
- Showing your status:
- A way to differentiate yourself from competitors. This can be in the traditional hierarchy sense or based on your strong moral and social values.
- Giving rewards:
- Everyone loves a freebie, discount, or bonus. But, effectiveness of this trigger depends on how interested your audience are in the offer and the perceived chance of winning.
These triggers were then initially presented to a pool of 1,000 Dutch consumers, asking them to review existing advertising campaigns, decide whether they enjoyed spending time looking at it; if it appealed to them; and even if they drifted off when looking at it.
Phase two built on these learnings, taking four versions of one campaign, adding and changing triggers to gauge the relative importance of each, in a smaller 400 sample. This research concluded that:
“…Rousing emotion was the most reliable way to gain consumers attention, particularly with humour. However, there was a big ‘watch out’, with non-authentic humour (which didn’t fit the style of the brand or audience tone) eliciting sceptical and even negative responses from the audience.”
All Response Media viewpoint
It’s vital to keep your target audience in mind when considering potential attention triggers, as your specific niche will value certain triggers over others. So, despite rousing emotion coming top in the study, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right attention trigger for every business.
All the triggers are valuable and can (and should) be used in combination in order to fit to your brand style, campaign objectives and audience interests. This will help to build a genuine and distinctive brand message that grabs consumers attention and keeps them coming back for more.
All Response Media’s proprietary ARMalytics® tool allows us to quantify the effectiveness and efficiency of different TV creatives against various KPIs. This aids our clients in homing in on their most responsive attention triggers to deliver their most productive campaigns – whatever their measure of success.
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