It’s time to pay attention to attention

It’s time to pay attention to attention

Our latest entry for the DMFA (Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association) newsletter is all about attention metrics and using them to attract the right audience for nonprofit fundraising. Using new metrics to optimize for upper-funnel prospecting can help improve campaigns and avoid wasted impressions.

We’ve all been there. We’ve launched a brand-new dynamic campaign optimized for donations or leads. The “results” are mixed at best: the clicks and impression numbers are rising, but concrete conversions are low, and revenue is stagnant. But there’s a lingering doubt in our minds. Is our audience really receiving our ads? Do people care about our message at all? Are the clicks real, or is every click from a bot? Are we wasting money optimizing for immediate conversions? What does “awareness” even mean anymore, anyway—is it a credible metric?

When it comes to ROI for campaigns, goals like awareness are becoming harder to assess. Fraudulent clicks and low viewability standards make ensuring quality impressions a challenge. Cookie-based lookalike modeling has become even less viable and more unreliable.

In short, tracking and attribution are tougher than ever—and can lead to more questions than answers.

As an agency, it’s our job to make sure that every dollar spent on digital marketing is aiding brand awareness, that every impression is a real impression, that each campaign builds genuine interest in an organization with new (real) prospects. And that’s where attention metrics come in.

Given this climate, we need new and different ways to target and optimize for mid- and upper-level donor prospecting. By optimizing for attention, we can make sure that ads are being delivered to the environments where they’re getting noticed and improve website metrics. Attention metrics also help us optimize for the most quality awareness—thus avoiding things like bot clicks and empty impressions. After all, reach and impressions only matter as long as they’re meaningful—and without a way to measure that meaning, it becomes harder to assign value to any campaigns or determine how effective they truly are.

Attention and emotion-based measurement is essentially a way to measure reactions to ads; how long they were watched or looked at for and how people reacted. Systems are now in place to measure not only genuine ad performance, but attention volume, uninterrupted attention, and inspired action as well.

Emotion-based measurement can determine how sad, happy, confused, or frustrated an ad made someone; it can determine empathy, recall, and fatigue as well.

Based on feedback from these platforms, agencies and companies can tailor creative and media placement strategies for specific audience segments and reach the right people, with the right messaging, at the right time, on the right platforms.

Attention measurement isn’t limited to programmatic digital—it’s penetrated the likes of Facebook, YouTube, OTT, and even audio as a reliable unit of measurement.

Your digital fundraising is only as good as your intelligence—and without the right information, you may find yourself in a vortex of uncertainty. Focusing on attention will help you build a digital program that attracts qualified prospects, avoid wasted clicks on junk impressions, and optimize for the right people on the right platforms and limit overspending.