Have you heard of the Pirate Funnel? The funnel was developed by Dave McClure and called the Pirate Funnel because the first letters spell out AAARRR for Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue.

The 6 metrics of the Pirate Funnel: AAARRR

  • Awareness – How many people do you reach?
  • Acquisition – How many people visit your website?
  • Activation – How many people take the first important step? (E.g., Sign-up, install an app or post their first comment)
  • Retention – How many people come back for a second/third/tenth time?
  • Revenue – How many people start paying? And how much do they pay?
  • Referral – How many people refer friends to your business?

If you use Pirate metrics framework A3R3, consider adding one more “A”- Attention. AAAARRR — roaring for attention!

Attention, Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue — is a complete customer lifecycle in numbers.

Attention precedes awareness, so it is important to put it first in the funnel. It is a sieve through which each impression, view, play, click, or scroll adds up to persistent awareness. Awareness is the first stage that your customers discover you and know that you exist. Attention reflects intention and Awareness is the backdrop; it provides the context for our experience.  Awareness is passive while attention is active.

There has been an ongoing discussion on current methods to measure the effectiveness of digital advertising. During the last decade, viewability has been the standard to measure the quality of impressions and in recent times pointers direct that the focus should be on attention.

The problem with viewability is that all impressions are equal in weight where quality of attention is not considered. Although this has given the digital industry a benchmark for what brands should be paying for, it has compromised on consumer experience. There is a market for audience attention. Consumer attention is valuable to marketers. In 1997, Michael H. Goldhaber wrote that the global economy is shifting from a material-based economy to one based on the capacity of human attention. Many services online are offered for free. In the Attention Economy, attention is a currency – users pay for a service with their attention. Teads collaborated with Dentsu to study the ‘Attention Economy’. Attention data was collected from a mobile panel of 3,005 users in the UK and US, along with a control group of 801 users, to measure the impact of attention on branding KPIs.

The study found that attention is three times better at predicting outcomes than viewability, while showing that viewability alone is not enough to measure the effectiveness of ads. Interestingly, the study also pointed out that some drivers of viewability, such as format size and position on the page, can have a negative impact on attention level. Furthermore, earned attention is far more effective at delivering results than when attention has been acquired by force. When consumers voluntarily view an ad, there is a significantly higher impact on brand metrics than ads that have been forced upon them. This is something to think about if you are running forced view or non-skippable ads.

The ideal attention metric embraces three core elements:

  • Longevity — how long the customer interacted with your experience (average session duration; average time on a page; video watch time; average video view duration, inactive time, etc.).
  • Activity — how the user interacted with your experience within a specified period (user heatmap, clicks, hovers over specific elements, scroll position, scroll rate, etc.).
  • Engagement — what the customer thinks and feels about your experience (reactions on social media, user feedback, recommendations, reviews, user-generated content, etc.).

Creative is intrinsic in driving attention metrics. In the digital industry, we are aware of the impact good creative has on advertising effectiveness. This goes further in enhancing attention.

According to Adelaide Metrics Inc., “Attention metrics calculate the likelihood of attention paid to an ad placement. They offer a multi-dimensional perspective, integrating myriad measurements into cohesive, research backed, and fast-moving quality ratings. These ratings can help marketers optimize their campaigns in near-real-time, adjusting spend based on the value of media instead of hygienic scores.” Attention metrics refer to data points used to model consumer attention to both media placements and creative.

At this juncture, it is exceedingly important to examine creative options such as Social Display and Interactive Rich Media. Social Display ads are recreations of social media posts delivered in banners. Social Display ads combine social content with programmatic efficiencies. From experience, Spaceback ads deliver at least 5x more engagement than regular display banners. In programmatic, we can incorporate attention-based custom-bidding algorithms to optimize for attention metrics.

To sum up, brand attention is the extent to which people can detect, engage, and react to your digital experience. Attention metrics embrace three core elements: Longevity, Activity, and Engagement. Consolidated into measurable attention metrics that matters, they will indicate how good an ad is in grabbing and holding audience attention.