Lumen in WARC: What is the true cost of advertising attention?

How many desktop display ads is one TV ad worth?
The answer is: about 40.
You’d need to buy about 40 desktop display ads to generate the same level of attention as you get from an average 30 second TV ad.
But are desktop ads 40x cheaper than TV ads? How much are you actually paying to ‘buy attention’ across different media?
That’s the topic of a new article in WARC, the leading advertising research journal, combining attention data from Lumen and TVision, and media costing information from Ebiquity.
Comparing ads across different media is like comparing apples to pears. All the ads are valuable, but in different ways. Data from Lumen and TVision provides a common ‘attention currency’ to compare like with like.
You can then combine this ‘attention currency’ with actual currency – pounds, dollars and yen – provided by media auditors Ebiquity to understand the ‘cost of attention’ across media. It allows you to go from calculating a ‘cost per thousand impressions’ (‘CPM’) to a ‘cost per thousand seconds of attention’ (‘aCPM’).
The results are fascinating. ‘Expensive’ media, like TV, turn out to be a bit of a bargain in terms of generating attention. ‘Cheap’ media, like desktop display, turns out to be a false economy: the CPMs are low but the attention it generates lower still.

A wise man once said, it doesn’t matter how many impressions you buy, it’s the impression you make that counts. When you look at the cost of buying 000 attentive seconds (aCPM), the true value – and the true cost – of advertising is revealed.
If you have a subscription to WARC you can read the full article here. Otherwise, click the download button below to download the full slide deck and explanation.