Privacy changes are forcing advertisers and publishers to test new ways to measure advertising effectiveness. One category of metrics gaining steam is attention. By assessing the probability that a media placement will drive attention, advertisers can optimize campaigns, and publishers can better monetize high-quality inventory.

But better performance isn’t the only reason advertisers and publishers should consider attention metrics. They also yield positive knock-on effects for the entire ecosystem. Here are five.

1. Incentivizing higher-quality content

Attention metrics create positive incentives for publishers by rewarding them for high-quality media environments where audiences will notice ads.

A publisher that doesn’t stuff its pages with ads and provides high-quality reading or viewing experiences will garner higher attention scores. (This focus on media quality is why the New York Times recently announced its collaboration with Adelaide.)

Compare this to the current programmatic advertising ecosystem, where it’s hard to assess which impressions are actually driving attention. When buyers can’t discern quality differences, they go for the cheapest option. And that’s precisely the state of advertising: a race to the bottom that incentivizes made-for-advertising tactics.

On the contrary, attention metrics allow advertisers to confidently identify high-quality options, incentivizing publishers to create those options and fostering better consumer experiences.

2. Supporting smaller publishers

In addition to incentivizing higher quality, attention metrics level the publisher playing field.

When information on placement quality is inaccessible, large sellers can win on influence and relationships. Opacity results in a lemon market where buyers have nothing to chase but low prices, allowing low-quality products to win.

But when brands use attention metrics to evaluate publishers objectively, they don’t need to decide solely on prices or brand recognition. They can discern actual quality differences and choose to pay more for greater impact, ignoring cheaper, low-impact options and brands that offer dubious impact but win on familiarity.

3. Eliminating unnecessary intermediaries

When buyers don’t have reliable media quality metrics and feel they can’t trust the sell side on pricing, there’s more friction in the market, benefiting intermediaries.

Buyers pass the buck to agencies and adtech companies, even if it means forking over a high margin and disempowering themselves. Worse, a lack of transparency incentivizes middlemen to inflate their margins.

But with access to metrics that accurately reflect media value, buyers don’t need to rely on intermediaries. Fewer parties in the advertising supply chain means advertisers get more media for each dollar, and publishers keep as much revenue as possible.

4. Protecting consumer privacy

With cookie-based attribution, advertisers and publishers must invade people’s privacy to see exactly which behaviors their ads influenced. Attention metrics allow buyers and sellers to short-circuit this form of attribution.

Rather than tracking people, attention metrics generate results by evaluating media quality upfront. Advertisers can leverage these insights to make smart investments and improve performance without tracking individual users to facilitate or measure it.

5. Lowering carbon emissions

Juicing impressions is the name of the game for low-quality properties like made-for-advertising sites. An unfortunate byproduct of these sites (besides fraudulent performance) is the carbon needed to power them.

With attention metrics, brands can pay more for fewer, higher-quality impressions, and ad-stuffed MFA environments suffer. As a result, emissions decrease, too.

For this campaign, Adelaide and Scope3 found that attention-optimized media generated 14% fewer total emissions than viewability-optimized placements.

Media quality based on attention metrics: performant and positive for the ecosystem

Attention metrics bring business benefits up and down the funnel. In fact, Adelaide’s annual analysis of 45 case studies found that advertisers saw an average 40% upper-funnel lift, 53% lower-funnel lift, and 37% cost savings when leveraging Adelaide’s AU metric.

But attention metrics also replace the black-hat incentives of programmatic audience-based targeting with positive incentives for media buyers and sellers. Advertisers generate better outcomes, publishers generate more revenue, and everyone else in the supply chain is incentivized to prove their value and support high-quality media.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And when it comes to media quality, attention metrics are a ray of light.