2022 is the year of attention because it has to be!

There are plenty of ‘pull’ factors. The evidence of the efficacy of attention data as a means of driving up sales and driving down wastage is coming in thick and fast from the likes of Dentsu, Ozone and TVision. Smart marketers are being drawn to attention as the ‘active ingredient’ of advertising.

But there is also an important ‘push’ factor. The cookie will die in 2022. In a sense, it is already dead: Apple has been blocking third party cookies for some time now, and Android will follow shortly. The UK ICO is taking a decidedly dim view on the various ad tech work arounds. The US Congress is about to debate a bill outlawing ‘surveillance marketing’. The era of tracking users without their knowledge or consent to build targeting segments for advertising companies is coming to an end. Contextual targeting tools (like attention data) are about to become the new normal.

This is why Attention@MAD//Fest is growing in size, and scale, and ambition. Last year’s focus on attention was a only a one-day affair. It featured some brilliant talks from industry visionaries like Will Page, author of Tarzan Economics, or attention pioneers such as Sam Gaunt of GSK and Julia Burton-Brown of Inskin.

But as the interest and importance of the category has grown, so too will Attention@MAD//Fest's footprint at this year's show and why it will also be covered extensively in MAD//Fests new attention focused newsletter. This July Attention@MAD//Fest will be across two days, (6 + 7 July), and greater range of topics. We’ve split the themes into three:

·         The cost and value of attention

·         Getting and unfair share of attention

·         The ethics of attention

The first theme is around how the industry is operationalising attention data to drive revenue and profit. Brands, agencies, publishers and platforms are invited to come and present how they are using attention data to plan more effectively, measure more accurately and buy more efficiently. There will be a great line up of international agencies and advertisers who will to share their stories of how attention relates to performance and brand results.

The early adopters of attention data are making a killing: buying high-attention, low-cost media because they know something that other people don’t. But over time, this ‘attention arbitrage’ opportunity will close, and the market will become more economically rational. What then? How can I give my campaign the edge it needs to standout from the crowd?

This will be the second theme of the conference: talks from leading platforms and advertisers on how they are using attention data to optimize their creative, helping ads gain and hold attention more effectively. We’ll also hear from companies that are using emotional data to make an attentional difference.

People often talk of the ‘Attention Economy’ nowadays. Sometimes this is a value-neutral description of how advertising works. But, thanks to documentaries like The Social Dilemma, and the work of theorists like Shoshana Zuboff, it has also taken more sinister connotations. Are social network driving division to increase engagement - and viewable impressions? What is the role of advertisers (who are responsible to private shareholders) in funding quality journalism (which underpins our democracy)? What are the ‘ethics of attention’?

The final theme of Attention@MAD//Fest will bring to life these important issues. How can we resist the effects of the (negative) Attention Economy? What is ‘good’ attention and ‘bad’ attention? Why do we characterize it as Attention Deficit Disorder? We’ll hear from a range of writers and academics who are pushing the boundaries of attention research: theorists, philosophers, economists and psychologists who will help us understand the role of attention to advertising within a broader discussion of attention to anything.

Attention@MAD//Fest promises to be a genuinely eye opening event and you will want to be there!

There will be a great line up of international agencies and advertisers who are going to share their stories of how attention relates to performance and brand results. If you want to join them and provide an interesting case study or contribute to the the discussion then contact MAD//Fest's Director of Content, Luke Wilcox, at luke@madfestlondon.com