‘Everyone complains about the weather, but no-one does anything about it’.

Mark Twain’s famous aphorism about the weather could just as easily be applied to consumers’ attention to advertising. Over the last few years, the issue of attention - and more precisely the lack of it - has loomed large in marketer’s minds. But now, thanks to Inskin and Lumen, you can do something about it.

We are all increasingly aware that attention is the essence of advertising. We are also profoundly aware that just because an ad is viewable doesn’t mean that it will get viewed, or viewed for very long, or viewed for long enough to make a difference.

But admitting that you have a problem is only half the story. In fact, it may be only the first of the twelve steps of Advertisers Anonymous. Yes, we have to admit that we were powerless to influence  the attention consumers paid to our advertising - and that our marketing had become unmanageable - but there are eleven more steps to go.

And Inskin, an innovative digital format owner, has led the way on this journey. Whenever you buy ads using their format, you will get an estimate of the attention that each ad impression is likely to have generated. This will allow you to understand which sites and locations are driving most attention for you, how much attention your campaign is generating as a whole, and how much it’s costing you to buy 1,000 seconds of attention (your aCPM).

It works like this. Data collected from Lumen’s eye-tracking panels in the UK and US is turned into a predictive model of attention. This model estimates how much attention an ad is likely to produce given a number of characteristics (such as size, location, time in view, scroll speed and, crucially, format).

This model is then deployed within a viewability tag that is appended to your creative. Every time an ad is served, it pings back information to a server that records where it was served on the page, how long it was in view, how quickly the user was scrolling and so on. We then apply the Lumen attention model to this information and make a prediction of how likely the user was to have looked at the ad, and if so, how long they looked for.

We call the system the Lumen Attention Measurement Platform (LAMP). A number of advertisers are now using the system to tag up their whole campaigns and understand which ads, formats and sites are generating the most amount of attention for their advertising.

What makes Inskin special is that they are the first format owner to offer this ‘attention audit’ for their inventory. This may be, of course, because they have such a good story to tell. Inskin ads do get a lot of attention, after all, and they earn that attention not just with eye-catching formats but with smart creative thinking and the inventive use of assets.

Inskin’s approach points the way to a brighter future for us all: dispelling the clouds of uncertainty and bringing daylight to the murkiness of digital advertising. It’s the sort of step Mark Twain - or whoever actually came up with the aphorism - would have approved of.