The attention economy is booming right now, with advertisers vying for new ways to cut through digital noise and create meaningful interactions in an increasingly competitive sphere. It’s a challenge that Heinken-owned Spanish lager brand Cruzcampo tackled head-on recently, using a new attention framework from Playground xyz.

Optimal Attention” builds on Playground’s proprietary Attention Time metric – the length of time, in seconds, that an ad is directly looked at - by linking seconds of attention to various changes in brand outcomes.

Eager to delve into the real-time impact of its inventory, Heineken’s Cruzcampo became the first global brand to harness Optimal Attention in a campaign earlier this year across a series of digital video ads on YouTube and Meta platforms.

Results showed that for their YouTube ads, Brand awareness occurred from a speedy 0.5 seconds into the ad and that creatives that sat above the Optimal Attention threshold performed 28% better in terms of brand awareness than those below it. Cruzcampo ads on Meta channels performed well, too, yielding a 20% spike in awareness when above the Optimal Attention benchmark – as early as 0.6 seconds in.

By identifying the lowest amount of Attention Time needed to deliver brand lift for each of its creative assets, Cruzcampo can target impactful inventory more efficiently. For example, with its creative performance on YouTube eclipsing the Optimal Attention benchmark by a massive 355%, the team could choose different YouTube creatives at a lower cost and greater reach (e.g. bumper ads instead of non-skip formats).

These findings for Heinken form part of a whitepaper from Playground xyz out this month. In the paper our researchers found that, on average, it takes 1.4 seconds of consumer attention to prompt a 10% lift in brand awareness. This compares to 1.6 seconds for consideration and 3.9 seconds for prompted recall.

However, like all stats expressed as averages, the data can hide some really fascinating insights and perhaps the most significant finding from the paper was just how much of a pivotal role creative has to play in changing the Optimal Attention required. In a massive 94% of ads analysed, the thresholds for Optimal Attention were significantly different depending on what creative was used and which platform the content appeared on. Results from the study’s neuroscience lab sessions (where we tracked memory encoding) further validated this finding.

Taken together with the Heineken campaign, these insights create a powerful call to arms for the industry, with the research clearly showing that not all attention seconds are created equally.

Brands can thereby drive real-world results and supercharge ROAS by understanding how different campaign variables – including creative execution, complexity of messaging, ad environment and preferred brand outcome – affect the required amount of attention.

The bottom line? As an industry we’re now very clear there's no ‘one size fits all’ approach to attention and that it really is a different journey for each brand. While this in theory creates more work up front to find out what your ‘Optimal Attention’ requirements are, the payoffs in terms of efficiencies across both media and creative means the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.