The Attention Economy and How AI is Enforcing It

It's no secret that attention is a valuable commodity. In fact, it's been said that the "attention economy" is the new currency of the digital age. With so many distractions available online, it can be difficult to capture and retain people's attention. But with the help of AI, businesses are getting better at doing just that.

What is the Attention Economy?

The concept of attention economics was first coined by Herbert A. Simon, a psychologist and economist. He said "The wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it."

What he is saying is that in a world where there is so much information available, we attention is valuable. And businesses are starting to pay attention to this concept as well.

Why is Attention so Valuable?

It's scarce. There are only so many hours in the day, and we can only focus on so many things at once. With over 4,000 ads hitting us daily, the days of measuring advertising success by "views" or impressions is almost over.

A view is determined by the percentage of viewability, or whether the ad was actually seen by a human. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it was seen by the right person, or that they paid attention to it.

In order to be truly successful, businesses need to find ways to not only get their ads in front of people but also make sure those people are paying attention. Oftentimes, this means that advertisers are focusing on engagement as the key metric, but there is a lot that happens in between an ad viewer seeing the ad, piquing their interest, then actually engaging.

How AI is Enforcing the Attention Economy

With the help of AI, businesses can now better capture and retain people's attention.   AI can help to identify when people are paying attention to an ad and also track their engagement with it.

On the well-known side of advertising technology, AI can track ad viewability and allow you to optimize ads to have higher viewability, which will likely help to improve attention. View duration is a video metric that can be used in a roundabout way to improve the likelihood of ad-viewer interest.

On the extreme side, MoviePass recently announced that they are launching a program that will utilize AI to track user's eyes to ensure that they are paying attention to ads. Moviegoers will exchange their time and attention in exchange for discounts and free movie tickets. If the user doesn't watch the ad, it stops until you return. Imagine if all content required your trackable attention? Weyeld.

What Will the Future of The Attention Economy Look Like?

It's safe to say that AI is changing the advertising landscape and will continue to do so. As the attention economy grows, businesses will need to find ways to not only get their ads in front of people but also make sure those people are paying attention.

Advertisers may find success in testing or utilizing more integrated ad features, such as On-Stream. When a user is already paying attention to something, it is easier to present them with something while they are engaged.  This is the perfect time to introduce an ad that is less obtrusive and more relevant.

It's also worth noting that as the attention economy grows, so does the need for content moderation. With so much content being created and consumed, there will be a need for someone to help filter out what is valuable and what is not.  This is where AI can be extremely helpful in identifying and curating content.

All in all, the attention economy is here to stay and will only continue to grow. With the help of AI, businesses can better capture and retain people's attention.