But their attention starts to drop after two seconds


person's hands typing on a laptop
Almost 100% of people are present for digital display ads.


More people are staying indoors and staring at their screens, but are those people still looking at their screens when an ad shows up?

According to a study from Magna, around 99% of people are present or within a viewable distance of their screen for at least one second when a video ad appears. But viewer presence declines over time, dipping below 94% after six seconds.

Digital advertising is approximately a $150 billion marketplace, so “every percentage point counts,” said Kara Manatt, Magna Global’s svp, group director, intelligence solutions.

As part of a viewability study, Magna examined the digital consumption habits of over 100 U.S. participants to measure whether people were actually in front of their computers and mobile devices. Magna ran a similar study in December that found 29% of TV ads aired to an empty room.

While the vast majority of participants were physically present, there’s still no guarantee they were actually paying attention.

“We were focused on one piece of viewability, which does not equal attention,” said Manatt. “It’s really the ad’s job to have an impact and garner attention.”

Some ad formats have a better chance of garnering attention than others. Pre-roll video ads have a presence of 99.5%, while mid-roll comes in at 97.1%. Manatt said attention-related best practices are especially important for mid-roll ads.

“Otherwise [consumers] are going to run to the restroom or do exactly what they do with TV ads and run an in-the-house errand or do something else during the ad pod,” she said.

Among YouTube, Hulu, Facebook and what Magna categorized as “other websites,” presence dropped the most on Facebook’s video ads by 7% after two seconds.

The study showed that nearly 100% of people are present for mobile display ads.

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