If you are following industry news, you may have heard of the new thing in online advertising – attention metrics. We get a lot of questions by people who are aware of the concept, but are unsure about how to apply the concept to actual, real-world metrics. To clear that up, we want to present a number of attention metrics as an example.


The industry has been well aware for a while now that classic, impression-based performance indicators such as Click Through Rate (CTR), Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) or Cost per Engagement (CPE) just don’t cut it anymore.

With the introduction of viewability based analytics, a new world of possibilities has opened:
Now you can evaluate ad inventory with an attention-based approach (inventory that users actually see / view) in contrast to the old, impression based approach (ads that are served, but not necessarily seen by the user). That’s why advertisers who are always looking for a competitive edge through innovative analytics approaches and better accuracy are so excited about attention metrics.

Examples for attention metrics in display advertising

Here are a couple of basic metrics that fall under the attention metrics umbrella. All these metrics are comparable across executions, positions or creatives, because they consider viewability – effectively cutting through the fuzzyness that makes classic, impression based performance metrics so inaccurate.

Viewability rate (VR) shows the percentage of all impressions that were considered viewable. VR allows fast comparison of viewable impressions.

Median View Time (MVT) shows the minimum and maximum time that an ad has been in view for 50% of all impressions. The MVT metric helps to understand how long ads are in-view. We usually recommend to also look at the 5, 25, 75 and 95 percentiles to gain a deeper understanding of in-view time.

Cost per view minute (CPVM) sets an ad’s cost in relation to the in-view time.

Cost per thousand viewable Impressions (vCPM) sets the cost in relation to viewable impressions: It allows the comparison of the ad's spend per viewable impression. 

Viewable Click through Rate (vCTR) is the click through rate based on viewable impressions. vCTR is very useful when optimizing for clicks across different ad positions.

Viewable Engagement Rate (vENG/Dwell) is the engagement rate based on viewable impressions.

Custom metrics vs. standard metrics

As one might imagine, advertisers can have very different definitions of ad performance, depending on their respective business needs.

While global standards, like the MRC’s “50/1” definition for Viewable impressions (>50% in view for >1,0s) are necessary for cross-industry comparison, that definition of viewablilty might not be what an advertiser regards as useful in his specific online advertising strategy. The same applies to other metrics like conversions, engagements and attributions.

So in order to optimize ad inventory evaluation and spend with attention metrics, it might make sense to customize metric definitions and methods of measuring to the organizations specific needs.

Attention based approaches are useful over the whole lifecycle of an online campaign of course, not only for post-facto analysis. For instance advertisers can apply the data to their multi touch attribution models, to only consider those ads for attribution that have been viewed for a certain amount of time or engaged with a certain number of times. The same goes for optimization models and programmatic buying algorithms.

Attention based metrics for display advertising with admetrics

Admetrics provides advertisers with a range of solutions to leverage attention based performance metrics: We develop customized metrics, gather the data and offer a browser application for data analysis.

Screenshot of one of the admetrics attention dashboardsComparison of attention based metrics in one of admetrics' performance reports


Any questions? We’d be happy to talk about attention metrics and your specific needs: [email protected]