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EMAC 2023 Annual

May I Have Your Attention Please? A Mobile Eye-Tracking Study on the Effectiveness of Advertising Attention Tactics in Real-Life Media Encounters

Published: May 24, 2023


Julian Kopka, University of Wuppertal; Lennart Borgmann, University of Wuppertal; Tobias Langner, University of Wuppertal


Drawing consumers’ attention to advertising is the greatest challenge for advertisers. Research on ad reception based on real-life observation and eye-tracking is critical to understand attention allocation, but rare. We focus on attention tactics, drawn from leading advertising textbooks, a systematic journal review, and qualitative interviews with consumers. We differentiate two types of tactics, those to gain attention and those to hold it. We test their effects using mobile eye-tracking in 60 consumer homes. The tactics’ success for gaining and holding attention varies: Size draws initial attention, as do the color red and faces and eyes, but other striking color schemes and pictorial elements hinder it. Color, sound, and video show no effect. For holding attention, influencers, testimonials, and emotional scenes exert positive effects, but celebrities, children, babies, humor, and video have no impact. Erotic stimuli and faces and eyes show negative effects for holding attention.