Attention more valuable than time for advertisers

along with attention spans and advertising budgets. USAToday reports that the 15-second television ad is increasingly common, gradually supplanting the 30-second spot just as it knocked off the full-minute pitch decades ago. “It used to be that the most valuable thing on the planet was time, and now the most valuable thing on the planet is attention,” says John Greening, associate professor at Northwestern University’s journalism school and a former executive vice president at ad agency DDB Chicago. The number of 15-second television commercials has jumped more than 70% in five years to nearly 5.5 million last year, according to Nielsen. They made up 34% of all national ads on the air last year, up from 29% in 2005. Commercial-skipping digital video recorders and distractions such as laptops and phones have shortened viewers’ attention spans, says Deborah Mitchell, executive director of the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin. In days past, telegrams required brevity of speech, since you paid by the word. Now, shortened attention spans compel brevity in the Court.

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