Smartphone eye tracking study: high-impact ad formats drive exponentially higher attention


Inskin Media has partnered with Lumen Research in the first study of its kind, providing unique insight into mobile ad viewing behaviour through eye-tracking using just the smartphone camera.


The research found that high-impact ad formats tailored for smartphones drive substantially higher attention (visual engagement) compared to standard mobile ad formats.

With over two-thirds of all time spent online by UK consumers now via smartphone, it’s increasingly important for advertisers to understand how attention works on mobile, as well as desktop.

The research also revealed that high-impact formats not only attract more attention but can amplify attention toward standard smartphone formats as well.

This is the first study to use cutting-edge technology from Lumen Research, which enables eye-tracking using just the smartphone camera.

Providing unique insight into mobile viewing behaviour, the study found that high-impact mobile formats garner more than 7 times the attention given to standard smartphone formats, resulting in 63 minutes of visual engagement per thousand impressions. This means that for a brand, the standard investment of just one CPM (cost per thousand impressions), could deliver more than an hour of visual engagement with its ad.


The data also showed that high-impact mobile formats have the ability to boost attention levels for standard smartphone ads, with the latter gaining six additional minutes of visual engagement time per thousand impressions following exposure to high-impact formats. Prior research has shown that brand recall ramps up after one second of visual engagement time with a display ad.

The boost in attention on smartphones is also consistent with previous desktop-based research from Inskin, which found that visual engagement with standard desktop formats rose significantly (39%) following exposure to a high-impact format – a process called ‘’amplification’’.

“This study is the most recent in Inskin’s long running investment in understanding attention,” said Adi Kishore, project lead and Insight Manager at Inskin Media. “We know from previous studies that attention is a strong indicator of brand uplift, and even conversion. This study helps us understand how mobile-optimised ad formats can dramatically boost attention on smartphones. It offers insight to planners increasingly focused on mobile and multiscreen campaigns, to leverage these effects without necessarily spending more.”

“With the majority of online time now spent on smartphones in the UK, it’s important for brands to clearly understand how mobile user behaviours differ from desktop,” said Mike Follett, CEO, Lumen Research. “Our research shows that designing mobile formats with the right user experience in mind is critical because intrusive advertising can reflect poorly on the brand, while formats not optimised for mobile may simply be ignored.”

Other Key Findings:

· Viewability levels for Inskin’s mobile formats are twice that of standard formats, and Inskin’s high-impact ads are also 50% more likely to be seen. Visual engagement time, a critical metric for brand uplift, is also substantially higher (3.3 times).

· Comparisons with the desktop results are also interesting, with smartphones outperforming desktop on some metrics, and desktop pulling ahead on others.


In June and July 2019, Lumen Research conducted 456 eye-tracking experiments among UK Adults, using their unique technology that captures users’ visual interactions with advertising via their smartphone camera. The quantitative study involved three brands/creative units and two types of digital display formats: Inskin’s Mobile Pageskin and MPUs/Mobile Banners (300 x 250). These were served to respondents in different combinations over a single session. Beyond eye-tracking data, the controlled exposure methodology also allowed for the collection of brand metric data.

<< Back to today’s Digital Intelligence news

Copyright ©2000-2019 Digital Strategy Consulting Limited | All rights reserved | This material is for your personal use only | Using this site constitutes acceptance of our user agreement and privacy policy