Shortlisted 2023

Financial Services



Entered by:

Starcom Worldwide

Visa: The Right Way To Right Attention

The Challenge

The Hard Reality: To build trust, attention really matters

Visa is a global payments technology company connecting consumers, businesses, banks, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. With 2.5 billion cards in use, Visa connects people through payments all around the world.

Visa has a simple and unwavering vision that can be traced back to their beginnings; to be the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone, everywhere. Whether it’s a street vendor in Brazil selling food to make a living or a fisherman in Rwanda paying his daughter’s school fees, Visa wants to provide the most secure and seamless payment experience possible.

Visa’s payment network is largely invisible to consumers, so underlying trust in the brand is a critical pillar of business success. The role of marketing is to reinforce this trust in moments that matter, so that card users are more inclined to choose their Visa card wherever they shop.

One of the best ways to reinforce trust close to payments moments is using online advertising. Based on previous 1st party research, we established that attention (or time in-view) drives an uplift in brand health and business results for Visa. To make effective use of the channel, our online media needed to deliver more attention for the same budget or increase time in-view without inflating the underlying cost.

The Content Solution

THE HUMAN INTELLIGENCE: People are simply frustrated with annoying digital ads.

Gaining attention is critical. If people are not paying attention to our ads, we can’t make an impact on Visa’s brand health. To gain this all-important attention, the wider online advertising industry has often “gamed the system” by focusing on non-skippable or intrusive ad formats. On a report attention may look higher, but we know it’s not serving users well.

This approach has little consideration for the consumer experience of the advertising, which leads to poor ad experience. We didn’t want to be part of a system which creates increasingly annoying ways to create supposed ‘engagement’. The win for us is to capture enough attention for Visa from our advertising, without having to intrude on what people want to do online.

This frustration, compounded by privacy laws, meant that we must re-examine industry practices to put the user first and come up with a way to improve how Visa’s digital ads are seen. Evidence of their frustration can be seen in the high adoption of ad blockers (42.7% worldwide), low acceptance rate of data sharing on iOS 14.5 (21% opt-in), as well as a low acceptance rate on placement of cookies when visiting websites (61% EU average).

To maximise attention in an authentic way, while also delivering a positive ad experience, we set out to come up with a revolutionary way to drive this all-important metric for Visa.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

THE BRAVE PLAY: The right way to the right attention.

Most attention research gives us a historical view of the attentiveness of online advertising. This wasn’t enough – we needed a way to prioritise the contexts and formats that maximise attention in real time. To do this, we developed an industry-first AI platform called Attention Maximiser, bespoke for Visa, to help solve this industry-wide problem.

Attention Maximiser is a solution built to solve this problem in an automated manner – through bespoke signals and impression scoring that inform a powerful, custom algorithm trained on the actual data of the advertiser. Bids are automatically optimised based on the average time on screen and longer potential time on screen.

Using customisable algorithms within ‘Attention Maximiser’ we predicted and paid for the value of the impression and not just a binary variable of viewability.  Optimising to attention has a 6x higher likelihood of brand choice rather than optimising to viewability, whilst at the same time keeping standard brand safety settings in place.

This approach results in delivery of higher quality impressions, user engagement, custom value and viewable time.  All which ensure more efficient CPMs and only paying the true value for publisher impressions

By using Attention Maximiser, our impressions were delivered on standard IAB formats without the need to force users through non-skippable or unavoidable ads. We successfully established the right way to garner the right attention, making positive steps in improving the ad experience for consumers.

The Result

THE TRANSFORMATIONAL RESULTS:  Winning attention in the right way really does work.

 The Attention Maximiser has been a clear success for us. It has improved attention and responsiveness to Visa’s advertising, without significantly increasing cost. And, most importantly, campaigns powered by the Attention Maximiser drive better brand outcomes for Visa too.

Furthermore, this approach also delivered higher viewability rates whilst achieving a highly efficient viewable cost-per-thousand.

Campaigns that use Attention Maximiser are driving improved brand health outcomes. Kantar studies have seen online ad awareness, brand favourability and intent to consider Visa for the next purchase all exceed both European norms and previous Visa campaign delivery. Brand consideration, a critical leading indicator of brand health, significantly increased for users that are served advertising through the Attention Maximiser.

The Attention Maximiser has set a new standard that’s a win-win for us, for Visa and end users. This gives as confidence that doing right by viewers is also the right way to drive attention – and ultimately brand performance.