The Consumption of Advertising in the Digital Age: Attention & Ad Content

48 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2020 Last revised: 29 Jul 2022

See all articles by Anthony J. Dukes

Anthony J. Dukes

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Qihong Liu

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 28, 2022

Abstract

This paper studies the consumption of advertising when attention is costly. Our objective is to understand the advertiser’s optimal decision for informational and non-informational content when facing consumers with heavy distractions common in the digital age. We take an equilibrium approach in which an ad is consumed if and only if the content of the ad is worth the viewer’s attention. We classify many advertising decisions observed in practice. First, an advertiser can structure content to induce curiosity for continued viewing by showing the information that is relatively less likely to resonate with the broad audience. This tactic is evident in clickbait ads and “mystery ads”. Second, we find that digital ads, which tend to be skippable, have lower amounts of non-informational content (e.g., entertainment) relative to non-skippable ads. This finding can explain the industry perception that ads on digital media are of lower copy quality than traditional ads.

Keywords: Advertising Content, Attention, Skippable Ads

JEL Classification: M30, M37

Suggested Citation

Dukes, Anthony J. and Liu, Qihong, The Consumption of Advertising in the Digital Age: Attention & Ad Content (July 28, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3679335 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3679335

Anthony J. Dukes (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States
213-740-3846 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.usc.edu/anthonydukes/

Qihong Liu

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics ( email )

Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States
405-325-5846 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://qliu.oucreate.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
395
Abstract Views
1,213
rank
107,583
PlumX Metrics