Ad network VideoEgg has adopted a new system based on how often and for how long consumers interact with display advertisements. AttentionRank charges advertisers only if a user rolls over a rich media unit and watches it briefly. Typical cost-per-engangement (CPE) is 50 cents. The three factors that make up this approach are engagement, time spent and click-through rates. Instead of only focusing on viewer click-throughs, ad networks have been trying out other forms of metrics. More persistent ad windows that travel with user scrolling, larger format sizes, and other methods are "popping up" in an effort to revitalize the faltering advertising climate.

While the more predictable factors of impressions and click-throughs influence VideoEgg's AdFrames platform, it does shift the focus onto individual viewer engagement instead. The idea that gauging how well an ad captures users' attention, rather than counting impressions, could present a better strategy. Hopefully this will better measure individual ad effectiveness: three campaigns in, AttentionRank has increased time spent with ads by an average of fifteen percent.

VideoEgg plans to incorporate the technology across campaigns on its network of over 400 sites and applications instead of offering AttentionRank as an add-on feature.

Two interactive ad experts told MediaPost Thursday that AttentionRank potentially represents improvements in ad network optimization techniques. Adam Kasper, senior vice president and director of digital media at Havas' Media Contacts unit, believes that this data has not been utilized as it should be in the industry.

Nate Elliott, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, believes that this initiative suits the times. By increasing efficiency of display advertising, both advertisers and publishers "get more bang for their buck."

It is that bang that marketers are looking for, as display ad budgets shrink. The most recent Interactive Advertising Bureau/Pricewaterhouse Coopers ad report showed display ad spending fell more than four percent in the last quarter compared to a year ago.