The Missing Metric

The critical metric for AI that’s unavailable for advertisers.

13 October 2020

According to The Social Dilemma, exposure time is a critical metric for social media AI algorithms(1). Helping them predict your actions. In short, how long you view each post is important.

But when you are an advertiser, exposure time is often an unavailable metric.

IMAGE: Clip from /the social dilemma documentary(1).

"Time in view is king.”

The Effects of Exposure Time on Memory of Display Advertisements

But does this affect ads?

A paper, aiming to model the basic relationship between ad exposure time and the probability that a viewer will remember an advertisement, found that "there is a strong, causal influence of exposure time on ad recognition and recall(2).

Furthermore, a scientific study of viewability and ad effectiveness found that "Time in view is king. When it comes to moving the dial on ad effectiveness, the number of pixels in view is not the driving factor - how long consumers have to see the ad is.”(3)

Viewability Issues

Already “Viewability” has had a tumultuous reputation with whether ads are visible in part or at all. This led regulation by the Media Rating Council (MRC) — a U.S. governing body whose purpose is setting valid, reliable and effective measurement standards for the industry. They currently define viewability as 50% of the ad in view for one second for display ads and 50% of the ad in view for two continuous seconds for video.(4)

…giving almost a hats off to the infamous quip "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”

By the American regulation, this counts:

IMAGE: American minimum standard for viewability.(4).

In Australia, the Australian Digital Advertising Practices have indicated how complex it is to record accurate metrics for viewability and "do not seek to include policy or propose benchmarks or regulations to viewable trading(5). This leaves many agencies and clients to navigate and negotiate their own, unregulated standards with advertisers.

Risk Diverse or Risk Averse?

By no means are we anti-digital. We are from a digital background and are digital advertisers ourselves. Many of our campaigns go hand-in-hand with online and TVC. But, with every media channel there are advantages, risk and gaps. A diversified strategy spreads your marketing risk and provides for a multi-channel experience.

Live Audience Tracking for Human Billboards

Recently, Streetfighter Media team members were equipped with DataScopeTM Live Audience Tracking technology to see how many people were exposed to their Human Billboards and for how long (results exclude constant outliers, e.g., our team or people working close by).

People were exposed for up to 2.5 minutes, with an average exposure time of 55 seconds(6).

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In Summary

There is a strong correlation between exposure time and ad effectiveness and ad recall. But this metric is often unavailable for digital and social display campaigns. With any media channel there are benefits, risk and gaps. Diversifying can reduce risk of advertising investment and overcome channel limitations.

Example Campaigns working WITH digital

Connecting with locals in interesting ways is our business. And often clients come to us to build familiarity multi-channel or because they need something different in a saturated market. Here are a handful of examples directing people to the official hashtag, website, socials, etc.

State Library of Victoria

Alerting delegates of the official conference hashtag.

Prompting locals to follow on socials.

Chalk Stencils Lettermen
Jimmy Brings
Rugby 7s

Assisting locals to download an app.

Encouraging sports fans to buy online.

Human Billboards Bike Billboards


  1. The Social Dilemma (2020). [Documentary] USA. Jeff Orlowski.
  2. Goldstein, D. Preston, R. Suri, S. (2011). The Effects of Exposure Time on Memory of Display Advertisements. In: Proceedings 12th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC-2011). San Jose, CA, USA. Goldstein, D.
  3. IPG Media Lab (2016). Putting Science Behind The Standard. A scientific study of viewability and ad effectiveness. [online] IPG Media Lab, page 1. Available at: [Accessed 13 October 2020].
  4. Media Rating Council (2014). MRC Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines. [online] Available at: (Accessed 13 October 2020).
  5. The Interactive Advertising Bureau Australia (2020). Australian Digital Advertising Practices Update 2020. [online] Available at: (Accessed 13 October 2020).
  6. Streetfighter Media (2020). DataScopeTM Audience Report. [online] Available at: (Accessed 13 October 2020).
  7. Gorrey, M. (2018). Two minutes too long before crossing? Push to shorten pedestrian wait. [online] Available at: (Accessed 13 October 2020).

Long Exposure Times

Coffee Cup Distribution

Engaging in the minutes rather than the milliseconds, Coffee Cup Distribution puts your message in the hand for an extended period.

Coffee Cup
Pedestrian Buzzer Wraps

Sydney CBD wait times are up to one and a half minutes for 1.15 million walking trips per day and longer outside of the CBD(7).

Pedestrian Buzzer Wraps
Mobile Murals

Watching a hand-painted, creative and mesmerising Mobile Mural develop encourages people to decelerate.

Mobile Murals
Beer Coaster Distribution

Connect with people for up to hours in a social environment.

Beer Coaster Distribution


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