Banner Blindness Becoming Worse: Users Getting More Savvy Identifying Ads In Content

Apr 4, 2007 • 1:08 pm | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Contextual Ads

A recent study being discussed on Highranking Forums discusses the effect ads and calls to action become more flashy users are becoming better able to identify those ads and ignore them. Basically, things that look like ads aren't clicked nearly as often as things that look like part of the page. Users are responding appropriately that they don't like ads that smack them in the face. This is something we have understood for sometime but not to the extent at which it happens. Experts weigh in on the results of the study and there experience with placing contextual ads on websites.

Scottie discusses that the "second part of the study that showed higher clickthrough rates on a text link vs an image button were really interesting"

Despite the results of the study, Ian McAnerin chimes in and says:

Basically, my understanding is that the more you disguise the ad so that it looks like the content that the readers trust, the more likely they are to click on it.

I see that as a violation of trust, not smart marketing, sorry. Ad Cloaking, if you will.

He makes some good points, but what is a marketer to do?

Jbrookin makes some great observations

At no point was any ad created to be deceptive. We just simply removed the flashiness, or rather designed the ad with the advertising site in mind. What we determined is that users seem to automatically ignore anything that appears out of place, so by removing that barrier, we got a greater amount of consideration.

Continued discussion at HighRankings Forum - Users Don't Like Ads In Their Face

Previous story: Sneaking Around Buying Links


Andrew Rickmann

04/04/2007 07:04 pm

This is something I have been thinking about a lot recently The problem is that we tune out the ads we consider to be intrusive, i.e. those that don't apply to us. It would be great if browsers could provide preferences on demand so that adverts could be targeted directly at the individual. More revenue for the advertisers, more relevant and less intrusive content for the customer.

Brian Auer

04/04/2007 08:20 pm

I agree with taking out the flashiness, but not hiding the fact that it's an ad. For my site, I use Google Ads, and I simply matched the colors to blend in better with the other content on the site. The ads in the sidebar, for example, look similar to other sidebar items -- but I've also labeled the ad block as an "Advertiser" or "Sponsored Links". This way there's no confusion for the readers.

blog comments powered by Disqus