• The Psychology of Banner Ads: Overcoming Banner Blindness

    by  • May 9, 2014 • Branding, Mobile Marketing • 0 Comments


    banner-advertisingWe can barely read an online article from beginning to end before clicking out. How much attention could be left for acknowledging banner ads surrounding the page? Very little. Insomuch that in the 90s, Internet researchers Benway and Lane coined the term “banner blindness” to describe people who consciously or unconsciously ignored banner information.

    Consumers have trained their brains and eyes to ignore Internet advertising, says Dave Zinman on Business 2 Community. In a 2012 Infolinks study on banner blindness, 60 percent of participants couldn’t recall the last displayed ad they saw. Of the 15 percent surveyed who remembered the ad’s company, brand or product, 80 percent thought the ad was irrelevant.

    You have to know your audience and why they’re visiting a given site to reduce this so-called “banner blindness.” This refers back to AB Testing, analyze what’s working by tracking control and experiment ad copies.

    We live in an ad-dominated world, so it makes sense that as readers we’ve learned to tune out banner ads. Advertisers and marketers combine mental and practical factors to elicit a positive response. This means marketers need to focus on relevancy and ad tracking. Zinman and B2C even go as far as to ask, “is banner blindness a consumer habit?”

    Eighty-six percent of consumers automatically disregard page ads, according to a B2C study, even if the message has been etched into their minds.

    Positive Receptiveness

    Conversely, repeated exposure to a product or brand in an ad banner can also have a positive effect for advertisers. An ad banner is designed to be a catalyst that positively influences brand awareness or urges a customer to visit the advertiser’s website. Repeated exposure can turn ad banners from an overlooked neutral object into a stimuli— just by appearing over and over again in the consumer psyche, explains technology site Ars Technica.

    The power of familiarity and recognition can align banner ads with positive properties. This theory of “repeated exposure driving positive feelings” suggests that the more a consumer is exposed to a brand, the more feelings assigned to that brand increase positively.

    Simply put, we tend to enjoy things that we are familiar with, that we encounter often in our day-to-day lives.

    Online Video Advertising & Tips

    To increase the effectiveness of online advertising and mitigate banner blindness, digital advertising solution provider MediaMind recommends online video advertising.

    MediaMind estimates that video ads are 27 times more effective than traditional banner ads and click-through rates are 27.4 times higher. Findings were based on 3 billion ad impressions observed over a six-month period, according to MarketingMag.com. Most of us can agree that a video is more engaging than most banner ads.

    Along with video ad content, boost consumer engagement and receptiveness with the following tips for crafting ad banners:

    • Account for consumer psychology. Craft ads with persuasive language, stock video that applies to your specific industry, color theory and interactivity. A clean, inviting and aesthetically pleasing banner will stand out to consumers. Don’t be annoying, be intriguing.
    • The adage, “You get what you pay for” often applies to advertising. Uncluttered ad space is good for you and users. The ad shouldn’t be an interruption, it should catch the eye of the consumer and invite them to click on this banner that offers something relevant to them.
    • Ensure the banner ad copy offers benefits and social proof. Write in first person and use emotion to capture consumer interest. And don’t forget to include a call to action or an incentive for customers to click. A coupon, special offer or interesting information will draw customers to click on the banner because they feel like they are getting something out of it. Appeal to a consumer’s curiosity and be entertaining.
    • Eliminate banner fatigue by aligning advertising messages with the user’s journey (e.g., the first exposure “hook” message will differ from the post-site visit that invites a buyer to sign up or learn more).

    What is your take on things? Do you have banner blindness, or do you regularly click them? Feel free to leave comments here, or chat with us through social @antvibes.
    Photo Credit: http://www.homebusinessmag.com/


    Jon has spent 8 years as a retail manager and has worked with a number of start-up companies. He is currently completing his BBA at the University of Washington, with plans to finish this June. Jon is the Western Manager at Antvibes, and is the main contributor to the Antvibes Business Blog. Feel free to contact Jon through social channels or through email at jonv [at] antvibes [dot com]. @jonvisaisouk

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