banner blindness

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banner blindness

Post  byroncheng on Sun May 24, 2009 11:23 pm

I came across this article a while ago, and now that we're talking about advertising, thought it might be relevant.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness.html

It uses eyeball tracking to show what people look at when they go on a website. It shows that the banner ads were completely ignored. I know for instance that I generally ignore ads - i have an adblocker installed as well, so even more ads are cut out. However, it is interesting that making ads look like content are an effective way to get impressions. Obviously, this leads to some ethical concerns. I know that when i see those i get irritated, as that sort of content isn't what i'm looking for. when advertisers run full page ads in the newspaper, and append *advertisement* to the bottom, i always feel like reading the page is a wste of time, as i know that the ad will have some sort of bias to whatever product/cause is being advertised

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Re: banner blindness

Post  patrickmccoy on Mon May 25, 2009 12:10 am

When I see full page ads in newspapers that are supposed to look like news articles, I generally ignore them even more because I feel that they are trying to dodge around the fact that they are ads to begin with. I feel more inclined to pay attention to normal ads because I feel that they are not trying to cheat you into reading them; either you are interested in the product or you aren't, no gimmicks or trickery. This should be taken into account when designing ads.

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Re: banner blindness

Post  Mark Straccia on Mon May 25, 2009 12:27 am

I agree with banner blindness. I am almost completely blind to banner ads. I didnt even know that Facebook had ads until we were talking about it once in one of my classes. I was convinced MSN and AIM did not have ads until I had to open them up and saw it myself. I didnt even know this site has ads until I was thinking about banner ads while writing this reply. We are so use to the websites, we have unconsciously trained ourselves to ignore all ads. And I think that is why ads are moving to pay-per-click because they know whether or not the person even looked at the ad and register it.

Another benefit of pay-per-click is that advertisers can also receive a lot of information on the effectiveness of the ad. They can see what percent of people who go to the site click on the ad for the different spaces on the site. They can then use this information to then decide how much they should bet on the different ad space based on how value that space is to them.

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Re: banner blindness

Post  Eric DeFeo on Sat May 30, 2009 5:48 pm

Banner blindness definitely happens, however, does it really matter to the advertisers? As Prof. Hartline said in class, the reason spam works is not that it is particularly effective per person, but that it reaches such a large volume with a finite chance of working. Moreover, the advertisers only pay per click, so they have no risk of loss if no one clicks on their advertisement. I guess my point is, does design really have a huge effect on the success of the add? I think it would be less than one would initially gander. What really matters is the quality of product and the site to which the advertisement leads.

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Re: banner blindness

Post  IanCharles on Sat May 30, 2009 6:30 pm

Banner Blindness is largely due to the ubiquity of ads on the internet. You'd be hard pressed to find a page anywhere without an ad on it. And quite frankly, some people end up clicking on a lot of these ads, no matter how inane or dumb they look, assuming that the user has already noticed them. If nobody clicked the ads with the ultimate intention of buying whatever is being sold, the ads would only lose money for the clicks, and generate more revenue. The stupidity of some people knows no bounds. Nobody has ever won a free XBox for being the 1,000,000th visitor to some website.

On a related note, in an effort to overcome the obviously widespread effects of banner blindness, some ads are now using rather annoying auditory cues to grab your attention. I'm sure you've seen some of these: you open a page, and a few seconds later, your speakers blare "Congratulations! You've just won a free Playstation 3 blah blah whatever." Personally, I'm usually more angry at the intrusiveness of the ad to even think about how hokey it is.

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Re: banner blindness

Post  Matt Dzugan on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:38 am

I think the idea of studying the eye movements of the reader is very interesting. In fact I'm sure this study has lead to the changes in advertising we've seen in our lives on the internet (for example we now see plenty of "unavoidable" ads such as those that play before video clips on various websites).

A study of this sort may be useful in other fields: Do drivers actually look at signs on Bilboards near the highway? Do people see signs on the sides of buses. I feel like a more universal study like this could (or perhaps already has, not by a study, but by trial and error) regulate the prices in the various forms of advertising by showing which get more "eyes" buses, billboards, benches, etc...
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Re: banner blindness

Post  PK on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:51 am

That is an interesting article but I don't think that it means that banner ads are completely useless. Even if you just see a flashing banner out of your peripheral vision, you still probably see the name of the company or get an idea for what is being advertised. The advertisers may not actually get people to visit the site that they are advertising, but they are still getting some sort of message (however subtle) across to the viewer. I'm sure this happens in varying degrees with different people. I think another study that could be interesting would be to see if the viewer could remember any of the companies or ads in the banner after they have tracked their eye movements and observed that the viewer did not directly look at the banner ads.

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Re: banner blindness

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