Eyetracking study results · 2014-04-29 13:20 by Ben Williams

We just completed a joint study with media technology firm Sticky to measure how effective different types of ads are on different types of sites, in terms of things like brand perception and brand recall. Complete findings are in this Ad Effectiveness study. Have a look at a few examples of heatmap images below (click to expand); you can see all the heatmap images as well.

The results were basically twofold: first, ads on clean sites are far more likely to be effective; second, static ads are much easier to understand and far more positively received than flashy animated ones.

Participants spent 30 percent more time looking at ads on the “clean” test sites, and were able to recall ads on these straightforward sites 64 percent of the time, a 36 percent improvement compared to “cluttered” sites.

Even more damning was the second finding, that brand opinion suffers if ads are presented in a flashy, intrusive format: respondents said that they were twice as likely to click on a static ad compared to a flashy one, and they were 76 percent more likely to perceive a flashy ad negatively than a static one.

For the test we placed two types of online ads on two types of sites. The ads were either clean and static or flashy and animated. And the sites they were placed upon were either fairly simple sites or sites cluttered with material and ads. The sites we used were real, and the ads were too. The study measured where participants’ eyes went and how long they focused there. Then it asked them a series of questions about the ads themselves.

Since around 2012 we’ve championed the merits of straightforward advertising on comprehensible websites. These results lend weight to much of what we’ve been hearing from users over that timeframe: that if advertising weren’t so gaudy it might stand a chance of being acceptable.

Comment [2]

  1. Yve · 2014-04-30 02:10 · #

    If it flashes I have nothing to do with it. If it simply says what it’s about I might take a look

  2. Arshad · 2014-05-02 12:56 · #

    I completely agree with the article. The flashy ads looks very suspicious and i just don’t look at them. Where as a static ad gets more attention. As all this is online. In regular life when your walking on the road a flashy board may get your attention but the same thing does not work online.

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