There’s a great post over at MarketingProfs that dissects an eye-tracking study to show where on a web page ads are most likely to be seen:
Advertisers looking to boost the effectiveness of their digital display ads should be focusing on in-content units, nontraditional placements, contextually relevant creative, and above-the-fold locations, according to recent data from Infolinks. — Eye-Tracking Study: How to Beat Display Ad Blindness by Ayaz Nanji
Having your ad get seen is just half the battle — the next problem is to get someone to actually take action (click, mouseover, etc.). While there certainly is some value in getting an ad seen (if they look at it long enough to read and understand), most advertisers want people to take action and click the ads. MarketingProfs analysis of the study didn’t include any click data. The assumption is that people will be more likely to click in places they are more likely to look. Is this true?
Will these types of results lead to even more advertising that is difficult to distinguish from content? How will that impact how people interact with advertising?
Another question I have is whether there is any impact with having so many ads on the page. If you only have one ad on the left (a typical ad place), but it doesn’t look like a typical ad, will people be more likely to look? It seems like a page that’s full of advertising is going to saturate what a visitor will look at.
One of the key findings from the study is that people completely block out areas of the page that they believe have ads (especially if there are ad-looking things there). This should be an important consideration for the design of sites without ads — make sure people don’t think you have ads in ad-places if you want them to look there.