On Banner Blindness

The Wall Street Journal looks at the difficulty online marketers face when trying to put their messages in front of web surfers, who are conditioned to cruise right by any such claptrap.

Soon after traditional banner ads started cropping up on the Web a decade ago, the term “banner blindness” followed.
The phenomenon, discovered by scientists who track mouse clicks and eye movements to measure which areas of Web sites people pay attention to, describes how people ignore these ads even when they include relevant information. Most people look at Web sites in an F-shaped pattern, merely scanning the top before homing in on the middle of the page where the meat of the content most often appears.
“The big finding is that banner blindness is real. It is not just advertising banners but anything that looks like an advertising banner,” says Jakob Nielsen, a principal at Internet user research firm Nielsen Norman Group in Fremont, Calif.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.