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.