Change Things Up to Avoid ‘Banner Blindness’

MarketingSherpa put out a really interesting piece this week about ‘Banner Blindness,’ or the tendency for repeat readers to ignore advertisements and selected sections of your email messages (or those you sponsor) over time. When your template remains static, readers learn where ads are located and tend to skip over that section of the messaging. The full article contains some striking images from an eyetracking study, illustrating viewing patterns over time.

For the quick takeaways, MarketingSherpa gives us the following tips:

Change the landscape
The most powerful way to combat banner blindness is probably to vary the page template itself. By moving landmarks, you encourage the eye to conduct a more complete scan of the page. This is easiest in the email world, where creating and scheduling similar, but not identical, templates won’t send the Web team into paroxysms.

Change the look and feel of ads
If you can’t change the position of ads, think about changing ad sizes or the way they look. In our study, for instance, we swapped in a text list where a graphical ad had been positioned and saw a jump in attention. The eye tracks changes to a familiar landscape.

Increase ad rotation
The easiest way to combat blindness is to change ads frequently. For publishers, that’s easy. That’s not the case with sponsored placements or in-house advertising; these can sit static for long periods.

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